Can you think of an exercise that doesn’t require any kind of court reservations, health club memberships, expensive clothing or endless lessons? Need a hint? It’s something you’ve done daily since you were a small child. If walking was your answer, give yourself a pat on the back.
It’s true. Even though you’ve probably heard that walking is a good exercise, you may not really know how or why it is. As an aerobic exercise, walking ranks right up there with running, swimming, and cycling. In addition to the aerobic benefits, a brisk walk can burn from 320 to 450 calories an hour. Some experts say that jogging a mile in 8-1/2 minutes burns only 26 calories more than walking a mile in 12 minutes.
Aerobic walking can offer one of the best workouts for the heart and lungs. Prolonged workouts of 50 minutes or more increase the heart beat and cause the lungs to consume more oxygen. That winning aerobic combination can help build physical fitness.
Go Take a Walk
Aerobic walking is not the same as strolling through the mall and window-shopping. While that kind of turtle pace may be fun, it really isn’t exercise because your heart and lungs aren’t working overtime. To make it an aerobic exercise, you have to pick up the pace and keep moving. And to maintain a level of fitness, you have to walk at least three to four times a week.
Walking for exercise wasn’t always as popular as it is now. But once the word got out that aerobic walking had a low injury rate, fitness buffs took a second look. And in fact, it even attracted enthusiasts away from such popular exercise pastimes as jogging and aerobic dance. Although injuries can occur, there is less wear and tear on the joints and less rapid contractions of the muscles when compared to running. That’s probably why all kinds of people are joining in this natural workout.
Walking is also a mental-stress reliever. It works on your mind as well as your body. It gives your mind a chance to wade through all the daily clutter it accumulates and think more clearly. A brisk 30-minute walk can ease tension, build confidence, and renew energy.