If you needed more reasons to walk for exercise

Running is often touted as the optimal workout for cardiovascular training, body toning and endurance.  Walking is frequently dismissed as being just the warm-up or cool-down, or the lazy/old/out-of-shape person’s workout.

Don’t be so quick to snub walking. Walking is rapidly catching on as the preferred cardiovascular training method of many health-and fitness-minded folks—not only because it tones the entire body and increases cardiac endurance and bone strength, but because it does so with less impact on the joints.

If you haven’t taken up walking because you think running burns more calories, think again. Briskly walking a mile actually burns more calories than running a mile…it just takes a little longer to walk. This might seem backwards, but when you walk quickly enough, your body reaches a point at which it would be easier to run. By walking, you are forced to tighten your abs and gluts, and really use both your legs and arms to control and maintain your movement.

Don’t mistake this for a leisurely stroll; we’re talking about walking at a brisk pace. What exactly is “brisk” walking? Aim for 12-minute miles (or approximately 5 mph) for at least 30 minutes. And don’t expect it to be easy; walking at this pace should leave you sweating!

The benefits of walking over running don’t stop there. In a large study of consistent runners and walkers, the walkers were less likely to sustain injuries. Walking carries far fewer painful health risks, such as shin splints, back pain, and knee injuries. Remember, though, that it’s still very important to warm up before, and thoroughly stretch after, walking.

Aside from the improved muscle tone, increased energy, reduced stress, and improved heart health that walking delivers, it has one other very enticing benefit—it’s easy to fit into your schedule. Briskly walking for 10 minutes, three or four times each day can be fit into even the busiest of schedules. Plus, it doesn’t even require a change of clothes; simply throw on a good pair of shoes and go.

See for yourself that you can reap the physical and emotional benefits of running without the stiff, achy joints and tight tendons.

Posted on November 9, 2015

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