I walk 2.5 miles 5 days a week as well as spend time in the gym with weight training so I can speak on the subject with experience.
10 Benefits of Walking as an Exercise Plan
1. Great way to give a boost to your immune system
Given our current situation with the, you know what virus lurking outside our door boosting your immune system is a good idea.
There was a study conducted during the flu season that involved one thousand adults, the individuals that walked at a steady pace for approximately 45 minutes had far fewer sick days and less respiratory infections.
If these individuals did catch a cold or flu their symptoms were mild compared to the group that did nothing.
2. Great way to improve your outlook on life
There have been numerous studies that suggest walking can improve your mental health by reducing depression, a negative mood, and lower your anxiety level.
When you work in a routine of walking several times a week it will give you a sense of accomplishment thereby boosting your self-esteem.
It doesn’t require you to do a marathon seven days a week, simply start out with a thirty-minute brisk walk three times a week.
3. Walking may help you live longer
If you can get a brisk walk several times a week studies have shown that compared to someone that is sitting on the couch in front of the television you may extend your life.
Of course, there are no guarantees because each individual is different and you have to take into account medical conditions.
4. Tone up your legs
It goes without saying that if you walk you are going to be using the muscles in your legs if you want to supercharge your experience find a hill or an incline to increase your leg tone.
You can also help offset boredom by using other forms of exercise to help strengthen your leg muscles like cycling, other cross-training exercises, or doing lunges.
5. Walking can be a form of meditation
Studies have shown that individuals walk outdoors have a much clearer head and engage in creative thinking as opposed to those who remain indoors and not doing any type of activity.
Conduct your own experiment the next time you are stuck on a problem go for a brisk walk and see if the creative juices start flowing.
6. Walking may help with your blood circulation
It goes without saying that when you are walking you are raising your heart rate this is beneficial in several areas, it can lower your blood pressure, strengthen your heart, and may lower your risk of heart disease.
There have been countless studies that confirm walking is heart-healthy.
7. Walking may help you sleep better
Again, with the studies but they have shown individuals who are on some type of walking routine suffer less from insomnia.
Of course, with better sleep, you will more than likely end up with a better day.
8. The real big benefit of walking is you will burn calories
You don’t have to be a calorie counter to notice after walking for some time that the weight may be coming off in some areas.
Those areas differ from one individual to another.
9. A walking routine may help you develop other good habits
Everyone has heard of the term “couch potato” if you find yourself in that category and need to break out of a bad habit starting a simple walking routine may help you break the cycle.
It can start out as simple as walking around the block to start and then advance from there, once you feel that sense of accomplishment you can work on other bad habits.
10. Numerous other health benefits of walking
There have been studies that show people that have a walking routine slow down their memory decline as they age.
Another benefit is those who were walking more than a quarter of a mile daily had half the incidence of Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Power walking for weight loss
If you are already walking and want to take it up a notch you may want to consider power walking, simply put power walking is an aggressive pace coupled with swinging your arms.
You may have seen other people doing it on bike paths or in your neighborhood and wondered what the heck is that all about?
They are accelerating their calorie burning.
Benefits of walking versus running
So, what is the difference between walking and running/jogging?
If your goal is to burn maximum calories each time you go out then by all means a running routine is going to perform much better for you.
However, no everyone can run because of a variety of reasons, bad knees, an injury, or old age, if that is the case then walking makes more sense.
Also if you are starting out with a new fitness routine that may culminate into running you are much better off if you start by walking first and then work up to a slow run and then a faster pace if you desire.
How many calories do you burn walking?
That is probably the first question on everyone’s mind when they first start out what is the reward for all my effort?
Okay here is some science if you weigh 150 pounds and walk at a normal pace for 60 minutes you would burn approximately 250 calories.
On the other hand, an individual who weighs 200 pounds that walked the same amount you did would burn approximately 333 calories.
On average walking will burn approximately 80 to 140 calories per mile.
The factors that determine how many calories you may burn are the terrain you are walking on, the speed you are walking, and the distance you walk.
Want to burn more calories?
Increase all of those things over time.
Walking with plantar fasciitis
I bring this up because my wife has plantar fasciitis and has a walking routine, she does so without pain because her secret is the type of shoe she walks in and she uses an excellent insert to help cushion the walk.
Below I am going to detail the shoes both of us use at the moment, we have tried several different brands and find we keep coming back to the ones listed below.
It does not mean they will work for everyone because no two people are alike when it comes to walking but you can start with these if you are looking for a walking shoe.
One key to a good walking experience is having comfortable shoes, if you are in pain you are not going to be motivated to continue a walking program.
Some key points to consider when walking
Some of these may be Captain Obvious to most but if you are just starting out consider these points:
Stay hydrated – If you are going to walk for a while (more than 10 minutes) it may be wise to carry some water with you especially if it a hot summer month.
Cool down and stretch – It is a good idea to stretch a bit before you take off on your walking routine especially if it is going to be an aggressive brisk walk with incline.
It is also a good idea to cool down towards the end of your walk.
There is no right or wrong way to walk – There is no reason to overthink a walking routine just go out and start with a walk around the block and grow from there.
Steven Barnhart is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Steven
FlourishAnyway from USA on October 28, 2020:
This is excellent information. Most people can do this at their own pace and participate in an exercise program. My doctor told me yo just start with 15 minutes a day. Of course, I have not done it yet but your article inspires me to do so.
Steven (author) from Las Vegas on October 24, 2020:
Patty funny you should mention around the living room. I never sit anymore with lengthy phone calls it walk around the kitchen island time :)
Patty Poet from Suffolk, VA on October 24, 2020:
Great article! And so true. Walking is the best way to improve quality of life. Even if it means making laps around your living room, the key is to get up and walk!
Steven (author) from Las Vegas on October 23, 2020:
Absolutely true if you are not comfortable there is no motivation to go for a walk or any other form of exercise.
Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 23, 2020:
This is so true. Its a great way to decompress to. I walk 20 minutes twice a day to and from my workplace when it's dry and you really do need the correct shoes.