April 21, 2024
Is walking considered exercise? This article explores the science and benefits of walking, as well as creative ideas and tips for incorporating this low-impact activity into your fitness routine. Additionally, this article covers why walking is the perfect exercise option for seniors and how walking can offer unique therapeutic benefits as mindful movement.

Introduction

Walking is often overlooked as a form of exercise. Unlike more intense exercises, such as running and weightlifting, walking doesn’t necessarily make you break a sweat or leave you with that achy feeling the following day. Therefore, some people may wonder if walking should be categorized as a legitimate form of exercise. In this article, we will explore the science and benefits of walking as exercise. We’ll go over why walking is a fantastic form of movement for individuals of all ages and fitness levels, and we’ll provide tips and information for readers who are interested in making walking a part of their fitness routine.

The Debate on Walking as Exercise: Does It Really Benefit Your Body?

The short answer? Yes. Walking counts as exercise, and it offers plenty of physical and mental health benefits. Walking is a fantastic low-impact activity that’s easy on your joints, inexpensive, and relatively safe. Here are some of the benefits of walking:

  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Helps with weight loss and weight management
  • Increases energy, stamina, and endurance
  • Reduces the risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease
  • Boosts immune function and lowers inflammation

While walking may not burn as many calories as running, it’s still an excellent form of exercise that offers plenty of benefits. According to the American Heart Association, walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, walking is an excellent way to strengthen your muscles without putting too much strain on your joints, unlike some other workouts that may be more jarring or intense, like running or plyometrics.

It’s also worth noting that walking offers plenty of mental health benefits. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, regular exercise, including walking, can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, potentially boosting your mood and improving your overall sense of wellbeing.

Transforming Your Daily Walk into a Workout That Works

While walking is a good form of exercise on its own, some people may want to take their walking routine to the next level. Here are some tips:

  • Incorporate interval training. By alternating between periods of faster walking and slower walking, you can burn more calories and challenge your cardiovascular system.
  • Change your terrain. Walking uphill, on an incline, or across different surfaces, like sand or grass, can help you challenge your body in new ways.
  • Use walking poles or weights. Adding weights or walking poles can help increase the intensity of your workout and strengthen your muscles even more.
  • Create a walking-based workout routine. If you prefer following a structured workout routine, you can create one based on walking. This may involve creating a schedule, setting goals, and tracking your progress over time.

With any workout routine, it’s essential to listen to your body and make adjustments as necessary. Also, remember that everyone is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to exercise.

Why Walking is the Perfect Exercise Option for Seniors

For seniors, walking is an excellent form of exercise. Here’s why:

  • Low-impact. Walking is gentle on your joints and doesn’t put too much strain on your body.
  • Improves balance and flexibility. Walking can help improve your balance, which is essential for preventing falls and injuries. It may also help you become more flexible over time.
  • Reduces the risk of chronic diseases. Walking can help lower blood pressure, improve blood sugar control, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Boosts mental health. Walking can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and foster social connections, which is especially important for seniors who may feel isolated or lonely.

Furthermore, research studies support the use of walking as a form of exercise ideal for those with mobility limitations. For example, one study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine found that walking could improve physical function and reduce the risk of disability for older adults suffering from chronic diseases.

Some practical advice for seniors looking to get moving with walking includes using walking aids if necessary, incorporating strength training to build muscle, and starting slowly and gradually increasing the intensity of their walking routine over time.

The Surprising Benefits of Walking over Running for Exercise

While running is an excellent form of exercise for some people, it’s not the best option for everyone. Here are some reasons why:

  • Joint pain: If you have joint pain or are at risk of joint injuries, running may not be the best form of exercise for you. It can put a lot of strain on your joints, particularly your knees.
  • Risk of injury: Running can be a high-impact activity, which can increase your risk of injury. For example, you may be more likely to experience shin splints, plantar fasciitis, or stress fractures if you run regularly.
  • Sustainability: Some people find running challenging to sustain over the long term, particularly if it causes discomfort or is challenging to fit into their daily routine. This is where walking comes in- it’s a more sustainable form of exercise that’s easy to fit into a daily routine.

That’s not to say running is terrible- many people love it and thrive with it as their preferred workout. Still, it’s essential to note that walking offers unique advantages. Creative ideas for ways to incorporate walking into your daily routine include using a treadmill desk or taking a walking meeting. These tips can add more movement into your day and supplement other forms of exercise you may already be doing.

Walking as Therapy: A Guide to Mindful Movement

Lastly, walking is an excellent form of therapy. Walking can help you connect with your body, improve your mental health, and foster a sense of calm and relaxation. Here are some tips for making your walking routine more mindful:

  • Use walking as a form of meditation. Pay attention to your breath, the movement of your body, and the sounds around you.
  • Unplug. Leave your phone at home or in your pocket and focus on your surroundings.
  • Incorporate gratitude into your walk. Reflect on the things in your life you’re grateful for, or plan to include some into your day.
  • Find beauty in your surroundings. Notice the sights, smells, and sounds of the world around you.

Walking as a form of therapy can help you reduce stress and anxiety, improve cognitive function, and boost your overall sense of wellbeing.

Conclusion

Walking is a fantastic form of exercise that offers plenty of benefits, both physical and mental. Whether you’re just starting or are looking to take your walking routine to the next level, there are plenty of ways to make walking a more challenging and rewarding workout. Furthermore, walking is a low-impact, sustainable option for people of all ages and fitness levels, making it an excellent form of exercise for seniors and people with mobility limitations. Finally, walking can offer unique therapeutic benefits, helping you improve your mental health and connect with your body.

The bottom line? Walking counts as a form of exercise, and it’s one well worth exploring.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *