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Fitness Nutrition Forums

Should Walking Figure Into Your Exercise Schedule?

When you think of a “proper” workout, your mind probably flashes to something intense — a killer weightlifting session, a kick-ass run, even a cycling or spinning workout. Walking isn’t usually considered a workout, at least not by the standards of the average fit person. It’s typically something done as an “extra,” or it’s not even done because it’s not the best use of your workout time.

Well, slow your roll there!

Walking may not be the best type of exercise around — it may not burn as many calories as a run or resistance training session — but you should still definitely try to figure it into your workout schedule.

Why is that?

  • Walking is heart-smart. It can prevent and help you manage a number of cardiovascular conditions, from high blood pressure to diabetes to heart disease.
  • Walking strengthens your muscles. It may not work to the same extent as resistance training or running, but it does wonders to work your muscles with low-impact, low-intensity exercise.
  • Walking is good for your bones and joints. Unlike high-intensity exercise, walking can help to enhance bone density and joint health without negative impact.
  • Walking is easy. Anyone can walk for hours every day without tiring, meaning anyone can do it no matter how out of shape they may feel.
  • Walking burns fat. The low-intensity exercise activates your fat metabolism and specifically burns fatty acids rather than glycogen. The result is more effective fat-burning thanks to your walk.
  • Walking improves your mood. It triggers the release of feel-good endorphins and adrenaline that will have you feeling better for hours to come.

Let’s be clear: walking isn’t going to give you the same cardiovascular or muscular benefits as you’d get from a higher-intensity workout. You’ll build muscles faster by lifting weights and burn fat faster by running or cycling.

However, walking is excellent because you can do it anytime, anywhere. You don’t need special equipment or special running shoes — all you need is a comfortable pair of tennis shoes to get in a walking workout.

Walking should never be your primary workout if your goal is fitness. You can’t burn enough calories or fats or build enough muscle to see results through walking alone. Your primary workout should always be something a bit higher-intensity.

However, walking is an excellent addition to your regular workout. You can bust your butt in the gym and still have enough energy for a walk later in the day. No matter how hard you push yourself in your daily workout, you’ll always be able to fit in a bit of walking after the workout is done. That’s what makes the low-intensity, low-impact exercise so great!

Walking helps to boost your metabolism, keeping your body fired up and energized all day long. You can speed up fat-burning efforts by walking more throughout your day. On the weekends when you don’t want to do full-on workouts, go for a walk or hike to keep your metabolism fired up. Walking is easy and highly effective in its own way, and it definitely deserves a place in your exercise schedule!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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