Walking can aid digestion, help prevent diabetes, improve heart health and make us feel better mentally so there is no denying that there is plenty of benefits to putting on a pair of walking shoes and heading out, but what about if we are walking to workout?
When it comes to fitness, how good can walking really be? In this article, I am going to be looking at the effectiveness of walking to workout, why it is so beneficial, and what we need to keep in mind to get the most from this low-impact fitness activity.
Walking Is Movement
This paper, published in 2005 states that obesity occurs when energy intake exceeds energy expenditure before going on to explain that because on Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), with every single movement we increase the number of calories we burn, so even if you are not exercising, moving more will help you lose weight.
Therefore it stands to reason that that by walking more, we will also increase the calories we burn. The even better news is that walking is also exercise, leading me onto my next point.
Walking Can Be Aerobic And Anaerobic
When you use walking as an aerobic exercise, you will be walking briskly so you get a bit breathless for a sustained period, your body will generate the energy using oxygen and this causes you to breathe heavily to take in more oxygen. The immediate effect of aerobic activity will see your body release endorphins giving you an increased sense of well-being. The ongoing benefits of consistent aerobic activity to your health, however, can include better weight management, increased fitness, strength, and stamina, a stronger immune system, and a better mood.
When you are using walking as an aerobic exercise, you are increasing the effort of your muscles for short periods. You can achieve this by walking hill reps or power walking in short bursts, allowing yourself to recover, and then doing it again. During anaerobic exercise, your body will require immediate energy taken from your glycogen stores. The ongoing benefits of consistent anaerobic activity include stronger muscles and muscles burn more calories than fat. Anaerobic exercise is more likely to result in muscle soreness so it’s important to warm down adequately after your workout. Spend a little time stretching out your muscles to facilitate a quicker recovery.
Different Walking Techniques For A Varied Workout
Whatever your workout routine, fitness experts will tell you to add variety to your workout to get more out of it. Walking works much the same way and you can utilize different walking techniques to get different results from your workout.
For example, Nordic walking leverages walking poles to get more of your workout by engaging your back, abs, and arms; while powerwalking can be used to target either the aerobic or anaerobic benefits.
Can A Good Walking Posture Give Us A Six Pack?
Some of you may accuse me of being ambitious to suggest walking can give us a six-pack, and maybe you’re right. However, it is true that if we adopt a good posture, we can optimize our walking to engage and strengthen our abdominal muscles.
Your body is pretty clever and will remember the most energy-efficient way to walk. If you do not think about it, this is the gait you will default to and it probably won’t feel much like a workout.
To adopt a good walking posture, you should:
- Stand-up straight with your shoulders relaxed but not slouched.
- Look ahead with your chin up, don’t look at the ground
- Suck your stomach in and take full breaths
If you adopt this posture, as you walk you should be swinging your arms from your shoulders and you will feel your core muscles as you walk.
Let’s Walkout For Our Workout
So there you have it, walking to workout can be an effective workout because not only does it burn calories, it can improve our cardiovascular performance and improve our muscles if we know how to do it correctly.
Why don’t your try walking to workout and let me know how you get on in the comments below.