Walking is primarily used as a form of transportation. However, regularly performing a walking routine can be used to safely and effectively improve one’s overall level of physical fitness. In addition, walking competitions exist where people speed walk as fast as possible and race a predetermined distance.
Walking has been shown to increase self-confidence, decrease stress, and calm, center, and relax the mind. Frequently performing a walking routine is also beneficial for increasing overall cardiovascular endurance, stamina, and energy levels. Regularly performing a walking routine is also effective at promoting safe and effective weight loss and increasing life expectancy.
Walking can also lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. In fact, recent studies have also indicated that walking can even improve concentration and mental focus.
Cost: $0 to $1,000
You can start walking around your neighborhood at almost no cost or invest in a treadmill. At the minimum, you should invest in a comfortable pair of walking shoes.
Activity Locations: Almost Anywhere
Walking is a very flexible activity that can be performed almost anywhere. The weather will often determine whether you exercise indoors or outside. The main muscles used in walking are the quadriceps, hamstrings, calf muscles, and gluteus maximus. Muscles such as the biceps and triceps can also be worked if the arms are swung while walking, particularly if walking with weights.
Types of Movements
There are many different ways to go about walking. Some people walk outdoors at a leisurely pace. Others walk at a faster pace which is known as speed walking. Though both have health benefits, more are evident with speed walking. Hiking involves walking through natural terrain, usually not on pavement, and often involves hills and other natural obstacles. Other people prefer to walk at home or in a gym on a treadmill which allows them to multitask and watch television, read or think about other things while walking.
Mental and Physical Requirements
Provided that you have no underlying serious medical condition or are morbidly obese, walking should be appropriate for all body types and ages. Seek medical advice if you are unsure if you are healthy enough to begin a walking routine, and start slowly if you lead a generally sedentary lifestyle.
- Comfortable Clothes
- Walking Shoes
Mental and Physical Benefits
- Improved Mood
- Reduced Anxiety
- Decreased Stress
- Improved Self-Esteem
- Improved Focus
- Weight Loss
- Improved Immune System
- Better Cardiovascular Function
- Increased Resilience
- Decreased Blood Pressure
Speed walking can raise the heart rate enough to be considered an aerobic exercise. However, walking, in general, is usually considered an anaerobic exercise as performing your exercise routine at a typical pace will not provide an aerobic effect. This being said, the primary focus of regularly performing a walking routine is to lightly exercise the body and cardiovascular system.
Comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended for fitness walking. A pedometer can also be used in order to count the number of steps taken.
Some pedometers also monitor the distance traveled and the speed that the individual is walking at. Weights on the hands or ankles can also be used while walking. Those who wish to walk but do not have a place to do so can use a treadmill.