The Benefits of Walking as a Workout


There is no denying that the fitness industry has seen considerable growth over the last fifty years. Starting with Jazzercise in the ’70s, exercise routines have been consistently developing and building off of each other to create a strong cultural interest in being “fit.”

The physical phenomenon has become even more engrained into American’s lifestyles by entering homes through VHS, DVD, YouTube videos and apps. Whether at home or at the gym, most people are looking for the newest and most effective way to get fit – no matter what it takes. This helped contribute to the creation of a lot of intense group fitness regimens and classes, but as with relationships, it is often best to avoid anything described as “complicated.”

Enter, the classic exercise of walking.

Though walking can sometimes get a bad rep of not being a true workout, a brisk walk can be the first step (pun intended) in your quest for a healthier life. Still not convinced? Check out some of the important benefits Mayo Clinic found came from this seriously simple exercise:

Improve Your Mood

Similar to running, the simplicity of walking offers a great opportunity to clear your mind, but without the potential discomfort of huffing and puffing through a run. Walking is also a great way to catch up with friends instead of lounging on couch. I recently had a girl’s trip in Baltimore to visit a high school friend, and the harbor there is perfect to run around.

However, one of my friends is not a runner; so instead we went for really long walks to see the city and catch up. We all agreed that it was one of the best parts of the trip because we felt great for getting out and moving around, but were also comfortable all walking at the same pace so no one felt left out or uncomfortable. It boosted up our energy level to take full advantage of the rest of the day and night.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Generally someone’s main goal in their fitness journey, walking is an easy way to monitor your weight. Making sure that you walk an average of 10,000 steps a day, or about 30 active minutes, is one way to keep your body healthy and balanced. These days, there are so many apps to help you track your steps, it is almost difficult to not have some sort of tracking on your every move. I got a FitBit last year for Christmas and have been obsessed with it ever since – it tracks my steps and motivates me to take the stairs, or make sure to take a walking break at lunch. A few small steps can make a large impact on your overall goal.

Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles

Both muscles and bones are living tissue that becomes stronger with exercise. Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that benefits both your muscles and bones and has great cardiovascular benefits. Not only that, but walking helps to maintain coordination and balance, which then helps to present falls and fractures.

In order to get the most out of your step and reap the above benefits, make sure to stay focused on your posture. Keeping your stomach muscles engaged and using your arms to move at a swift pace ensures that you will be utilizing the proper walking technique. Just like when running, wear comfortable shoes with support to absorb shock so you can feel comfortable going a long distance.

Return to simplicity with this simple workout this summer, and suddenly find yourself honestly enjoying long, romantic walks on the beach.

Need some inspiration to get out there and walk? Check out Fitness Magazine’s Walking Workout Plan!

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About Catherine Toupin

Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, Catherine is a proud graduate of two great Midwestern schools: the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the University of Notre Dame. After receiving a degree in English and Communication, Catherine chose to take a risk and teach teenagers in Florabama for two years. Living in a location with warm weather year-round rekindled Catherine’s love of long outdoor runs (and of relaxing on a beach). Catherine has since taken a Meeting Planning job in Chicago, and though the views are slightly different, she still enjoys runs along the lake shore path and being outdoors as much as possible.