How to Get the Most Out of Walking for Fitness
Choosing a workout can be a grueling task in itself, but working toward your fitness goals can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. There’s a reason all of those watches and wearables track your steps — walking is one of the most accessible activities you can do that could help improve your overall health.
Before you start hoofing it, here’s everything you need to know about maximizing walking for fitness.
Why Should You Walk?
Whether you’re looking to improve your fitness or just get your blood moving, walking boasts a boatload of benefits.
Walking can help you lose weight
When combined with lifestyle changes like healthy eating, low-intensity activities like walking can be an excellent start to your weight loss journey.
Treat walking as a 30- to 45-minute workout, keep yourself motivated, and you could see results in as little as 30 days.
Walking can be good cardio
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, walking — specifically brisk walking (see below) — qualifies as cardiovascular exercise. That means simply walking can help strengthen your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
Walking’s benefits extend beyond fitness
How to Take Walking for Fitness Up a Level
Walking can be as variable as almost any other form of exercise.
Burning more calories than you consume will help you lose weight, and power walking will help you burn more calories than your average stroll. And if you’re injury-prone, power walking might be the perfect activity for you. Since walking is a low-impact activity, walkers are less likely to experience musculoskeletal injuries.
Use a power walking workout like this one to boost your calorie-burning power.
If power walking isn’t your thing, you can still walk at a brisk pace and meet your cardio goals. So how fast is a “brisk” pace? The average walking speed for a man in his thirties is 3.2 miles per hour. For a woman, it’s 3.0 miles per hour.
Avoid gyms that are typically overflowing with New Year’s resolutions by lacing up your shoes and taking a walk outside. The lower temperatures will help you expend more energy, which means you’ll burn more calories.
How Many Steps Should You Walk in a Day?
Fun fact: the golden number of 10,000 steps per day started as a marketing tactic for Japanese pedometers in the 1960s. But that doesn’t mean hitting this number isn’t important. Accumulating 10,000 steps per day at a brisk pace will help you reach the CDC’s weekly recommendation of 150 minutes of exercise.
So form a walking club with friends, get a dog, or find other creative ways to get to 10,000 steps every day.
Join the Openfit Live Walking Community!
If you’re looking for instruction or just the motivation that comes with a personal trainer, Openfit Live is an excellent resource to step your walking up to the next level. Whether you’re walking outside or on a treadmill, you can schedule a session with one of our professional trainers and meet via your smartphone. Openfit Live is just one of many programs available to Openfit members. Start your free trial today!
Every Step is Openfit’s first interactive walking program. The class features include live trainers, curated playlists, pre-walk chats, and post-walk stats that help you engage with your virtual walking group. Every Step helps you improve your overall fitness, lose weight, or stay active during off days, and it’s included with an Openfit membership.
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition health.gov/sites/default/files/2019-09/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf#page=55
- Physical activity benefits and risks on the gastrointestinal system pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22089363/
- What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20337470/
- Physical activity-related injuries in walkers and runners in the aerobics center longitudinal study pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11086751/
- Cold exposure – an approach to increasing energy expenditure in humans www.cell.com/trends/endocrinology-metabolism/fulltext/S1043-2760(14)00010-1?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS1043276014000101%3Fshowall%3Dtrue
- How much physical activity do adults need? www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm