The Real Benefits of Brisk Walking – Take the Steps to Good Health
The benefits of walking are countless, and brisk walking as your regular cardio exercise is considered to be one of the best ways to improve your health over the long term. When you think about brisk walking, your mind may conjure up images of Olympic power walkers and how ridiculous they can look but don’t fret. Its actually one of the best cardio workouts you can get.
See: How to Motivate Yourself to Workout – 7 Simple Steps
Some people neglect their cardio workout, opting for a weight training regime that works their heart and gives them the sweat equity they need. This is no substitute for a good cardio regime.
Studies have shown that walking is an extremely efficient way to improve your health and very practical for most people to do. There are other cardio exercises that you can engage in, but none match the benefits of walking when you consider the benefits.
These are the benefits of walking, and more specifically, brisk walking when compared with running.
Why is Brisk Walking Better than Running
1. Much Lower Chance of Injury
Some people believe that if they’re not sweating and in pain, they are not gaining any tangible benefits from their workout. That’s not the case. Unless you’re training for a major sporting event, there is no need to put your body through all that hard work and put it at risk of injury. Walking is less intensive and still carries many of the overall benefits you get from running.
Brisk walking will need to be done for longer periods of time and more regularly but over the long run, you will have less injuries and muscle strains.
2. Less Impact on Your Legs and Knees
The difference between jogging and walking is that brisk walkers always have one foot on the ground but joggers are completely airborne at certain points. When they return to the ground, their leg muscles and knees have to deal with the impact which can increase the chance of long term injuries.
3. Brisk Walking is the Gateway Workout
Those of you who are new to working out may see the sight of sweat drenched joggers quite daunting. If your fitness level isn’t quite good enough for running for extended periods of time, you can still engage in regular brisk walking sessions without any major strains on your body, especially your heart. As your brisk walking sessions progress, you can increase the speed and duration or your walks until you’re ready to start jogging.
4. Benefits for Older People
There are many benefits of walking for older older people. It can make them less reliant on others to care for them as it reduces their chances of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and colon cancer. It also helps improve their muscle strength, making them more mobile and less reliant on mobility scooters and other walking aids.
Even when jogging is too strenuous, brisk walking is something that older people can enjoy daily or at their convenience to improve their quality of life.
What are the Main benefits of Walking
Brisk walking regularly can:
- Strengthen your muscles
- Help keep your weight steady and reduce fat
- Lower your risk of angina, heart attack, heart failure, coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty, and stroke
- Strengthen your bones and prevent arthritis
- Reduce blood pressure
- improve your balance and coordination
- Keep your joints flexible
- Increase your confidence and mood, and help you feel better all round
- Improve your energy levels and increase your stamina
- Reduce anxiety or depression
- Improve your social life by being out and meeting new people
Improve the Benefits of Walking and Brisk Walking
A great way to improve the benefits of walking is to increase the incline at which you walk. Find a hill or even better, a mountain, and go for a hike while walking as fast as you can. Take all the necessary precautions to ensure your walk is safe and enjoy all of the benefits of walking at a much higher level without the need for jogging.
Walk on Soft Surfaces
Walking on grass and softer surfaces like sand is a better way to take any strain off your leg muscles and knees. Although walking on street surfaces is not detrimental, another way to improve the benefits of walking is by walking on softer surfaces whenever possible. If you have to walk on harder surfaces for long periods, make sure you wear appropriate footwear such as running shoes.
Walk in the Morning
Your early morning brick walking session will have numerous benefits compared to walks at later times in the day. After your initial resistance to working-out is overcome (check out How to Motivate Yourself to Workout – 7 Simple Steps), getting out for a great walk will get your heart pumping as well as waking you up in a healthy way.
You will feel less fatigued and your heart will work that much harder all day, burning those extra calories.
Have a Coffee Before Your Walk
Drinking Coffee before you do any brisk walking. A study, published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, found that trained athletes who took in caffeine pre-exercise burned about 15% more calories for three hours after their work out. Coffee also improves your focus and gives you more energy to walk for longer..
How to Walk More – Increase the Benefits of Walking
If you’re looking for ways to walk more in your daily life, here are some great ways you can walk more and enjoy the benefits of brisk walking from today.
- Walk to work. Swap your daily commute on the bus, subway or car and walk as much as you can to work. If you drive, park near your work and walk for at least 20 minutes. If you take the bus or Subway, get off at least one stop before your regular stop and walk the remainder.
- Walk to the grocery store. You know you have to grab some groceries but instead of taking the car, walk. Carrying the shopping home will also be a workout.
- Enjoy some brisk walking at lunch time. Instead of sitting at a coffee shop at lunch, take that coffee to go and enjoy it as you walk and talk with your friends.
- Take the stairs. Resist the temptation to jump in the levator or escalator just to go up one or two floors. Take the stairs and get in those extra steps every day. They will add up and give your leg muscles a good workout.
A clever way to incorporate technology into your workouts is to use a step counting app, available on your smartphone, to track the number of steps you’re taking each day. Based on your age and current weight, the app will recommend a number of steps and track your steps while your phone is with you.
This is a fantastic way to ensure you’re getting enough steps each day is to monitor your steps as you increase your workouts. The S Health app this, as well as tracking the duration and intensity of your walks each day.
No matter how you walk or where you walk, you can enjoy the benefits of walking immediately. Every step you take while brisk walking is a step toward good health and happiness.
For more fitness and health related articles, head over to our health page. It is filled with free advice on how to workout to lose weight and gain muscle, how to motivate yourself to workout more and live an overall healthier life.