Exercise 101: Walking Can Be Just As Good As Running

Not into running? Or you’re not ready for running yet? The good news is you can get the same benefits from walking as you can from running. If you decide you want to transition into running later you can.

The benefits to walking are pretty much the same as they are for exercise in general with some additional pluses:

  • Low impact – if you have bad knees/back or carrying extra weight, walking has very little shock to the joints
  • No cost – you don’t need to belong to a gym to get your walk on, unless you want to
  • Easy to get started – unlike other physical activities, it requires  no skills
  • Maintain weight & cardiovascular system – you may not have weight to lose but you still need to give your heart and blood vessels a workout to prevent other cardiovascular issues
  • Easier on the hair – if you’re concerned about the heavy sweating of other exercises this may be a good option, you’ll still sweat but not as much

Now I have to deliver a little bit of bad news. In order to reap the benefits you must walk properly. A leisurely walk is not what is going to deliver the best results. While all walking is good exercise, if you’re looking to have similar results that running provides you need to follow a few simple tips:

  • Warm up/cool down – you may not be running but you still need to warm up and cool down your body afterwards
  • Walk at a brisk pace – unless you need to take it slow, pick up the pace
  • Map out your course – this is good for running too, pick a course(s) that will keep you interested and motivated
  • Good form – even though it’s walking you still need to have good form to prevent injury, click on image above to see details
  • Challenge yourself – don’t just go walking, push yourself with different walking workouts, check out four from Prevention magazine or do some hills
  • Right equipment – get good walking shoes, make sure they fit and are support your feet properly (high vs low arch support for example)
  • Hydrate – it’s just as important to stay hydrated walking as it is running

Some things you probably should avoid doing while you’re walking that I see people do all of the time:

  • Smoking – yes, I see people out walking on the trail smoking, then I’m forced to run through their cloud of smoke
  • Talking on the phone – this distracts from the task at hand, you may end up walking slower than you should be, just enjoy the day

Get out there and get moving. Walking is a great place to start if you’ve never run before, recovering from an injury or just need to get some cardio in. No excuses!




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