You will not find an easier or cheaper form of exercise than walking. And when it simultaneously performs small miracles in both your body and your brain, it can only go too slowly to get going.
1. It’s easy
This is probably the biggest benefit of walking. Also, the easier the exercise, the more likely you are to get it done. Walking, for example, does not feel nearly as hard as running, and therefore the success rate is higher here.
Everyone can participate when it comes to walking, and it does not require a good basic form, instruction, fancy fitness gear, or dressing. You can go anywhere and anytime – even when you are on holiday.
2. It’s free
Another good argument that appeals to most. Walking requires a pair of shoes that are good to walk in but otherwise, there are no expenses for equipment, contingent, or transportation. You just lace up your shoes, open your door, and go.
3. It is gentle on your body
When you trudge away, you constantly have one foot in the ground. Therefore, walking is far less stressful for your joints and tendons than running, thus lowering the risk of injury.
If you are overweight, it is extra good to choose walking rather than running, as the extra kilos will otherwise strain your joints, tendons, and knees significantly.
4. It strengthens your bones
The small shocks that you get up through your body every time you put one foot in the ground strengthen your bones. An exercise like walking is thus better to prevent osteoporosis in relation to eg. cycling.
The faster you walk, the more powerfully you put your foot in the ground, and the greater the shock that goes up through the bones of your legs. The same is true if you walk in a hilly terrain – especially downhill.
5. Your circulation becomes healthier
Regular walks stimulate your heart and circulation so that both your blood pressure and cholesterol levels drop. The faster you go, and the higher your heart rate comes up, the better. So feel free to walk briskly and swing well with your arms.
6. Your condition improves
If you want better condition, the rods need speed. Here is one of the most effective tools for interval walking, where you alternate between walking at a normal pace and fast walking. Rather take several steps per minute rather than longer steps.
And a little tip: If you can have a conversation, you do not walk fast enough.
3 x effective interval training
- Walk 1 km quietly. Then go 5 intervals of 2 min. as quickly as possible. Between the intervals, you have 2 min. break with normal walking. Finish with a 1 km leisurely walk.
- Walk 3-5 km in a hilly forest area. Strive to get up all the hills, and go up as fast as possible, and go down casually. If there is only one hill in the area, you can go up and down this several times.
- Warm-up with 1 km calm walk. Then go intervals according to a pyramid model, where each interval and pause are equal in length: Go 30 sec. fast, walk 30 sec. slowly, walk 1 min. fast, walk 1 min. slowly and so on, up to 2.5 min. Then go back down through the pyramid.
7. You get stronger legs and glutes
When you walk, you especially use the muscles in the legs and buttocks, which thus become stronger. Every time you take a step, there is pressure on the calf muscle, which is strengthened, and the same applies to the front and back thighs and buttocks.
If you want to activate the buttock muscles extra, go up stairs along the way or uphill.
8. No need for rest days
If you want to walk every day, just do it – because your body does not need recovery after a walk in the same way as after running or hard strength training.
However, if you are very overweight or have not exercised for several years, it is a good idea to start out a little cautiously and weave rest days in between your walks.
9. You burn calories
When you walk, you also consume a lot of energy, so if you walk often or walk far, it will be easier for you to keep the weight off, and maybe you will even lose weight. If you walk 1 km, you burn approx. 1 kcal. pr. kg body weight. If you weigh 70 kg and walk 7 km, you will burn approx. 500 kcal.
You can determine your actual calorie burn through a calorie calculator.
10. Your brain gets a boost
If you go fast, new brain cells are created and the areas of your brain become better at communicating with each other. You will thus become better at remembering, strengthen your learning, and become more creative.
11. You become less stressed
It is wonderful to have a quiet walk in the woods, and research even shows that such walks in green surroundings actually lower your stress level. According to the National Board of Health, an exercise that takes place at a moderate intensity can have a reducing effect on indicators of stress.
12. You will be in a better mood
You may have already experienced it yourself, but a walk can do wonders for your mood. According to the National Board of Health, physical activity even has both a preventive and a therapeutic effect on depression.
13. You can go right after a meal
With many forms of exercise, you should preferably wait two hours to exercise after eating, so as not to become uncomfortable. That’s not the case. Here you can go for a walk right after a meal, which even promotes your digestion.
14. You can be social at the same time
The last benefit is hard to stick to because walking is one of the few forms of exercise where you can have a good talk while you are active. Go with your husband, your teenager, your colleague, your girlfriend or your mother – and talk about everything.
Walking can meet the recommended daily exercise for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Consider getting a pedometer or other fitness tracker to keep track of your daily steps.
Choose a walking route and daily step goal that is appropriate for your age and fitness level.
Warm up and cool down before walking to avoid injury. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.