It’s National Walking Day! But this year, we don’t need a national holiday to bring attention to popular exercise. Walking is a major moment. From “Hot Girl Walks” to the 12-3-30 workout – people are putting their own spin on the most basic exercise.
But unlike many viral workout trends, walking is far from a fad. On the contrary, simple movement has long been an accessible, free and easy way to keep our heart healthy, shed unwanted pounds and improve our mental health.
In fact, the simplicity of walking may be the reason it’s so underrated. With all the fancy gym equipment, viral workouts, and fitness tech on the market, could the best option really be to just lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement? For many, the answer is yes.
The benefits of walking
The transformations from our Start TODAY group are first-hand examples of how a walking routine can transform your physical and mental health. As previously reported on TODAY.com, the benefits of walking include:
- Improve your cardiovascular health and function
- Increase your aerobic capacity
- Improve blood pressure
- Control your blood sugar and reduce your risk of diabetes
- Increase your metabolism
- maintain weight
- Reduce your risk of osteoarthritis
- Maintenance of mobility
- Reduce your risk of dementia
Convinced that a walking routine is for you? In honor of National Walk Day, we’re answering frequently asked questions to set you up for success.
Scroll up and read all these benefits again – the answer is yes! Fitness Today contributor Stephanie Mansour said “Walking often gets a bad rap because it’s not intense enough to create real change or an escape from more effective forms of exercise, which are both entirely false!”
Of course, there are ways to increase the intensity of your walking and modify your plan to achieve specific goals, she added. Once you’ve established a walking routine, you can experiment with speed and elevation to make it more challenging and add strength training to tone your muscles. Here she shares 5 ways to get the most out of your walk.
When it comes to a daily step goal, 10,000 steps has long been the benchmark. But the tide began to turn on the seemingly arbitrary number.
Research shows that walking just 11 minutes a day reduces the risk of illness and premature death. One study found that aiming for 8,000-9,000 steps a day is best for reducing the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes, while another suggests that walking 8,000 steps once or twice a week may be enough significantly reduce the risk of death over 10 years. years.
The jury may not yet know the exact number of steps to take for optimal health, but experts agree that taking short breaks throughout the day to get up and walk is a good starting point. departure. You might be surprised how many steps you accumulate!
If you’re walking to lose weight, Mansour says walking to save time may prove more effective than distance. She recommends hitting the pavement for at least 30 minutes a day (preferably longer).
That being said, if you’re driven by distance and like to track miles or steps, go for it! In the end, it’s staying consistently engaged in the activity that gets results. So choose the method that will encourage you to stick to it.
The short answer: yes. It is a low impact exercise that burns calories, which can help with weight loss. Also, the best form of exercise is one that you enjoy and do regularly, and walking ticks those boxes for many people. But you’ll need to increase your time spent walking to see results – experts suggest 45-60 minutes, while making any necessary adjustments in your diet.
Walking at any pace will help you burn calories and improve your cardiovascular fitness. Brisk walking ups the ante by also involving your upper body and increasing your heart rate. Research has shown that taking more steps per minute, like walking, can help lower insulin levels and body mass index. Good form when brisk walking is essential – learn how to do it here.
You can make walking a more intense workout by adding intervals where you alternate between a more leisurely walking pace and a faster, more intense pace. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) like this has been shown to reduce body fat and improve cardiovascular fitness. Try it with this 10-minute HIIT walking workout.
I find walking boring. How can I make it more enjoyable?
Think of walking not as a workout, but as a “me” moment. Listen to a podcast, invite a friend to chat with (or call one on the phone), or find different routes that feature interesting sights to keep you entertained (we love parks and malls!). Start TODAY members love to listen to their favorite music while taking steps. They’ve shared their best sweat tracks: Check out the playlist here (plus four walking playlists from Al Roker!).