What Are The Health Benefits of Walking?

Man walking his dog in the park

Walking is a great form of exercise, and can be safely done by almost anyone. Few people know that there is a difference between fitness walkers and other walkers. Fitness walkers tend to take quicker steps than people who just walk.

However, whether you are an accomplished fitness walker, or just someone who takes the occasional stroll, you can increase your level of fitness from walking.  Mothers pushing their babies in strollers or senior citizens taking their daily exercise are all able to incorporate walking into their routine.

Some walkers join walking clubs

Many individuals join walking clubs, adding an element of camaraderie to their fitness routine. These clubs eliminate the possibility of boredom setting in, and make for a safer walking experience. Almost nothing beats fitness from walking, and there’s hardly any cost except for proper walking shoes.  Shoes must be able to absorb shock so as to protect the knees.

Fitness from walking can have both physical and mental benefits. Some persons walk to clear their minds or to think things over. Others walk as a form of exercise to lose weight and or to just keep fit and limber.

There are a number of other benefits to be gained from walking. Walking burns calories and is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. It results in overall body toning and is especially great for building leg muscles. Walking also benefits cardiac patients as it provides mild exercise which helps in strengthening the heart muscles.

How to walk for fitness

Fitness from walking can best be achieved by developing the correct form:

  • Walk briskly with hands swinging at your side. Carry small weights if you want to add some resistance. You will know if you are walking fast enough as your heart rate should increase
  • Keep your back straight and your head back, look ahead of you, not down
  • Pull your abdomen in as you walk
  • Land on your heels first before pushing off onto the balls of your feet
  • Don’t take rigid steps, walk as if your ankles are loose
  • If you are going uphill lean your body forward a bit
  • Breathing is important, if you must, breathe through you mouth
  • To see if you are walking properly, try holding a conversation. If you cannot, then you are going too fast. If your speech is a little slow as you walk that is Ok, but you should not be unable to carry on a running conversation.

Posture, as you can see from the above list is very important if you are to truly gain the benefits to be had from walking. Before you start walking it is necessary to warm up first by doing some stretches and you will also need to cool down afterwards.

This helps prevent getting sore muscles, stiff joints and other injuries. To achieve fitness from walking, it is important to observe the rules. Otherwise you could limit the benefits to be gained from this simple but healthy activity.

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