Walking for Exercise
The Benefits and Why We Shouldn’t Discredit It
Think of the last time you went to the gym and used the cardio equipment. Whether you were on the treadmill, elliptical, or bike; odds are, you saw someone walking on the treadmill. When you saw this, maybe even for a split second, you thought to yourself “what a waste of time.” Or “that doesn’t even count as real exercise.”
I think we’ve all done something like this before.
But before we continue to judge, I think it’s time we reassess and see why walking should not be discredited as a good (and valid) form of exercise.
Whether it be a leisurely stroll or a power walk, walking has the same effect on the body as running (or any other form of cardiovascular exercise). The heart starts pumping, breathing becomes heavy, sweat starts to form, and endorphins are released. Calories are burned for energy; and the core, leg, and arm muscles are strengthened. When considering all of these things that occur during any form of cardio exercise, the only thing that sets them apart is the pace that we are moving at.
In some cases, walking can actually be more favorable than running. On a day with extreme weather (hot or cold), walking can put less stress on the body. If you are recovering from an injury or illness, walking can be a great alternative to all forms of exercise. If you are just feeling low and not super motivated, getting out for a walk can be what you need to clear your mind and feel refreshed.
The benefits of a walk are endless. So next time you are feeling down, or are looking to get in some body movement; call a friend or grab your headphones and go for a walk!
Let us know where some of your favorite walking places are by emailing us at Healthy.UNH@unh.edu!