While I would love to say that walking can be just as effective of a workout as running, I can’t, because I would be lying to you. In fairness, the two really shouldn’t be compared against each other. Running due to larger muscle recruitment, greater forces exerted and faster motion capability will always have the proverbial ‘leg up’ on walking. With that being said, walking is a really good form of exercise and can help you reach your fitness and weightloss goals.
As a life long track athlete, who has marveled at race walkers (checkout the olympic walkers on youtube), I don’t scoff at walking. In fact, walking is the suggested workout over running for many people. For example, those with knee, ankle and back problems and also for people who are overweight to obese. Walking is more of the default component of cardio workouts for my older clients and something that I encourage my clients of all ages to do more of every day.
Walking is a lower impact exercise and can be done for longer periods of time. The Mayo Clinic points out some of the best benefits of walking.
When it comes to a walking workout, I challenge clients by varying the speeds and inclines on the treadmill. I will also use light dumbbells to better engage the arms and core during the walk. One use of dumbbells is to simply hold them during the natural arm swing movement while you walk. Another variation you can try during your walk is to do an exaggerated runners arm pump. And finally, a favorite move of mine with dumbbells is to do almost a bicep curl arm pump while walking.
Here’s a 30 minute treadmill workout to take your walking routine to the next level.
(Note: try to never hold onto the treadmill while walking, even when at an incline)
Parts of this post were featured on NBC News BETTER
So there you have it. Good luck with integrating walking into your fitness routine. It is not only a good way to get and stay in shape, but also to explore your surroundings. Here’s to seeing you on walks around the world.