Why Walking For Exercise is the New Running
Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash
Whether it’s talking about a “hot girl walk,” “getting your steps in,” or the “12-3-30” trend on TikTok (if you know, you know,) the conversation around walking for exercise is a hot one right now – and for good reason. When it comes to carefully crafting your cardio for the day, choosing between burpees, running a few miles, or performing a crazy HIIT workout doesn’t always sound ideal. Fortunately, research shows that walking turns out to be just as beneficial for the body as any other form of cardio. So, throw on your big headphones, pick the perfect podcast or playlist, and let’s hit the road or treadmill for your hot girl (or guy or enby) walk! This is why walking for exercise is the new running.
2. The specific benefits of walking
- Walking is a low-impact workout that reaps similar benefits to the body as other forms of cardio. It may not necessarily be a “better” workout, but it is definitely a better option for some people.
- Walking for exercise can decrease your risk of heart disease and diabetes, lower your blood pressure, decrease the risks of anxiety and depression, and boost self-confidence.
- Moving your body should be enjoyable: don’t settle for workouts that you don’t enjoy.
Why go on walks?
Let’s get one thing straight: going out, moving your body, and getting that blood flowing is always going to be a win. Period. Regardless of what kind of movement you’re doing, movement is good for the body and soul. So if you don’t love running, spinning, swimming, HIIT, or if you need an active recovery day, walking could be the perfect solution.
Whether you choose to go walking outside, tackle some inclines on the treadmill, or hit your favorite local trail, walking is a low-impact exercise that is accessible to everyone. Additionally, walking provides a plethora of benefits for everyone, regardless of their health goals. If you’re recovering from an injury, looking to increase muscle mass, you’re new to working out, or you’re pregnant or postpartum, going on a walk helps the body reap the benefits of cardio without experiencing any mega-high heart rates or joint pain.
Current trends in the health and fitness world seem to tell you that in order to see results, you have to partake in high intensity and heavy load workouts, but that is simply not the case. There is no denying that running is a more physically demanding form of exercise, which often leads some to label it as a “better” workout. Realistically, they shouldn’t even be compared. Running utilizes more muscles, exerts greater forces, and requires faster motion capability. So if you really want to compare them, running will always have a figurative “leg up” over walking. The conclusion? Walking isn’t necessarily a “better” workout but is certainly a better exercise choice for some of us.
The specific benefits of walking
The proof is in the pudding: research shows that the energy we use when participating in moderate-intensity walking compared to vigorous-intensity running ensued in similar decreases in risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease over a six-year study. So, good news for those of us that dread pressing 6.0mph on our treadmill and going for a jog: walking at a moderate intensity pace can get the job done just as well, as long as you make sure you’re getting your heart rate up.
Other studies have found that going on your daily (hot girl) walk can reduce the risk of a stroke, decrease the number of days spent in a hospital each year, and can lower the risk of death by up to almost 40% when compared with doing no physical activity in your free time. Essentially, walking can be a key component for all ages to help prevent certain diseases and prolong your life. And bonus: it's free (and easy!) All you need is a good pair of walking shoes.
To specifically address the benefits mentioned, studies have shown that walking for at least 30 minutes a day and at least five days a week can reduce your risk of heart disease by 19 percent. Even better: increasing your speed, distance, and duration can also reduce your risk even further. Additionally, studies that have tracked adults during flu season concluded that those who walked for 30-45 minutes each day had 43 percent fewer days spent sick and fewer respiratory infections throughout the season. Additionally, those who got sick experienced milder symptoms. The conclusion: walking supports a healthy immune system!
Another added bonus to walking is that the benefits aren’t all physical. Walking helps to boost energy, improve your mood, and encourage creative and innovative thinking. Specifically, walking enhances oxygen flow throughout the body, as well as other energy-elevating hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Even more, research shows that walking for exercise eases anxiety, depression, and negative moods in addition to boosting confidence. Last, scientists have discovered that walking allows us to increase our creativity by fostering innovative and free-flowing thoughts. If you need a break from writing your research papers or brainstorming for a presentation, walking may be the solution for you.
If you’re looking to incorporate some walking into your workout ritual, this may be your sign. It is advisable to add at least two to three walking days a week and walk at a moderate pace for a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes. If you’re looking to add some cardio as the cherry on top of your strength training, you can add a 20-minute power walk on inclines. You can keep things interesting by changing up your speeds, inclines, and durations on the treadmill, as well as spicing up your hot girl walks by taking different routes and trying new trails.
Showing your body some love via movement and exercise is a way to give love back to yourself and take care of your body and mind. After all, you only get one of each. Learning to love and appreciate the body you were given via movement is a process, but it starts by doing exercises you enjoy. So regardless of whether that is running, walking, skipping, jumping, swimming, stretching, you do you boo! Find movement you enjoy: the opportunities are endless.
Who doesn’t love a good walk, though? Pick your favorite podcast, playlist, or grab your favorite walking buddy. If you’re competitive, start FitBit or Apple Watch competitions to challenge your friends to walk more; it never hurts having an accountabili-buddy. Exercise doesn’t have to be miserable. Who needs running anyway? This summer we are reclaiming the hot girl walk.
Written by Morgan Taylor
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