By: Debbie Lui
Fitness walking is quickly becoming a favorite exercise for all ages. This a low-intensity activity is not only a perfect way to start an exercise routine, but it is also an inexpensive and simple way to stay fit! In fact, Harvard Medical School describes walking as “the simple cure for the biggest health problem in America”.¹ It sounds easy enough but, just like any other exercise, there are plenty of ways to go wrong! We’ve gathered our top tips to keep you injury-free, safe, and seeing the results you want!
Benefits of Fitness Walking
Diet is king when it comes to weight loss and weight management, but exercise is also an important and effective tool. Numerous research studies support walking as one of the best exercises for weight loss because of its accessibility for those of all fitness levels, the low cost of participation and the reduced risk of injury compared to other, more high-impact forms of getting fit. But, out of the health benefits of fitness walking, and you may find some of the findings surprising!
- It can help reduce your chances of becoming obese!
According to Harvard¹, a brisk 90-minute walk can reduce the effects of certain genes linked to obesity by nearly half!
- It’s easy on your joints!
Often, walking is the first exercise recommended to those who are overweight. Especially if you are elderly or have had joint issues, exercises that are less intense are good for preventing knee and joint pain due to pressure and impact.
- It improves muscle strength + endurance!
Many of us work desk jobs that require sitting for 8+ hours per day, and that 30-minute workout might not be enough to offset the loss in muscle strength + endurance that comes from a sedentary day. Walking is a great way to get those muscles activated and working with a lesser risk of injury!
Not only can walking improve your muscles, joints, and assist in weight management, but it can also help you avoid other health issues such as hypertension, high cholesterol, joint stiffness, and poor immune function. Interestingly enough, it has also been shown to help tame a sweet tooth¹,²!
Fitness Walking Tips:
Find Good Support
Just like in running, find a pair of shoes that fit well and offer the right amount of stability and support is important. Not only will this help make your walks comfortable, but the right shoes will help prevent injuries such as shin splints or ITBS and can help rectify any form issues you may have.
If you know you have knee and/or joint problems, opting to walk on grass or indoor running tracks instead of sidewalks may offer additional support.
Warm Up + Cool Down
Even though walking may seem like an easy workout, it is still important to ease your body into it. Always warm up by walking at a slow or normal pace for 5-10 minutes before picking up the tempo of your workout. After warming up a bit, take time to incorporate some dynamic stretches!
The same goes for your post-walk cooldown. To avoid muscle soreness and tightness, take the last 5 minutes of your walk to slow down and let your heart rate settle before diving into some static stretches.
Form Is Key
As with any other exercise, there is a right + wrong way to do it. Keeping the correct posture and form will help ensure your body doesn’t cut corners and shave calories off of your workout! Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Look forward, not down.
- Maintain a neutral neck position to prevent neck pain by keeping your chin pointed down and pulled in slightly.
- Keep your shoulders back and down and relaxed to allow your arms to swing naturally.
- Keep your belly button gently sucked in toward your spine to activate your core and protect your lower back from injury.
- Walk with your heel striking the ground first, then roll onto the ball of your foot, and push off with your toes. This is called the heel-toe method.
Visit The Fitness Walking Guide to learn more!
Mind Your Heart Rate
Most of us wear a fitness tracker of some sort, and many of them come with a wrist-based heart rate monitor. Keep an eye on this to ensure that you’re putting forth enough effort to see results! It may be helpful to identify a target heart rate and check periodically to make sure you’re where you need to me.
Track Your Progress
Those fitness trackers will also keep track of the number of steps, distance, speed, and sometimes cadence of each walk. Many find it helpful to set a goal for one of those measurable metrics so they can stick to their plan, track progress, and hold themselves accountable!
If you wish, you can wear your fitness tracker throughout the day to track your walking steps in a day or simply strap it on when you’re heading out for a brisk walk. The choice is yours! The recommended number of steps per day is 10,000 steps or more.³ At the end of the day, you may be surprised with the number of steps you have taken.
Begin at a low-intensity level or choose the level that fits your current physical activity. In the beginning, you can start with walking for 30 minutes or less. Once you are comfortable with the intensity and duration, you can gradually increase the intensity by walking up hills, with weights, increasing speed, or increasing distance!
Mind the Weather
Make sure you carry water if you are walking long distances or are exercising in hot weather. Keeping cool is important, especially when walking longer distances! It’s helpful to bring a hat with a brim + to apply sunscreen to exposed areas as well. Keep in mind, walking indoors is a great idea when you can expect extreme weather!
Fitness walking can be an enjoyable way to add more exercise into your day as you enjoy the late summer days. Of course, walking is always more fun with a buddy! Try searching for walking groups near you or asking a friend (four-legged or otherwise!) to come along.
Tell us what you love about fitness walking the most!
We would love to hear from you, so leave us a comment below.
如果你正在尋找一種強度低的運動來開始你的日常鍛煉，或者你正在尋找一種便宜且簡單的健身方式，健身步行是你要找的答案！步行聽起來非常簡單，但跟其他運動一樣有許多健康好處。哈佛醫學院（Harvard Medical School）描述步行是解決美國最大健康問題的簡單方法。即使是一種簡單的運動也可以幫助你邁向健康目標。如果你將任何一種運動變為習慣，你會開始看到它最終帶來的好處。在這篇網誌中，你會了解到健身步行的好處以及健身步行技巧。健身步行聽起來很容易，但跟任何其他運動一樣，如果你沒有在適當保護下進行，或會使你受傷。我們為你提供一些安全貼士和建議，讓你的步行旅程更加愉快和安全！