Walking is the oldest exercise known to humans. Walking is more than a way to get around. Walking is a way to improve fitness, burn calories and reduce the health risk of inactivity. Walking in the park, Walking in the neighbourhood at an easy pace keeps you active and helps you reap benefits. You get even more benefits of health, fitness and weight loss by walking at a brisk pace. Using the right posture, the right shoes, arm motion and strides you can learn to walk faster and longer. Experts recommend a brisk walk for 30-45 minutes for 5-6 days a week to reduce health risks. Walking is easy, it’s convenient, budget friendly and suited to all age groups.
Benefits of Walking
- You burn calories and reduce weight.
- Helps lower blood sugar.
- Boosts immunity and immune system.
- Strengthens the heart muscles.
- Helps ease joint pain, knee pain and hip pain.
- Boosts energy and metabolism.
- Tone legs, also considered the best cardio and aerobic exercise for the full body.
- Reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
- Increases brain stimulation, innovation and creativity.
- Increases life span.
- No equipment is needed to walk.
- Increases hormonal balance.
- Helps improve thyroid condition.
- Helps improve the overall lifestyle.
How many calories do you burn while Walking
Your weight and the distance you walk are the biggest factors in how many calories you burn while walking. Rule of thumb is that about 100 calories per 1.6 kms are burnt for an 80 kgs person and 65 calories per 1.6 kms are burnt for a 55 kgs person. Your walking speed matters less. It is also recommended to walk at least 10,000 steps daily. However, one can start with less number of steps and gradually increase. Beyond the weight and pace, other factors can increase your calorie burn while walking. Some of the ways to make walking more vigorous are :
- Try incorporating rolling hills into your walking route or walk on a incline on the tread mill.
- Have walking intervals with hard periods followed by recovery periods.
- Try getting in longer walks over the weekend.
- Keep yourself motivated.
Speed of Walking
The speed of Walking will vary according to the age and body type. The recommended speed of Walking is given under. Prior to proper Walking, warm up of 2 – 3 minutes with mild stretches is recommended.
|Age group||Walking speed recommended||Distance covered in 1 hour|
|Adult till 45 years||1.5 kms in 15 minutes||6.5 kms|
|45 – 59 years||1.2 kms in 15 minutes||5 kms|
|Above 60 years||700 – 900 mtrs in 15 minutes||3 – 4 kms|
Apart the speed of Walking try and get creative to prevent Walking being monotonous and boring. Some of the things which you can do to get creative are :
- Side / backwards walk.
- Get outdoors to avoid using tread mill daily.
- Choose a different track / path.
Some tips for beginners
- Posture : Stand tall with shoulders relaxed, lift your chest and keep your chin up.
- Try and keep the abs a little tight while breathing comfortably.
- Do not lock legs or knees while Walking.
- Land on the heel and roll foot.
- Bend arms at 90 degree angle to keep momemtum.
- Do not march in the military style. Keep the walk simple, natural and comfortable.
- Wear comfortable, flexible and light shoes with thin soles.
- Wear comfortable clothes as per season. Preferably wear sports clothing (it helps you get motivated for the walk).
- Vary your route, select different modes, go on different routes (grass / gritty surface / hills / elevation change etc).
- Stay hydrated throughout.
- Warm up first, increase speed gradually and take time to cool down.
- Breathe normally while Walking.
Walking is a habit that you must incorporate in your daily lifestyle. If your schedule stays too tight, take a tea / coffee break or some time during lunch to walk around. Walking early morning is as beneficial as Walking in the evening. Increase your intensity gradually. You can use various apps available to keep a track of the distance covered and steps taken. Set yourself gradual goals. You can also choose to listen to music / podcast / audio books while Walking to avoid monotony. Make sure to consult a doctor in case of any discomfort.
Stay Fit and Stay Healthy !!