Don’t Underestimate Walking

Photo by Julia Larson:

We all know what walking is, and almost all of us can walk. Not all of us are fit enough to go for a long run. Not all of us have access to a pool to swim in. Not all of us know how to ride a bike. Yet, walking is often not seen as a good form of exercise. Walking does not get the credit it deserves. There are quite a few benefits walking has over other cardio methods, and in this, we will go over them.

Firstly, you do not have to be in shape to go walking. Of course, you might be elderly or disabled, which may make walking near impossible, but for everyone else, you can walk. If you can walk to the fridge, you can go out for a nice walk. Since everyone can walk, you do not have an excuse not to walk. Furthermore, while you can start running without being in shape (how else would you get in shape for it anyway), it may be intimidating for someone who is not fit. Walking provides that more accessible level to start working on your fitness without the period of discomfort that many other forms of cardio require.

Secondly, since walking does not require you to be in shape, you can walk for a significant time. Exercise physiology defines an exercise activity sustained for two hours or more as an indefinite exercise. Walking should be an exercise that is possible indefinitely for almost everyone. It would be dishonest to say that walking for two hours is easy for people who may be inactive. It is possible, but it might be longer than you think. However, nobody said you need to walk for two straight hours. This paragraph is more of an example that you can walk for a significant time.

You can walk in most places. Personally, when I need to think, I like to pace. Pacing is a walking activity. However, if you do not wish to go outside to walk because of the weather or maybe you have anxiety about it, you can always walk around your house. Walking around your home like a madman is redundant if you have an exercise bike or elliptical, but it is an option. Also, if you have seen those workout videos where the instructor will have everyone walk in place between exercises, you can do that as well.

Walking is incredibly low fatigue. Some exercises are more taxing on the system than others. Walking is not one of those exercises. In most situations, going for a walk will not put you out of commission for the next couple of days like running can for a beginner runner. You can take a walk almost every day that you have time. If you ruck or participate in incline walking, you may be sorer than if you do regular walking. So, in this case, I strictly mean normal walking.

Walking is also scalable. Maybe you think walking is too easy, but you have no desire to start running. You can always do incline walking if you need something more strenuous. Higher effort versions of traditional walking can be walking up a hill or mountain (if you are into hiking), using stairs if you have them available, using the incline function on an elliptical, or using a stair stepper. There is another method called rucking. Rucking is walking with weight. So you have a weighted vest or weighted backpack and start walking. It is poignant that rucking can be hard on the body, so do not jump into it. Build into it with time.

One of the best things about walking is that walking pairs well with any other training method. There is a good reason bodybuilders will use walking as cardio instead of running. Since walking has so many benefits that I have previously covered, walking works very well with other training methods, especially if you are a strength athlete, whether recreationally or in an official capacity. Because walking is not fatiguing, at least minimally fatiguing, it will not add to the systemic fatigue that heavy or hard training will. It also can be done during rest days without interfering much with the recovery process.

Walking is underrated as a source of exercise. You can walk almost every day. Walking is low fatigue. You do not need to be in shape to start walking. Walking can be scalable. Walking is such a fantastic way to exercise. More people need to be open to going for a walk as exercise. I highly encourage you, dear reader, to start walking.



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Quentin Washington

Quentin Washington

I am an exercise physiologist and online fitness/nutrition coach. If you like what I write here, check out my website: