Is Walking Really a Workout?Posted: Feb 19 in Lifestyle and Activity by Staff
While experts and physicians often recommend walking as a great way for inactive people to ease into fitness, it’s hard to believe that something so simple can make a difference in your health and fitness level.
Are the benefits of walking really worth your time?
Absolutely. Regular walking can help you manage your weight, strengthen your heart and bones, and increase your mood and cognitive function. A brisk walk can actually provide almost as challenging of a workout as jogging!
One study performed at the University of Pittsburgh showed that overweight people who walked briskly for 30 to 60 minutes per day lost weight, even if they didn’t change any other lifestyle habits. Another study found that people who walked for at least four hours per week gained less weight than non-walkers as they aged.
Exactly how many calories you burn when walking will depend on how quickly you walk and how much you weigh. The more you weigh and the faster you walk, the more calories you’ll burn. Walking up hill and pumping your arms while you walk will also help you burn more calories. You can use these formulas to get an estimate of how many calories you can burn by walking.
- 3.0 miles/hour (20-minute mile): Burns .027 calories/pound/minute.
- 3.5 miles/hour (17-minute mile): Burns .033 calories/pound/minute.
- 4.0 miles/hour (15-minute mile): Burns .042 calories/pound/minute.
- 4.5 miles/hour (13-minute mile): Burns .047 calories/pound/minute.
In other words, if you weigh 150 pounds and you walk at a speed of 3 mph for 60 minutes, you can multiply .027 by 150 by 60 and find that you burned 243 calories.
Walking is really a work out. Keep your stomach tight, and try to flex your buttocks muscles with each step for added muscle toning. Pumping your arms is a great way to raise the heart rate, but don’t over do it. Try to keep your arms below the level of the heart, you will get the effect of raising the heart rate, and you will be less likely to tire too soon. Always remember you will build tolerance the more you exercise, so keep pushing yourself to go the extra mile.