Walking is one of the most practical and inexpensive means of transportation. But did you know that you can use it to improve aerobic fitness, muscle endurance and body composition?
Sometimes we take walking for granted when it comes to fitness training. We say such things as “Everyone walks, so why aren’t we all fit?” But walking for fitness is a totally different beast. Compared to a stroll around the block, fitness walking is much more intense. It’s characterized by a longer, faster, more purposeful stride and arm swing with a almost doubled pace. This is done to produce more pressure on your whole body, additionally elevating your heart rate to a desirable aerobic condition level and maintain it throughout the session.
Are you suffering from joint pains, heart issues? Or is it stress? Anxiety? Believe it or not, walking might solve all of these health problems. Health-related fitness has a lot to do with cardio, flexibility, strength and endurance, which can all be improved and enhanced with a dedicated fitness walking program. In addition to being a safe, inexpensive and beneficial form of exercise, walking is simply just a really great way to develop and maintain your overall fitness.
Though no single form of exercise can develop total fitness, fitness walking engages your whole body like no other. And everyone can do it, too. There’s no reason for you to try it. Read on to find out about some detailed benefits walking can do for your fitness.
Improves aerobic fitness
Great improvements in aerobic fitness can be achieved when walking at a higher intensity – a level of intensity where you’re able to notice your breathing but still not yet tired or exhausted. Done at an optimal regularity, fitness walking can produce a wide variety of positive changes in your cardiovascular and respiratory systems, which are core aspects of aerobic fitness.
Among the long term benefits in regards to aerobic fitness are increased heart efficiency, stronger, more elastic blood vessels, decreased blood pressure, improved blood flow and lung function. These are all great benefits for people who want to “roll back the clock” or have heart issues.
As you become more aerobically fit, your body will also require less energy to function efficiently. You will take longer to fatigue the more you walk. This results in more energy for work and play, which is fantastic for those who have a stressful full time job but still want to enjoy weekends to their fullest.
In fact, many walkers have cited more energy and better mental health as their main motivations for keeping a committed fitness walking schedule.
Endurance is the ability to carry out activities for longer with less fatigue, as your muscles contract more effectively. When you first started fitness walking, you may get tired easily because your legs haven’t gotten used to such repetitive work yet. But as you increased the regularity of your fitness walking, this will improve, to the point that you can walk faster for longer without feeling tired as initially.
Our human body can adapt very well to certain situations and environments if forced to, and this is one of the prime examples of it.
Increases leg strength
Though walking is not a strength-based type of exercise, regular fitness walking does. Fitness walking puts constant pressure on your whole body throughout each session, but particularly on the lower body.
In order to see real strength gains and improved lower body muscles, it’s advisable that you try to challenge yourself more and more with hills, stairs, undulating terrains, or by simply carrying more weight, like a backpack or a pair of ankle weights. Reduced risk of bone disorders are also observed in those who walk regularly.
Walking itself doesn’t improve your joint flexibility unless done regular enough at moderate intensity.
Researches have shown that fitness walking can prevent knee issues or joint degeneration by increasing lubrication for your joints. Consider mixing with stretching exercises before and after your walks for even better improvements in flexibility.
Regular physical activity is a vital factor for weight gain prevention, and that includes fitness walking. Fitness walking helps improve the body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat. Walking everyday also increases your metabolism by burning extra calories while preventing muscle loss. This is perfect if you want a fit body rather than just losing weight.
Want to fit in those tight pants you bought a few months ago? Walk every day for a while. Want a model body? You might not get it, but start walking to see if you get close. Fitness walking is just great.