Healthy Living

Is Walking an Effective Workout?

Is Walking an Effective Workout?

Walking has many conveniences. As a simple form of exercise, walking doesn't require any expensive equipment or special routine. It offers a number of health benefits, including weight loss, lowering of cholesterol, reducing the risk of diseases, and it improves circulation in the body.

Many experts vouch for the fact that exercise doesn't need to be difficult to be effective in bringing change. If you just beginning, start with a short 20-minute walk per day, three times a week. You can gradually increase this to a 30-minute session, five times a week. Work on it gradually to improve speed, distance, and heart rate. The optimum heart rate for a good workout is approximately 70 percent to 75 percent of maximum heart rate. So, look at your ability to talk or chat with your friend. For the heart rate to be in the aerobic range of exercise, you should be able to chat briefly using six to eight words without stopping for breath. If the intensity is greater, try to tone it down, and if you are able to speak in one breath without any difficulty you need to improve the intensity.

You can sustain the motivation by using a pedometer that will help you to keep track of the number of steps taken. Just make a mental note of the activities done on the day when you made the maximum number of steps. Add the activities on other days too and improve the number of steps taken in a day. Walking with a friend or partner would help to sustain the routine. Maintain a walking journal so that you can track your progress in the workout. It will also help to keep a note of your own shortcomings.

If you are already into the routine of walking, you can improve the intensity gradually. Start to walk briskly to burn more calories. Pump up the arms while walking to make it more effective. Walking uphill and increasing the inclination of the treadmill are equally good. Walking with a heavy backpack or using a weight vest is also helpful.