Have you ever wondered if walking can be considered a workout? If you have, then you’ll be happy to find out that, in certain conditions, walking does count as exercise. However, you will have to put more energy into it to reap the benefits a workout can offer you.
Live Science interviewed Brett Starkowitz, trainer and head of education at a chain of fitness studios in the United Kingdom, who stated that “walking falls under the category of endurance exercises, which are known to build slow-twitch muscle fibers; the fibers predominantly used for periods of sustained activity.”
So, how can you make your walk count as exercise?
While the 10,000-steps daily goal is a popular one, it’s meant actually to encourage walking as an endurance activity. Therefore, the secret to turning your walk into a workout is not a secret anymore. If you do it long enough, walking will become a type of physical activity that will enable you to benefit from all the good things you obtain after a proper workout. So, to make walking count, you should first make your walking sessions longer. At the same time, you should seek to increase your heart to about 60 or 70 percent of its maximum functioning capacity to reach what is known as “the fat-burning zone.” When you get to that optimal heart rate, you will also begin burning more calories, which can lead to weight loss.
A brisk walk usually trains the muscles in the lower part of your body, but also the muscles of your spine and abdomen. While it is an excellent workout for your legs and it can help you build strength in that area, walking can also help you fortify your back muscles. In order to achieve these results, Starkowitz recommends introducing hand weights or a weighted vest, which will enable you to maintain a good posture during your walk.
Lastly, another way to intensify your walking is by doing it on different terrain. Starkowitz noted that “walking on trails, roads, grass, inclined or uneven surfaces, or unstable ones like sand or gravel, will challenge the muscles of your lower leg, ankles and feet more than on pavement, and they’ll have to work harder to maintain balance and stability.”