Walking is an often overlooked activity, with a lot of people believing that due to its low impact nature, it is more suitable to the elderly and not worthy of doing as part of a regular fitness routine.
Yes, it is a low impact activity and therefore this does naturally make it suitable for older people along with those who are perhaps at the very start of their fitness journey as well as those who are maybe recovering from illness or injury. But why should that automatically mean it should be discounted from everyone else who doesn’t fit into these categories?
When you walk, you always have 1 foot on the ground throughout, hence why this is considered low impact compared to running, when there is a split second of neither feet being on the ground. There is a much lower force therefore going through the body as you move forward, meaning that there is less chance of an injury.
Walking is a weight bearing exercise which means it’s excellent for building and keeping a strong bone density. This can help prevent osteoporosis and is particularly important for ladies who have gone through the menopause and oestrogen levels have dropped.
A good brisk walk is also perfect for burning calories, and is a fantastic leg and bum toner if done regularly. Compared to running, we often take longer strides when walking at a good pace which activates the glutes (bum) muscles more. When you run however, you quite often take shorter strides which can turn into a shuffle as the body fatigues and the glutes just aren’t activated as much. Throw in some hills as part of your walk and you’ll get those bottom muscles working even harder; hello Peachy!!
And lets not forget the mental benefits of a stroll; at this time of the year when it’s getting frosty and crisp, stepping outside to clear your mind after a busy day at work can do wonders for your sanity and stress levels. Likewise walking to work in the morning can invigorate you and set you up for the day without causing you to be a completely sweaty mess by the time you arrive!
So if you’re feeling particularly stressed out at the moment or wondering how on earth you’re going to fit in a gym session, why not just take it outside and walk instead of getting the bus or taking the car? I promise you’ll feel better for it!