Is Walking Good Exercise? The 4 Benefits of Walking You've Been Overlooking
When I work with clients I often support them on incorporating exercise into their lives, helping them to find ways to move their body. We may have little control of the people and events around us, but we can control how we treat our body. By taking care of ourselves we are able to build a strong healthy body, ready to weather the storms that life inevitably throws at us.
During these sessions with clients, I often recommend walking as a great place to start, and for some, this brings up the question.... 'Is walking even exercise?'
As a previous Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor (knee surgery changed the direction of my own wellness journey…) I know that exercise is the absolute cornerstone for anyone looking to achieve their very best level of health. But the best type?
Like anything, it all comes down to what feels good for your body.
Exercise (and life) always comes down to balance
Whilst exercise can become as complicated as you want to make it, the simplest way to know if what you’re doing is good….is to listen to your body.
If your body feels energised and recharged after exercise, that’s your body’s way of letting you know it’s a happy camper! But, if you feel like you need to sleep all afternoon after a mornings training…. well it’s most likely not the most supportive exercise choice.
The wrong type of exercise can hurt your health
I absolutely love high intensity training, mostly because of the way my body feels after. I feel like I could fly with the natural high it leaves me with.
However, in the past when I’ve suffered from a high degree of stress, this type of exercise can leave me feeling completely drained. Perhaps you can relate?
If you’re suffering from high stress or adrenal fatigue, high intensity exercise could cause some serious harm to your health. It can place additional stress on those adrenal glands of yours. And this my friend is not good.
Exercise is not created equal.
My first choice is always walking… yes walking
Is walking even exercise I hear you ask?!
I know, I know, walking may seem like a complete cop out, but trust me when I say walking is packed full of benefits, many of which you may be completely overlooking.
Walking is good exercise and here’s why:
Walking helps you burn through excess fat: brisk walking allows your body to burn fat at a steady rate. You’ll also be less likely to feel depleted at the end and therefore not tempted to snack on those sugary foods afterwards…
Walking will make you fitter. Yes truly. Regular walking at a brisk pace builds your aerobic capacity (a fancy term which means your ability to move oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and to remove any waste). Overtime a higher aerobic capacity allows your body to work more effectively and efficiently. Double thumbs up!
Walking helps detox your body at every step. Unlike your blood which has your heart as a pump to move all those nutrients around your body, your lymphatic system (which helps to rid your body of toxins and waste) relies 100% on your body movement to work. So get moving!
Walking is also low stress on the body, and helps you manage other life’s stresses. Getting out walking will help you to process your thoughts and gain a different perspective on things. It’ll help you ‘get out of your head’. It’s also a great time to listen to podcasts and gain inspiration in your life.
How much walking should you do?
Just like everything in life, there is no one size fits all approach because we are all so different. But you do have the perfect person to let you know what’s too much - you! So make sure you’re listening to how your body feels.
To help get you going and as a starting goal, aim to walk 30 minutes 3 times a week. If this feels too much, you can break that 30 minutes into two x 15 minutes blocks which you can spread through the day.