Is walking a complete exercise? Here's what experts have to say.

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Is walking a complete exercise? Here's what experts have to say.


Physicians and fitness experts world over recommend walking as an exercise whether you are a beginner or like to maintain a healthy lifestyle without rigorous workout. However, how much of it is true? Can walking be a complete exercise? Let us have a look at what the experts have to say about it.

Is walking a complete exercise?

Emmanuel Stamatakis, a professor of physical activity, lifestyle and population health at the University of Sydney, says that people have taken up strolls around the neighborhood and in nature to pass the time during the pandemic. 

“Regular walking has all the standard benefits of aerobic exercise, such as improvements in the heart and circulatory systems, better blood glucose control, normalization of blood pressure and reduction of anxiety and depression,” Stamatakis says.

Harvard researchers have found that older women who walked at least 4,400 steps a day had a much lower risk of dying prematurely than those who were less active.

If you can walk independent for half an hour per day at a speed of 4-6 km/h (2.5-3.7 mph), then walking is sufficient exercise, believes Kevin Netto, associate professor at Curtin University.

If one is to begin an exercise regime without much stress then a low intensity workout like walking is good, brisk walking is categorized into moderate-intensity exercise. It is recommended that adults should indulge in 150 minutes of daily brisk walking activity to enhance cardiovascular health.

How walking impacts your body?

Each body part is impacted in a different manner when it comes to walking, this is how:

  • Building muscles- Brisk walk is a complete exercise and works your muscles in a gentle manner. Stretching and improving your body poster, helps in relaxing your body and release endorphins.
  • Legs and thighs- These are the most impacted, next your calves, glutes that are strengthened when you take a nice walk. Your quadriceps stretch, hamstrings, knees, femur all fold, bend and stretch in the right manner.
  • Abdominal muscles- Contrary to popular belief that only legs are impacted, studies have shown that your abdomen too is engaged while walking, it strengthens your abdominals. Additionally, your body maintains its balance while walking positively impacting your abdominal muscles.
  • Heart- Walking is a moderate exercise that helps in racing your heart just the right level to keep it fit.
  • Upper body- when you are engaged in taking 100-120 steps/ minute you engage your upper body, swinging your arms and torso too are engaged. The movement of upper body including your back is strengthened and your back becomes stronger.
  • Improved sleep- Taking daily walking into your routine helps in inducing better sleep.
  • Bone strength- Walking along with taking stairs and adding light weights to your walking routine helps in strengthening bones and prevents bone loss and bone related diseases.
  • Calorie loss-  Walking helps in losing calories, for instance a person weighing 140-pound taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes, will burn 127 calories.

How much is enough?

If you are wondering where to begin with brisk walk then it is essential to follow the advice of your physician.

Next what you can do is to begin with a brisk walk session of at least 30 minutes that shall be your fulfillment for a cardio exercise as recommended by health experts world over.

Your intensity shall be moderate that should keep you challenged but also be gentle to your body at the same time.

There are numerous ways you can track your steps daily, as many might have heard that doctors and research on fitness advice you to take at least 10,000 steps daily for greater health benefit.

While there is another school of thought where some experts argue that even if a sedentary lifestyle person takes at least 7,500 steps daily that much of a threshold is enough to keep them fit.

What to do prior to brisk walk?

Ensure that you let your breakfast settle prior to taking a brisk walk. If you intend to take a walk immediately after waking up it is better to hydrate then begin.

In conclusion it is always better to first consult your physician regarding taking up a walking routine, it depends highly on your joint condition and age factor plays a big role. Nonetheless, anyone who is willing to include walking as an exercise in their daily routine, can always go for a gentle walk.

Medical Disclaimer: The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. Patients and consumers should review the information carefully with their professional health care provider. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. You should consult your physician before beginning a new diet, nutritional or fitness program.