For you as an avid athlete, perhaps you dedicate much of your time to venturing out into the great outdoors. In other words, you love nothing but the thrill of lacing up your athletic shoes and hitting the road for several hours, as well as several miles, of pure walking bliss.
Certainly, walking is a therapeutic sport, all the while being significantly less burdensome on the knees and joints associated with running. Walking, in fact, can tone your body just as much as running itself, at the same time being a calming, easygoing workout to look forward to every time.
That said, you might want to learn more about just how the art of walking can benefit you even more so than now, as well as see if there are ways to change up your usual physical activity to push yourself more. Our article here will give you all of the information you need to help you get started: we will offer statistics concerning calorie burn, muscles worked, and everything in between. We will also answer some of your frequently-asked questions to give you a better idea of what to expect in this sport. Soon enough, you will be well on your way to an even better walking experience.
With all of that said and done, let’s get right down to it!
Before we get started on discussing statistics concerning walking, we need to address just how walking can make you fitter and healthier than ever before.
True, we walk pretty much every day as part of our daily lives, whether from running errands to simply going to the refrigerator for a snack. Walking is such a ubiquitous part of us that sometimes, we forget that it actually benefits to do so.
That said, here are some reasons that walking can be good for you:
Just like with running or swimming, walking gets you into good shape, albeit at a less-intense pace compared with the two sports. It might take a longer while to see the results, but in the end, it will help you develop well-toned muscles that you can be proud to call your own:
Representing the back of the lower legs, the calf muscles are especially strengthened while walking. Particularly when it comes to more-challenging courses like uphill and uneven surfaces, e.g. sand, dirt, grass, your calves work harder than usual to keep you stable, thereby giving them definition in the long run.
As part of your upper-leg front muscles, the quadriceps work in tandem with your hip flexors to drive yourself forward during your walk. They conquer the resistance associated with force and gravity, eventually making you reach your end goal with relative ease and pride.
While they are technically part of your upper body, your stomach muscles get a workout, too. Especially if you are trying to retain good form while walking, you end up tightening those muscles which offer you stability and support, all the while helping you take it more air flow in the lungs to keep going. Not only that, but also you will look great!
Along with the hamstrings, your glutes also get a considerable amount of workout. They get especially toned when you brave uphill challenges, for you end up extending that muscle area to accommodate for the terrain change. Little did you know that walking can really sculpt your body, which is a plus to being healthy!
If you want to learn more about the muscles worked in walking, here is a video to check out:
Especially if you tend to have a history of injuries, walking is a great alternative to high-impact sports like running or skiing. For injuries like Achilles tendinitis that come with intense workouts on the trail or road, walking allows you to take it easy, all the while keeping you in shape as you recover. Trust us, your joints and muscles will thank you later!
With the constant rise of obesity and Type 2 diabetes today, it is not a bad idea to consider walking as an alternative to ease into getting healthy. Dieting is not the only solution to losing weight or preventing diabetes, respectively, but rather a balance between food and exercise.
That said, walking can help: again, it is easy on the joints and it is a less stress-inducing exercise which offers the same cardiovascular benefits as other sports out there. Walking is good for your heart, it lowers your blood pressure, and can even prolong the quality of your life! It is never too late to start walking for a healthier body!
Perhaps you view yourself as a clumsy, uncoordinated person who always seems to slip, drop, and otherwise get into minor blunders every day. While this is not to say that walking will make you perfectly graceful and poised, it can improve your sense of balance and coordination. Doing so will make you more confident in your abilities to get on with everyday activities and living.
Since walking is a cardiovascular sport, you will also receive the benefits of endorphins kicking in during and after your walk. Having endorphins boost mood, while also keeping you calm and inspired to do it again the following day.
Even further, walking can help you become more outgoing, especially if you have walking buddies to go with. Walking in nature can also reduce stress levels in the calming environment. Overall, walking is not just a matter of being a mere physical activity, but also a mental one as you will notice the changes in your mood and outlook on life.
Now that you have an idea of the quality of walking, it is time to look at the quantitative benefits of doing so. In other words, we will focus on how many calories you can burn from walking, so as to give you a better idea of what to expect when planning out your next workout regime.
However, the number of calories burned will greatly depend on a myriad of factors, including weight, speed, and gender. While we cannot give you an accurate count of just what you will burn, you can take our statistics as a general template for your own needs. Down below, we break down the statistics by miles, hours, and so forth:
For an individual at 140 pounds and walking at an average speed of 20 minutes per mile:
This will be based on weight (in lbs.) along with an average speed of 3 mph:
For a 130-pound individual:
If you are interested in personalizing just how many calories you will burn depending on your age, weight, and speed, this walking calorie calculator will be of good use to you: http://keisan.casio.com/exec/system/1350891527
By using this walking calorie calculator, you can also get an idea of how long it will take you to walk a certain distance, such as 2 miles, so you know when to pick up the pace.
Perhaps you have been walking for quite a while now, and you would like to change up your usual way of doing so. However, you might not be so sure just how to get started. There is no fear, though: our five simple, but effective tips will be sure to get you burning more calories and getting even toner in no time:
If you have been only walking on flat surfaces, then why not consider challenging yourself by adding some variation to it? In other words, you can choose to spice it up by incorporating some uphill paths or even some staircases to get the legs (as well as your heart) working even harder. Not only will they tone your calves and glutes even more, but also they will build resistance to any obstacle that comes your way.
For some sample incline workouts, we suggest adding in a quarter to half-mile of incline for each mile of flat-surface walking that you do. That, or you could add in a couple of flights of stair-climbing in between workouts on flat ground. Granted, it might be difficult, let alone strenuous at first, but over time, it will start to get easier.
Similar to the previous point, you can also give your walks a challenge by incorporating surfaces that are different from your usual flat concrete or asphalt roads. From things like unmown grass to soft sand at the beach to loosen dirt trails, you have a variety of options to choose from.
It is especially advised to start out slowly with these kinds of different terrains, since you might not be accustomed to them. It is necessary to gradually adjust, perhaps by alternating between concrete and dirt, or in gradients from concrete to grass to dirt or sand. You will also have to be particularly careful, since such terrains can be unstable, thereby causing potential twisted ankles or bad arches. In the end, though, they do a great job of toning unused muscles, as well as improving your balance.
Some people might not need this step-count device for their walks, but if you are aiming to improve your walking, then perhaps you might want to consider getting one in order to track the number of steps you do per day. Especially if you would like to increase the number of steps you walk, a pedometer can help you out.
If you are a relatively active walker, then maybe you might benefit from setting the 10,000 steps-per-day challenge, as many people have done so. This gives you the drive to take every chance to walk a reality, and soon enough, you will achieve your goal in no time!
Sometimes, walking by yourself can be very calming, even therapeutic. However, on the other hand, it can get old quickly. Too much of solitude walking can be boring, let alone unmotivating to keep going. That is why walking with people from time to time can be a great game changer, making you social while also keeping you inspired to continue walking.
It is simply a matter of reaching out to friends and family in the neighborhood, proposing a group walk every so often. This proposal also gives others a way to propose their own favorite walks which you might not yet have done, thereby allowing you to explore more of what the area has to offer.
Finally, it is a good idea to try out new paths and trails on your walks. Performing the same few routes every day can get boring fast, not to forget that they only work out the same muscles in your body, thereby creating a workout rut. Changing up the scenery, then, can make a difference.
Perhaps you can finally get around to that small dirt trail that had interested you for a while, or maybe you can simply go the reverse way of your usual route. In the end, it should be beneficial for you.
Overall, walking is an excellent, low-impact sport that yields plenty of benefits such as calorie burn and toned muscles. By starting today, you can ensure a healthy and happy lifestyle!
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