Fitness & Health Benefits of Walking!

Coach Casey · June 18, 2021

Many people when thinking about exercise, especially endurance training, discount the vast benefits of walking. There are numerous fitness and health benefits of walking that often are overlooked or even looked down on. What some see as simply a form of recovery or “active rest” can in fact be as beneficial to your overall health and fitness as going for a run, bike ride, or long swim! 

Not a runner? No problem! Just now returning to a consistent fitness routine? Great! Looking for a great way to get aerobic exercise with low injury-risk? Perfect! Walking done right is exactly what you need. There are a multitude of aerobic benefits to walking and it’s an excellent element of an overall healthy lifestyle!

There are numerous fitness and health benefits of walking!

5 Fitness & Health Benefits of Walking

1. Proper Form/Mechanics

Walking generally, and especially walking with presence of mind, can greatly increase your mechanical awareness and form. No matter what your fitness goals, or activity of choice (lifting, cycling, running, swimming, etc.), having proper form is key. In order to avoid injury and maximize your fitness development and performance you need to be sure that you have the right posture, efficient movements, and overall great mechanics. Walking is an excellent opportunity to perfect those things. By slowing your overall movements down you have more opportunity to focus on the intricacies of each step, each arm swing, etc. Walks aren’t just casual strolls. They’re opportunities to improve your overall movement economy and in turn provide incredible fitness and health benefits.  

2. Mental Health

Mental health, especially in an effort to avoid the dreaded “burnout,” is incredibly important for all people, Olympians and those just starting their health and fitness journey. Forming and maintaining healthy habits that take care of your mind and body could not be more important. Walking is a perfect activity that serve to aid both your mental and physical health. Taking the time for a walk, in nature specifically, has been clinically proven to improve your mood, boost your creativity, and can serve as active meditation. Walking for as little as 30-60 minutes, 5 days per week can produce great fitness and health benefits over time. 

3. Strength Building

Don’t discount the incredible benefits of walking when it comes to strengthening key lower body muscles. Calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes are all used and strengthened regularly when walking. Building muscular strength via walking also comes with vastly decreased risk of injury or overuse muscle strain. By walking consistently over varied terrain, including hills, your body will begin to establish muscular fatigue resistance which can translate to all other physical and exercise activities. The fitness and health benefits of walking extend far past what you may expect, especially when it comes to creating a stronger, more sustained foundation of fitness.

Walking has a number of health and fitness benefits!

4. Aerobic Endurance

Walking is great aerobic conditioning and endurance training for all people. As you can walk for significantly longer than you can run or even swim, your body’s energy system can spend more time working within an aerobic zone with low-impact. This in turn will help increase your lung capacity, boost overall energy levels, and decrease stress. Professional endurance coaches and athletes, former Olympian Jeff Galloway for example, effectively teach the value of focusing on distance covered in exercise versus how quickly that distance is completed. This approach allows all people the opportunity to gradually and safely build up to high levels of aerobic capacity. 

5. Injury Prevention

Walking is by nature a low-impact activity. This means that despite walking for miles and miles a day, your body will not take on the same amount of stress or strain as even running a small percentage of that same total mileage. This make the fitness and health benefits of walking all that more important for people at higher injury risk. Whether you have a history of overuse injuries, have an underlying health condition, or simply don’t want to risk injury, walking is perfect. The low-impact of walking also allows for more consistency on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. Since your body won’t need as much recovery time in between long walks you’re able to keep those legs moving and that heart pumping for more days in a row. As we know, consistency in health and fitness is key!

Are you looking to get moving and stay motivated with a consistent walking routine? Charge Running is the perfect place for you! Partnering with Prevention Magazine, the Charge Running app will feature two walking classes each day to help get you continue or get started with your health and fitness journey! Featuring the same engaging, live, professional coaching as all of Charge’s runs and workouts, these classes are free and open to all! Join us and get in those steps. #WalkingCounts 

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