As much as walking helps you to shed those extra kilos, it also tones your body and shapes you well. Says fitness professional Althea Shah, “If you are looking out for an exercise that will shape your body, especially the lower half, there is nothing better than walking.”
Good for beginners
If you are new to the world of exercising, walking is the best form. You will not feel the pain of working out, yet lose weight. But do not expect a drastic weight-loss, because walking doesn’t ensure you that.
Improves muscle endurance
Walking is good for your muscles especially because when you are walking, all the muscles in your body contract. You might feel a little pain when you start off because your body is not in the habit of exercising, but keeping up with it will definitely give you results.
Good for cardiovascular health
Those endless hours spent at the gym will drain you for sure, thus if you are looking at an exercise that will take care of your cardiovascular health, walking is ideal.
Brisk walking is considered to be the best form as opposed to walking at a normal pace. However, if your knees don’t permit you to walk fast, walking at a good pace will surely give you the much desired benefits.
Tones your butt and thighs
Says fitness professional Sagar Pednekar, “The ideal way to tone your butts and thighs is by walking as fast as you can.
Walking fast will tone your glute muscles. However, if you set a comfortable pace, you will not feel the pressure. Speed up slightly each time you hit a low. During your walks, remember to squeeze your butt to a count of ten.”
Increases supply of oxygen to your body
If you have been feeling breathless or have breathing issues, walking should be your motto. Though other forms of exercise also help increase the flow of oxygen in your system, walking does it better. This is because you are out in the fresh air, helps your lungs function smoothly .
Power walking for weight loss
For weight loss, indulge in power walking.
This is a fast-paced walk, which burns the same amount of calories while you are running or jogging. For this, you need to keep a brisk pace at moderate or high intensity .
Does not lead to injury
Since this is a low-impact workout, walking does not pose the same risk of injury as opposed to working out in the gym or running. People of all age groups can walk –in fact, it helps in tissue-cleansing for those in their 50s and above. Walking is also better for the spine than running and it puts less stress on your disc.
What you need to have
A pair of good walking shoes: A pair of good walking shoes is required before you step out. Look out for a low and supportive heel that will help you walk better. Also, choose a shoe that fits properly and be sure that your toe has enough room in the toe box.
Loose walking gear: As much important as it is to have a comfortable pair of shoes, the right walking gear is crucial. Wear loose, relaxed clothes that will leave enough room for air to circulate while you are walking.
How much should you be walking?
Most people, at times don’t know how much time they should invest in walking and end up either walking too much or too less, thus not reaping any results. According to fitness experts, one should walk for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, if not more.
Walking for different age groups teens and 20s
Since this is the time you can exert yourself the most, an hour-and-a-half of walking will give you the desired results.
Make sure that you are wearing a comfortable pair of walking shoes that will help you walk at a fast pace. Merge your walking with running or jogging in between. People in this age are prone to other habits like high alcohol intake, smoking, low vitamin D and calcium intake, and prolonged inactivity, which can all reduce bone density .
30s AND 40s
This is the time when you need to concentrate on the pace of your walking.
Brisk walk but make sure that you take ample amount of rest in between. Start by walking at a slow pace and then slowly pick up speed. Again slow down for a few minutes and then fasten up again.
An hour of walking should give you the desired results. This is the time when women cope with motherhood and people reach the peak of their career. So walking as a form of exercise is the best.
50s and above
Bone mineral density falls with age. So you need to make sure that you are walking as much as possible so that your joints do not get stiff. Don’t walk for more than half an hour. Make sure that you walk at a comfortable pace and don’t exert yourself too much. Walking in short intervals will also benefit you. If you don’t get tired too easily, try jogging in between your walks. This will increase your metabolism and keep you fit.
Good for your spine as well
Dr Garima Anandani, spine specialist says, “Walking as an exercise nourishes the spinal structures and facilitates strong circulation, pumping nutrients into soft tissues and draining toxins. It also increases flexibility and posture -walking along with regular stretching allows greater range of motion, helps prevent awkward movements and susceptibility of future injury.”
(Inputs by Dr Gautam Shetty, orthopaedic surgeon)