Why Walking Is Good Exercise

person walking in sneakers and jeans

The other day, I heard an exercise instructor say that walking isn’t really exercise, and it upset me. There’s no reason to disregard any form of physical activity as not “difficult enough.” Walking is good exercise.

Is walking good for weight loss or is going to the gym better?

Working out doesn’t have to be extreme to be beneficial, and, as it turns out, putting one foot in front of the other is harder work than experts previously thought.

This study shows that walking burns more calories than researchers had presumed for decades. I’ll remember that when I’m walking my dog, Lucy (pictured below)!cockapoo's face

Any movement burns calories, including working out at the gym. So which is better for your waistline? That’s hard to say.

Adding more walking to your routine may help with weight loss and prevent weight gain. In addition to burning calories, which may mean easier weight control, walking has other, surprising health benefits.


Read all about how exercise alters gut health for the better


Why walking is good for mental health

Brains shrink with age, which is not good news for memory, judgement, and coordination.  Research from the UCLA Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh links any type of aerobic exercise, including walking, to a better brain structure and reduced risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

I don’t know if my brain is expanding when I walk the dog every day, but I do know that it gets me out of the house and away from my desk, and that the rhythmic motion of walking reduces my stress and clears my head.

Lucy is small, but she needs to exercise every day. That’s why I log at least 10 miles a week of walking outdoors and in all kinds of weather. I try to remember that walking in nature changes your brain for the better, especially when Lucy and I are walking in the rain or when it’s snowing!

man and woman walking in winter

How to return to exercise or start a walking routine

I love to walk, and there’s no doubt that it’s good exercise. If you haven’t been working out lately, walking is a step in the right direction.

Start slowly and work up to at least 30 minutes on five days a week. Walking briskly offers more health benefits.

Walkers who have been doing the same loop for a while may want to take walking up a notch to make it more challenging.  Round out your walking routine with at least two sessions of resistance training, such as a weights or bands class, each week.

Now, where are my sneakers?

woman with backpack walking on a road in fall pinterest graphic

13 Comments

  1. Love this post! Walking is certainly better than sitting! I also find that even when I don’t plan to, when I take my dog out for a midday walk I tend to figure out problems or have ideas for blog posts. So it indeed exercises my legs as well as my brain.

    P.S. Hooray for calling them “sneakers”! You know you’re from the east coast when… My hubby, an LA native, calls them “tennis shoes.” Drives me nuts!

  2. I love that walking is so much more than exercise! It is time to think, time to relish nature, time to nurture a relationship, and/or time to listen to music or a podcast.

  3. MacLean ojwang says:

    I have used walking as workouts for as long as I remember and I have managed to maintain 68kgs and an 42 yrs looking and feeling like a teenger.it has worked for me ever since plus aerobics

  4. Great post! Walking is the perfect exercise because we can do it anywhere, anytime without needing to learn a new skill. Thank you so much for this great post and for linking to my book Walking Off The Weight For Dummies!

  5. Pingback: Surprising Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight with Exercise | Better Is the New Perfect

  6. Pingback: How to Reduce Stress During Social Distancing | Better Is the New Perfect

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