“Walking can be as good as a workout, if not better, than running,” says Dr. Matt Tanneberg, CSCS, a sports Chiropractor and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Phoenix, Arizona who works with elite athletes, to NBC Better. “You hear of people ‘plateauing’ when they continue to do the same workout routine and stop seeing results. I see patients all the time that plateau from running, they will run the same distance, speed and time, day in and day out. You need to constantly be switching up your exercise routine in order to get the maximum benefit for your health.”
Walking is a lower impact exercise than running, and it can be done for longer periods of time. Researchers found that “walking can have a significant impact on your health by lowering your chances of heart disease.”
When the weather is pleasant, consider moving off the treadmill to walk around your town or countryside. For beginners, it’s all about working up to 10,000 steps a day which is the preset daily goal on most fitness trackers because it’s considered a good target for heart health and weight maintenance. You can walk straight and steady and nail the recommended 10,000 steps a day, or shake it up a bit by:
- Hand & Ankle Weights – Incorporating two-to-three pound hand and ankle weights add strength training into the mix.
- Interval Walking – walk at an average pace for five minutes, followed by a much quicker minute of walking. Getting the heart rate up for the quicker walking turns the walking session into an interval session.
- Look for Hilly Landscape – Walking up hill requires more stamina and will burn more calories. Add some hill walking into the mix.
Most physicians recommend walking for at least 30 minutes five days a week but you don’t have to log a half hour all at once. When you walk for shorter periods, you can generally go at a faster speed, which may be even better for you than walking slowly for 30 minutes straight, since more vigorous activities can help increase your overall fitness level.
Whether it’s parking farther away, opting for the stairs versus the elevator or walking to meet a friend, all of these little successes help establish healthy habits.