Researchers have discovered that moderate exercise, such as walking for 40 minutes three times a week, can enhance cognitive skills. Specifically, the exercise can improve the connectivity of important brain circuits, mitigate declines in brain function associated with aging and improve performance on cognitive tasks. —
Walking is one of the simplest but also one of the most underrated exercises for fitness. An average person walks at least 2000 steps per day, but for exercising, you should walk at least double that number or 4000 steps a day.
It may look easy at first glance, but there are proper ways and techniques on how to integrate walking for fitness or weight loss. Brisk walking is a moderate-intensity cardio exercise that burns excessive fats. The pace is different for each person, depending on your age, height, weight, heart rate, and fitness level. It can be from 13 to 20 minutes per mile and can improve as you get used to it.
Heart Rate Level
In walking for fitness, you have to be aware of your heart rate level, particularly your maximum and target heart rate. Your heart rate level will determine the range you can do and the intensity level that fits your fitness plan.
1. Resting Heart Rate
It is the number of your heart beats per minute when at rest. For most, the normal count is between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM). Lower resting heart rate means better conditions of the heart muscles.
2. Maximum Heart Rate
Your maximum heart rate is the difference between 220 and your age. In the course of walking, this should be the highest BPM of the heart. It is highly recommended to exercise within 55 to 85% of your maximum heart rate.
3. Target Heart Rate
Once you get your maximum heart rate, you can now calculate your target heart rate. If you’re new to walking for fitness, you can aim for a lower range of your target zone and gradually build up your pace. You can use an online calculator to get your desired target heart rate.
Speed And Warm-Up
Getting into the fitness zone will require you to walk a certain speed. To walk faster, you need to have a good posture, proper back-and-forth arm movement, and rolling through each step. Having a good posture will also help you walk easier and breathe better.
Here’s a guide on walking intensities and the speed you need, depending on your fitness zone.
- Health Zone: 120 steps per minute or a 20-minute mile
- Weight Loss Zone: 135 steps per minute or a 15-minute mile
- Aerobic Fitness Zone: 150 steps per minute
Moreover, it is essential to do warm-up exercises before walking to avoid sprains and accidents. You should stretch your body and do at least 30 seconds on five warm-up moves such as ankle circles, leg swings, arm circles, jumping jacks, and pelvic loops.
What Do You Need?
1. Comfortable Shoes
Invest in a comfortable and appropriate pair of walking shoes. Running shoes is also alright if walking shoes are not available. Find a shoe that bends easily through the ball of the foot. Avoid shoes with high tops or elevated wedges.
A digital pedometer would be your best companion in your walking journey. It records your steps and converts them into miles. Some pedometers also estimate the calories you’ve burned based on your given data.
Calorie intake is only one part of the weight-loss process, and if physical activity monitoring showed very little activity, it would explain why the pounds were coming off so slowly. — Judith J. Wurtman Ph.D.
When walking outside, always observe safety and watch the traffic around you. Always walk on sidewalks or the left side of the street. If wearing headphones, it is better to use only one earpiece so that you can stay aware of the traffic and the noises around you. Wearing reflective gear is also recommended so that you can remain visible to drivers.
Knowing these tips will help you reap the health benefits of walking for fitness. Find a routine that suits you, and enjoy the journey.