Does walking count as exercise? This is a question that is thrown around a lot, and according to Dr. Schlomo Schmuel of California, the answer to this question is absolutely. As a practicing Podiatric Doctor for over 20-years and owner of the multiple Sunset Foot Clinic locations, Schlomo Schmuel is an expert when it comes to the health benefits associated with walking, as many of his patients visit for walking related pain. Dr. Schmuel took the time to outline exactly why he states walking is an excellent starting point for those looking to jumpstart their healthy lifestyle.
Did you know the recommended amount of exercise per week for a healthy adult is about 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise? If that seems like a huge amount Schlomo Schmuel suggests to consider this: 300 minutes broken down into seven days is just 45 minutes a day of walking, or an hour per day if you take a rest twice a week. When broken down, 300 minutes of exercise weekly is very manageable for even the busiest of individuals.
Walking is actually great exercise and a good way to begin your journey to get in shape. Walking is a low-impact activity, which means it is easier on the body than jogging, cycling, or running; and it doesn’t require expensive sports equipment or gym memberships to begin. And yes, if done consistently walking can help get your heart pumping and your muscles working, which is what you need to do to burn calories, reduce fat, and get in shape.
The Next Step
To really make a positive impact on your overall health, you need to walk at a brisk pace that raises your heart rate and gets you to that goal of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. If you can’t complete 30–45 minutes of walking at one time, break it down into smaller 10-minute increments throughout the day. Start your morning with a quick walk around the block, add another around lunch time, pick up another 10 minutes after work, and finish with a walk around the block again after dinner.
This level of exercise at least 3–4 times weekly can increase your lung capacity, improve the transfer of oxygen into your bloodstream, and improve your overall health and wellness. For added benefits, consider an aerobic walking workout by increasing from an easy pace after 5 minutes, to a brisk walk for 30–45 minutes, and then an easy pace to cool down for 5 remaining minutes.
Even if you can’t move at a brisk walking pace, Schlomo Schmuel says a slow walk still improves muscle and joint flexibility, strength, and overall fitness; while minimizing the stress to your knees, hips, and ankles. This type of consistent exercise can slow joint deterioration and improve energy levels over time.
A Greater Challenge
If you have a treadmill or a gym membership, you can take advantage of walking inside in hot or cold months. But even if you don’t, you can still add walking to your schedule everyday to improve your health, burn calories, and meet your weekly exercise goals.
If you work in an office, Schlomo Schmuel says to take a few minutes each day to get up and out from behind your desk and walk around the office or take the stairs whenever possible to add to your daily step total. Schedule a walking meeting or meet colleagues at a coffee shop 10–15 minutes away from your office rather than right next door. There are many ways to add “steps” throughout your day — be creative!
You can also add a fitness tracker to the mix to help you track your progress and provide some additional daily reminders and motivation to stick to your summer fitness goals!