Walking provides long-term health benefits for those who stick to their routine. A regular walking routine lowers your blood pressure, prevents cardiovascular disease and helps you maintain weight loss after dieting. You can walk on the treadmill inside or walk outside to breathe in some fresh air. After 60 minutes of walking 3.5 mph, a 254-lb. person burns 280 calories. Step up the pace to 4.5 mph and the same person can burn 460 calories per hour, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Novice Fitness Enthusiasts
Walking is an ideal exercise for novice fitness enthusiasts. This low-impact cardiovascular exercise elevates you to higher levels of fitness with regular practice. Safe and simple, walking does not require special training or expensive equipment, but you do need proper walking shoes. Walking is good for children, adults, the elderly and your pets, making it an ideal family activity. Add some hills to your walking routine to intensify your cardiovascular workout and tone your leg muscles.
Walking is good exercise if you want to maintain your current weight. Individuals who used a walking routine and ate a healthy diet maintained their weight successfully, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee and published in the December 2008 issue of "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Walking at a 4 mph pace every week for 150 minutes, as reported by the committee, causes a modest 1 to 3 percent weight loss. This low percentage of weight loss translates into maintaining the same weight over a long period.
Lower Blood Pressure
Walking is a good exercise to lower your blood pressure as concluded after a systematic review of randomized-controlled studies conducted by the School of Nursing at Tzu Chi University in Taiwan and reported in the December 2010 issue of the “International Journal of Nursing Studies.” Of the 27 studies reviewed, nine used walking successfully to lower blood pressure. Reviewers found successful studies tended to have a larger number of participants who walked at a moderate to high-intensity for a long intervention period.
Cardiovascular Disease Prevention
Walking is good exercise for the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, according to a review of large observational studies conducted by the Department of Arts Education and Physical Education department of Mary Immaculate College in Ireland and reported in the September 2010 issue of the journal, “Current Opinion in Cardiology.” It benefits healthy men and women as well as patients with health conditions. Participants walked more using pedometers than without them.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Further Evidence for the Benefits of Walking; Miriam E. Nelson, et al.
- International Journal of Nursing Studies: The Effect of Walking Intervention on Blood Pressure Control: A Systematic Review; L.L. Lee, et al.
- Current Opinion in Cardiology: Walking, the First Steps in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention; E.M. Murtagh, et al.
- Harvard University: Walking: Your Steps to Health