10 Ways to Walk Your Way to Fitness and Health

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Walking is more than just a way to get around. Walking at any speed is a way to improve your fitness, burn calories, and reduce the health risks of inactivity. Walking the dog, walking in the park, or simply walking around your neighborhood at an easy pace keeps you active and healthy.

You get even more benefits for health, fitness and weight loss by walking at a brisk walking pace that puts you into the moderate-intensity exercise zone. You can learn to walk faster by using the right posture, arm motion, and stride. Experts recommend a brisk walk for 30 minutes per day, five or more days per week to reduce health risks.

How to Walk More Often

If you walk more each day, you will reap the health benefits of reducing inactivity and being more physically active. Walking can also enrich your life in other ways.

  • Explore your environment on foot. Notice what is going on around you and you'll find you never really walk the same way twice. There are always new things to see.
  • Find pleasant places to walk. Look for walking paths, greenways, and pedestrian streets to enjoy.
  • Bring along your family and friends. Walking together is a great way to connect with others.
  • Walk instead of drive for a few trips each week. Walk part of your commute to work or school. Leave the car behind or get off a stop early on public transit. Walk to the store for small items. You'll save money and have a purpose for getting in your daily steps.
  • Try a charity walk to raise money for a cause. Put your steps to good use.
  • Take a short walk break even if you're busy. If it's hard to work walking into your day, try a 15-minute walk on a work break, or walk during your lunch break.

Walk Your Way to Fitness and Health

Whether you are about to start a walking program or you've been walking regularly, everyone can benefit from using good walking technique and stride. Beginners should first prepare with the right clothes and shoes.

Next, build up your walking time and practice your technique. Many people walk on a treadmill for an indoor workout. Outdoors, you can hit your favorite trail and add fitness walking poles and enjoy Nordic walking, if you like. Use these strategies to walk your way to better health.

If you've been sedentary or if are managing a medical condition, consult your healthcare provider to find out if there are any precautions you should take.

Use a Brisk Pace

Walking can help you burn excess body fat. When you walk at a brisk pace, your body starts to burn stored fat to promote weight loss.

Stick to a Regular Schedule

Walking is good for many health conditions. Walking for 30 minutes per day, five times per week is recommended for people with arthritis and for people with diabetes. Regular walking is recommended to prevent or manage many health conditions.

Practice Good Form

Make the most of your walking workout by using good walking posture, arm motion, and foot motion. Avoid common walking mistakes to get the best results.

Wear Proper Shoes

You need the right walking shoes. While you can take a walk in almost any footwear, you will be able to walk better with flexible athletic shoes that fit well.

Consider a Fitness Tracker

A pedometer or fitness tracker can motivate you to walk more. Whether you wear a Fitbit or an old-school waistband pedometer, you will probably walk more if you are tracking your steps each day. If you log 10,000 steps per day, you are likely meeting recommended activity goals.

Trek to a Green Space

Walking can improve your mood, especially when you're outdoors. Taking a walk in nature such as a park, green space, or forest can help relieve stress and give you time to think more clearly.

Try Treadmill Walking

Treadmill walking provides a great workout. When the weather is not cooperating, you can still enjoy treadmill walking workouts and reap the benefits of walking.

Train for an Event

Races aren't just for runners. Many events welcome walkers, both swift and slow. You can train for a 5K (3.1 miles), 10K (6.2 miles), half marathon (13.1 miles), or marathon (26.2 miles) walk.

Walk With a Group

Walking with friends can be a social activity. You don't need a team to enjoy walking, but it can be a great way to connect with others if you wish to do so. Walking alone or with your dog is a good way to get in a quick workout or break away for a longer stroll, but you can also make walking friends or join a walking club.

Switch Up Your Workouts

You don't have to do the same walk every time. If you vary your speed and intensity, you can enjoy a variety of walking workouts and get more fitness benefits.

Next Steps

Once you've been walking more at home, work, or school, you might feel motivated to take a more challenging walk or start exploring on foot.

  • Plan a walking vacation. Getaways don't have to involve just sitting on the beach or the deck of a cruise ship. Add walking to your vacations and come back invigorated and refreshed.
  • Take a walking trek. You could walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain, walk across England or Ireland, or enjoy other long-distance walking paths.

A Word From Verywell

If you're new to walking workouts, start with a 10- to 15-minute walk and build your walking time and speed incrementally. Once that feels good, increase your time by a few minutes during each outing. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Any amount of walking at any speed is much better than just sitting around. Yes, walking is real exercise!

If you keep at it, you will experience the benefits of training. You'll be able to walk faster and tackle hills. What seemed impossible two months ago will be something you can do without stress. Take pride in knowing how far you can make it on your own two feet.

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  2. Koselka EPD, Weidner LC, Minasov A, et al. Walking green: developing an evidence base for nature prescriptionsInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2019;16(22). doi:10.3390/ijerph16224338

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