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10 Reasons Why Walking Is The Best Exercise

Published January 31, 2019 (Revised: May 14, 2019)
<article> <section> <p>The key to a good life is putting one foot in front of the other-to keep chugging along until you get where you want to be. As nice as this is as a metaphor for life, it turns out that putting one foot in front of the other is also a pretty darn healthy activity.</p> <p>We’ll be the ones to say it-walking is highly underrated. People flock to gyms to lose weight, never considering that perhaps the most effective fitness activity is available to them right outside their doorstep.</p> <p>The benefits of walking include weight loss, improved mental health, and better markers like reduced blood pressure. Plus, and we can’t overstate this enough, it’s the simplest (and cheapest) activity out there.</p> <p>Let’s look at ten reasons why walking is the best exercise.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>1. It Starts Your Day Off Right</header> <p>Walking first thing each day allows you to collect your thoughts about the day ahead. Many people use their walking time to think through what they expect to do during the day and to prioritize what needs to be accomplished. By using the time expended while walking for day planning, many people find that they get a lot more done throughout the rest of the day.</p> <p>Many people do like to use their walking time to think through what they expect to do during the day and to prioritize what needs to be accomplished. By using the time expended while walking for day planning, many people find that they get a lot more done throughout the rest of the day.</p> <p>Even a short walk of fifteen to twenty minutes can set your mind, body, and spirit up for what’s to come.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="fire-0067"> </picture> </section> <section> <header>2. Walking Burns Fat-And More Than You Might Think</header> <p>These days, people think the only way to burn fat is to do a <i>HIIT</i> (high-intensity interval training) workout. Obviously, we agree-many of our workouts<sup>1</sup> have HIIT built into the foundation of them.</p> <p>But that isn’t to say other forms of exercise aren’t useful for burning fat as well. In fact, because walking is low-resistance and low-intensity, it’s one of the best ways <i>to</i> burn fat. One study found that walking sixty minutes a few times per week expedited significant decreases in body fat and BMI<sup>2</sup>.</p> <div class="sub-head">But It’s Just Walking… How Do I Burn Fat?</div> <p>Here’s an easy way to think about it: pretend your body is a fire, and just like a fire, your body needs fuel to keep running.</p> <p>A HIIT workout burns body fat like a fire might burn up a bunch of twigs. Your body is doing high-intensity exercise and the hormonal response to the exercise helps to burn off excess fat.</p> <p>Walking burns fat, just in a different way-the exact opposite. By keeping a low to moderate heart rate but still burning calories, your body is able to burn off fat more slowly, kind of like adding one big log to that fire. Sure, it will take longer for the fire to burn out, but you can: a) train longer without getting tired, and b) combine it with high-intensity exercise to burn off more fuel.</p> <p>Even though it <i>feels</i> easy, walking burns significant calories (Heathline estimates 233 calories per hour<sup>3</sup> even at the slowest pace). Combined with a good diet like keto, you can easily lose weight faster by adding a few walks into your routine<sup>4</sup>. Easy does not mean it’s not effective.</p> </section> <section> <header>3. Promotes Recovery After Workouts</header> <p>One advantage to the non-strenuous nature of walking is that there is no recovery period. Whereas with weights you need to let your muscles rest after a tough training session, walking can generally be done every day (unless you go on a long hike, for example-then you might take a day off).</p> <p>Some studies show that walking actually helps <i>promote</i> recovery<sup>5</sup>. For the same reason surgeons recommend walking to patients recovering from an operation, walking helps your muscles recover from tough sessions.</p> <p>Walking increases blood flow to sore or strained muscles, helping to heal tissues quicker so you can get back in the gym. We’re sure you’re <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">supplementing with protein</a>, but walking will also help get you back in the game quicker.</p> <p>And if the sun is out, that’s a bonus! Vitamin D, which is produced by your body when exposed to sunlight, can help you add lean muscle, too<sup>6</sup>. Sun’s out, guns out.</p> </section> <section> <header>4. Walking is Meditation</header> <p>Seated meditation isn’t for everyone, and one alternative is to practice meditation or meditative breathing with movement. The science behind meditation is quite extensive, with studies showing that it reduces stress, blood pressure, and <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">inflammation-causing</a> cortisol, improves mental health, and can even delay memory loss in old age<sup>7</sup>.</p> <p>If you’re not keen on sitting for ten to twenty minutes per day, a good compromise is to practice meditation or mindfulness on your morning walk. </p> <p>There are many ways to do it: use a breathing technique such as box breathing<sup>8</sup>, count your breaths, or simply leave your phone at home and try to be more mindful of the natural world around you. The truth is, there is no wrong way to meditate, as long as you focus deeply.</p> </section> <section> <header>5. Contralateral Movement Does a Body Good</header> <p>We move our bodies in many ways when we exercise. For example, a squat or push-up<sup>9</sup> is known as a <i>bilateral</i> movement because both sides of your body are active at the same time working to do the same thing. A single leg squat, on the other hand, is <i>unilateral</i>, because only one side of your body is working.</p> <p>Walking, running, and sprinting is <i>contralateral</i> movement. This means one side of your body is going forward and the other is going backwards, forcing your core to stabilize, your torso to twist, and you to generate force through impact with the ground.</p> <p>Contralateral movement is natural to the human body, and we’d all do well for our cores and health to add more of them to our routine. Walking is a simple way to do that.</p> </section> <section> <header>6. Almost Anyone Can Do It!</header> <p>If you hang around <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made</a>, you know that we’re fans of keeping it simple-that going to the gym is not necessary to get results, and honestly, might do more harm than good for some people.</p> <p>Walking is one form of exercise that almost anyone can do. It’s free, merely requires a pair of shoes, and can be done almost anywhere.</p> <div class="sub-head">And If You Don’t Have Shoes. . .</div> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="feet-walking-on-street-yellow-line-0067"> </picture> <p>We said you need shoes, but that’s not true. In fact, walking barefoot offers plenty of benefits on its own. Your feet muscles get healthy because balance and <i>proprioception</i> (spacial awareness) improve and your lower legs get stronger<sup>10</sup>.</p> <p>There’s even some research that says walking barefoot helps connect you to the earth, and that can be beneficial, too. Called <i>earthing</i>, the idea is that contact with the electrons found in soil can actually lead to physiological benefits for our health<sup>11</sup>.</p> <p>If you try barefoot walking, we recommend you pick a nice, clean surface like the park. And of course, be careful where you step.</p> </section> <section> <header>7. An Activity That Boosts Your Mood</header> <p>It’s long been established that exercise boosts mood, improves emotional health, and can even fight off symptoms of depression or anxiety<sup>12</sup>. Don’t forget that walking does, too!</p> <p>Whether you’re dealing with stress from the day or being proactive about your mood or mental health, a short walk can help alleviate symptoms of stress, lower blood pressure, and reduce cortisol. </p> <p>One psychological study found that even a short walk before doing a <i>dreaded activity</i> puts you in a better state of mind to get the task done<sup>13</sup>. Remember this the next time you get called for jury duty.</p> </section> <section> <header>8. Perfect for Adjusting to The Keto Diet</header> <p>The <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">ketogenic diet</a>-our solution for helping people <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">lose weight</a> and <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">transform their bodies</a>-takes some adjusting to. Reduced energy, brain fog, or even symptoms of the keto flu can bug you as your body transitions from a carb-dependent to a fat-burning machine.</p> <p>While you’re adjusting to keto, intense workouts might not be possible (or at least, enjoyable). A short walk, on the other hand, will help you start burning fat quicker. It may even reduce some of the negative symptoms of keto adjustments by increasing blood flow and alleviating muscle tension.</p> <p>At least one study suggests walking is the <i>best</i> form of exercise keto dieters can do<sup>14</sup>. <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Our programs</a> might have something to say about that, though. . .</p> </section> <section> <header>9. Walking Helps Prevent Disease</header> <p>We’ve already made a compelling case for why walking is the best exercise, but did you know that it can prevent disease?</p> <p>The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends even twenty minutes of walking a few times per week, citing that it can prevent heart disease, diabetes, and forms of cancer<sup>15</sup>. They also say that walking requires no gym membership, expensive equipment, or special skills. As you already know, we agree.</p> </section> <section> <header>10. Improves Cholesterol and Blood Pressure</header> <p>Walking is healthy because it improves vital markers we use to measure health. A brisk (three to four miles per hour) walk helps reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and improve heart health<sup>16</sup>. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="silhouette-of-man-hiking-pink-sky-0067"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Why Should You Walk?</header> <p>For so many reasons, walking is something we believe in and recommend you do as often as you can if you want to get healthy and lose weight. Seasoned exercisers and keto diet newbies will benefit from this low-intensity, highly-efficient contralateral movement.</p> <p>As the science shows, it doesn’t have to be much. Even ten to twenty minutes a day can improve your mental health, boost your mood, shed excess pounds, or help you heal from a tough workout.</p> <p>Walking is <i>the</i> underrated healthy habit that might be missing from your routine. That being said, you should set aside time to do a few workouts a week. If you need easy at home workouts and exercises to help you get even faster results, learn more about our <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made Workouts</a> here.</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Warrior Made</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Dose-response effect of walking exercise on weight loss. How much is enough?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">How Many Calories Do You Burn While Walking?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Walking Burns Calories</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">10 Ways To Improve Your Recovery After Surgery</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">High levels of vitamin D may improve muscle strength</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Box Breathing</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Does Walking Barefoot Have Health Benefits?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">How to do perfect squats and pushups</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth's Surface Electrons</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Walking Can Lift Your Mood, Even When You Don't Expect It To</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">8 Things You Need to Know About Exercising On the Keto Diet</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Why Walk? Why Not!</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Walking Helps Lower Blood Pressure</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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