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How Far You Should Walk Every Day

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

The importance of walking everyday

Use walking to improve health

walking improves digestion

walking improves mood

walking improves blood circulation

walking improves mental health

walking improves circulation

walking improves immunity

Emma Najman, Physiotherapist, Fitness & Pilates Instructor & Yoga Therapist, daily walker
Emma Najman, Physiotherapist, Fitness & Pilates Instructor & Yoga Therapist, daily walker

Medical benefits of walking:

  • increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness

  • reduced risk of heart disease and stroke

  • improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes

  • stronger bones and improved balance

  • increased muscle strength and endurance

  • reduced body fat

How much time should I walk daily?

Regular bursts of CV exercise should be performed a min of 5-6 days a week for a min of 30 mins a day to counterbalance the effects of hours of sitting!

If you can't manage 30 min in one go break it up throughout the day. 30 min in one go is preferred as your body takes 20+ minutes to get into your fat burning zone so if you do aerobic exercise for only for 10 minutes 3x a day you miss out on this benefit.

Aerobic exercise includes walking, jogging, running, bike riding or swimming.

Pay attention to good posture while exercising.

Benefits of walking on mental health?

walking improves brain function

In addition to the physical benefits on the CV system, heart and lungs, & fat burning benefit, aerobic exercise is good for our mental health, producing endorphins, which reduce stress and anxiety and increase blood flow to the brain and oxygenation to improve your brain function and thought processes.

A good walk can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.

It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue. Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed, and staying active helps those who are depressed recover.

I walk 30 minutes a day minimum & I noticed this is the time I come up with my best ideas plus I feel less stressed and more in control.

Stretching is important as part of a walking program
Stretching is important as part of a walking program

How far should a person walk every day?

Walking is a form of low impact, moderate intensity exercise that has a range of health benefits and few risks. As a result, the CDC recommend that most adults aim for 10,000 steps per day . For most people, this is the equivalent of about 8 kilometers, or 5 miles.

5 Benefits of Taking 10K Steps a Day Besides Weight Loss?

  • Strengthen your heart

  • Store less body fat

  • Help stabilise your blood sugar

  • Improve your brain's performance

  • Reinforce healthy habits

Why is walking good for weight loss?

Physical activity, such as walking, is important for weight control because it helps you burn calories. If you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories a day. Of course, the more you walk and the quicker your pace, the more calories you'll burn.

Best time for walk for weight loss?

Walking first thing in the morning on an empty stomach is one of the best tips on how to naturally jump start and boost your metabolism. In addition to jump starting your day first thing in the morning, it also naturally boosts your metabolism which helps you burn more calories throughout the day, is the best way to burn stored fat, making it ideal for weight loss.

Walking and muscle building

Practicing brisk walking as a daily exercise routine builds muscle strength and endurance. After a certain age, your bones and joints start to degenerate. The best way to prevent that is by ensuring you work on strengthening your joints. Strengthen your bones by brisk walking regularly.

Can you build leg muscle just by walking?

Walking and running are great ways to build leg strength. However, over time, your legs become accustomed to the motion and eventually can hit a plateau. This could also limit your performance.

Strength training is recommended in addition to walking as the best method to build muscle strength and endurance as jogging and running can push there heart rate too high, breaking down muscle, causing muscle loss.

An example of squats used in strength training used in addition to a walking program to build leg muscles
An example of squats used in strength training used in addition to a walking program to build leg muscles

Difference between brisk walking and normal walking

Speed walking is walking at a brisk pace, usually 3 mph, (5 kmph) or greater. Your heart rate is elevated during speed walking. You can burn more calories this way than walking at your usual pace. Power walking is usually considered from 3 mph, (5 kmph) to 5 mph, (8 kmph), but some power walkers reach speeds of 7 to 10 mph, (11 to 16 kmph).

What is the difference between walking jogging and running?

Does walking burn more calories than running?

While walking, jogging and running require energy to transport the body over a given distance, running has higher energy costs and also produces the fastest physiological changes, In direct difference to walking and jogging running also produces an after-burn which continues to consume calories for some time after the end of the run.

From a fitness and health point of view we understand that:

  • We need to walk more frequently and twice the distance in order to get near the energy burn of running.

  • Jogging is more efficient than walking so at a jog we may burn fewer Calories than our top walking speed (though it feels faster).

  • Running is a constant challenge to the body and the harder we run the more energy we need to spend in order to maintain the pace.

  • Finally, our bodies continuously change and optimize and our running regime also needs to change accordingly in order to challenge us.

A running event to add challenge
A running event to add challenge

Is it good to walk 7 days a week?

Yes, a cardio 7 days a week fat loss program can help you lose weight. However, it depends on the intensity of the workouts. Surprisingly, a study published in the American Physiological Society Journal showed that a daily cardio program with lower intensity workouts was more effective than high-intensity workouts.

Should you walk 7 days a week?

To attain the full benefits of walking, aim to walk at least three days a week. In addition to walking, you should engage in other forms of exercise, including strength training, flexibility exercises, and balance exercises.

What are the side effects of walking too much?

  • fatigue

  • muscle soreness

  • muscle strain

  • joint pain

  • pain in knee(s)

  • pain in lower back

Start slowly and gradually build up your time and distance. Stretch and strengthen your muscles to avoid injury. Consult a Physiotherapist if you suffer with muscle or joint pain.

What cardio exercise should I do?

Make sure you are in your aerobic zone by calculating 220 - your age = maximum heart rate and staying between 50-70% of this.

This is called LISS cardio. Low intensity steady state cardio. You should be able to carry out a normal conversation whilst performing LISS.

The other type of cardio is anaerobic. Which is short bursts at 80 to 90% of max heart rate with a low intensity recovery periods called HIIT sessions high intensity interval training.

You could do HIIT sessions if you can't go out for 30 minutes due to lockdown or time shortage.

Even 7 mins has been shown to have a positive affect on heart and lung health and fat continues to be burnt for hours after the session ends.

Approach HIIT sessions with care if you are not used to high intensity exercise.

Check with your GP first & avoid if you suffer with heart issues.

If you are not used to HIIT sessions start gently at a lower HR and buildup with shorter intense exercise periods and longer recovery periods.

HIIT sessions can make you feel nauseated don't do after a recent meal!

Pick your move exercise & goal, commit to a daily plan & get started TODAY!

Emma Najman, Author, Physiotherapist, Fitness & Pilates Instructor & Yoga Therapist, daily walker
Emma Najman, Author, Physiotherapist, Fitness & Pilates Instructor & Yoga Therapist, daily walker

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