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Is Walking Exercise? Is It Enough to Get You in Shape?

Can YOU get in shape simply by walking enough steps each day?

Elderly woman going for a walk outside with her dogs

You might've heard some people going around saying that walking in itself is great exercise, and that it's all you need to do in order to get in shape and be fit & healthy.

Maybe they've told you that if you can hit your 10,000 steps a day, you'll have that slim, fit body you've always been dreaming of.

But is that really true?

Can something as simple as walking REALLY be enough to get us in shape?

We'll fully cover that in detail in this article, so stick around.

Is Walking Exercise?

Well, it depends.

It depends on where you are on the scale of fitness.

You see, while walking is technically a form of physical activity, it's simply not hard enough, or not challenging enough for it to be sufficient exercise for most people.

It doesn't get the heart rate going fast enough, nor does it provide enough of a challenge for our muscles to grow.

However, walking certainly IS exercise if you fall into a couple of very specific categories of people.

Walking is Exercise if You're Very Inactive

If you're the type of person that is extremely inactive, we're talking less than 4,000 steps a day, and you don't do any sorts of other physical activity like playing a sport or weight training, then walking is most definitely going to be considered exercise for you.

For people that are completely out of touch with their health and fitness, and are extremely inactive, walking is a great way to slowly ease your way into fitness and exercising, before eventually moving on to harder, more challenging forms of physical activity.

Walking is easy, it doesn't take up too much time, it's free, and is generally a great way for inactive people to get started with exercising.

If you actually do reach your 10,000 steps or more each day and you're in this category, walking is certainly a great, easy and accessible form of exercise for you!

However, it's important to keep in mind that there's no shame in this if you think you fall into this category.

Remember, as long as you're consciously and actively making efforts to bring about positive change into your life, you're doing great.

Large woman doing exercise with yoga ball

Even if you don't start out doing absolutely everything you can, that's fine!

The key is to simply get started.

Walking is Exercise if You're Very Overweight

We said earlier that walking isn't challenging enough for most of us to be considered proper and sufficient exercise.

However, if you're very overweight, and walking is somewhat difficult for you or it gets your heart rate going on a regular basis, then it certainly can be a form of exercise for you.

Whether you're active or not, if you're very overweight, and you feel that walking provides you with some sort of a physical challenge, then it's also a great place for you to start in terms of easing your way into fitness and exercising.

If You're Not Extremely Inactive or Overweight, Walking is NOT Sufficient Exercise

Chances are, if you're not extremely inactive/out of touch with your fitness, walking is not difficult for you at all.

You'd have to walk miles upon miles at a time in order to achieve any sort of physical challenge for yourself in terms of muscular endurance or cardiovascular fitness.

This means walking is not challenging enough for you to be considered adequate exercise.

Even if you hit your 10,000 steps a day.

It might get you moving, sure.

But it doesn't get your heart rate going fast enough, and you simply won't get enough of a challenge out of it in order to be able to get in shape.

It would simply be incorrect for you to claim that you exercise regularly, and then tell people you walk a lot when they ask you what you do.

So If Walking Isn't Enough Exercise, What Should My All-Inclusive Workout Program Include?

Don't get me wrong, walking is a great form of baseline exercise that you should be doing everyday.

Every day, you should be aiming for roughly 10,000 steps a day. That would be plenty.

On top of that, you should aim to add a couple of other things as well.

More Difficult Cardio Exercise

Man doing intense cardio exercise on the bike machine

On top of walking, you should try to include some sort of more difficult cardiovascular exercise at least 3 times a week into your workout program.

This could include a 15 minute run, a 5,000m row, swimming, or higher intensity stuff like sprint and spin-bike HIIT workouts.

Whatever floats your boat, but try to include tougher, more challenging cardio exercises at least 3 times a week.

This is going to help you drastically improve cardiovascular health and fitness, which brings a plethora of wonderful benefits that you can read about here.

Regular Weight Training

In conjunction with regular cardiovascular exercise, regular weight training hitting each muscle at least twice a week is going to lead to increased bone strength, muscle strength/size, improved metabolisms, and overall further improved health.

You can choose to run any viable weight training split you want, but make sure you're training properly.

And don't worry if that sounds broad, you can read all about it here.

Learn more:

To Wrap Things Up

Depending on where you stand on the fitness scale, walking can either be a great form of exercise to start out at, or simply a baseline form of physical activity that only forms a part of your holistic fitness regime and workout plan.

No matter where you are, it's important to get your steps in each day so that you can enjoy the health benefits of regular, sustained exercise!

If you've got friends or family that you know of who could benefit from either walking more, or implementing more things into their workout programs outside of just walking, don't forget to kindly spread the knowledge, or share them this post!

Do YOU think walking is exercise?


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