As you probably know, walking is a low-intensity form of exercise. Of course, this doesn’t mean it can’t help us reach our health goals. On the contrary, going for a 30-minute walk each day can have extraordinary health benefits. Not only from a physical perspective, but mental as well.
If you want to take things a step further, you can try brisk walking. This is a great way to boost your workout routine and reap additional rewards. Brisk walking is easy, doesn’t require special skills or special equipment. Of course, you can’t do it wearing high heels or uncomfortable shoes. A good pair of sneakers will do the trick.
Keep on reading to see what exactly is brisk walking and how it can positively impact your health and wellbeing.
What is Brisk Walking
Brisk walking is a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. As opposed to walking, which is considered a low-intensity activity, brisk walking involves a faster pace.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a walking cadence of 100 steps/minute is regarded as a moderate-intensity activity. At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) evaluates the range of a brisk pace between 3.5 and 4 mph.
Brisk Walking Technique
In order to really reap the benefits of your brisk walks it’s advisable to follow some basic guidelines. For example:
- Always keep your head up and your eyes forward
- Maintain your back in a straight position; slouching or leaning forward may put stress on your back muscles
- Keep your neck and shoulders loose and relaxed
- Roll the foot from heel to toe
- Swing your arms back and forth in a natural way
Additionally make sure to check out this list of walking mistakes to avoid.
Does it Burn Calories Effectively?
The calories burned by brisk walking can vary significantly, depending on a series of factors. These include your weight, age and gender, your pace, as well as the duration of the workout session. A 165-lbs (75 kg) adult, walking for 30 minutes, will torch a different amount of calories depending on the walking speed. For instance:
- Walking at a moderate pace of 3 mph (4.8 km/h) will burn 123 calories
- Walking at a brisk pace of 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) will burn 142 calories
- Walking at 4 mph (6.4 km/h) will burn 187 calories
As the results clearly show, the faster you’re able to walk, the higher the number of calories burned.
Physical and Mental Benefits
Brisk walking can help you improve your health in numerous ways. This is a type of exercise that can generate positive changes to your body, but it’s not limited to physical benefits.
Going for a brisk walk can also boost your mental health. A research conducted by Public Health England showed that a 10-minute brisk walk each day can have a truly positive influence on people’s health and can lead to an improved quality of life.
Here’s what you should expect if you can integrate brisk walking into your daily routine:
- Improve cardiovascular health. Medical studies have shown that walking for 30 minutes at least five days a week can keep your heart healthy and reduce the risk of various heart conditions. There are findings suggesting that an increase in your walking pace can reduce the risk of death caused by cardiovascular disease.
- Lose weight faster. Engaging in a moderate-intensity activity like brisk walking on a constant basis can help you effectively lose weight. As you’ll walk at a faster pace, you’ll be able to burn more calories in comparison to normal walking. At the same time you’ll get rid of body fat in a quicker way and get to build lean muscles.
- Reduce your blood pressure. A regular aerobic workout such as brisk walking can be truly efficient in lowering your blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise, done 3-4 times a week, can reduce your blood pressure, as well as the values of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol).
- Keep diabetes under control. There’s evidence that, going for a brisk walk, can help you prevent and control insulin resistance, prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. It’s mandatory though to walk on a regular basis, not every once in a while, and to mix aerobic training with resistance training to get optimal results.
- Strengthen the bones and muscles. Walking in general, as a weight bearing activity, is great for bone health. Picking up the pace is even better. Walking at a faster pace will aid you not only maintain your current bone density, but also build new bone cells. At the same time it will also help you strengthen your muscles.
- Improve your mood. Walking has proven to be an efficient method to boost endorphins, reduce stress hormones and ease depression. A study conducted by the University of Mississippi demonstrated that a 10-minute bout of brisk walking and meditation had a direct positive influence on the mood of the participants.
- Better brain health. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, may improve the brain’s structure and functioning. Medical research has shown that engaging in aerobic workouts can increase the hippocampal volume in older women with probable mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
How to Track your Progress
Being able to keep a record of your walks can be of aid from different perspectives. First of all, it will give you the opportunity to know exactly how much you’re walking and how active you are instead of underestimating or overestimating your performance. At the same time, you’ll be able to follow you progress along the way, understand where you’re coming from and take pride in your fitness accomplishments.
In order to keep track of your walking activity you can opt for various devices. You can use a fitness tracker or fitness band if you’re willing to pay the extra money, to remember to charge it and always bring it with you when you exercise. At the same time you can easily download a pedometer app on your phone, just like our own ActivityTracker. You’ll receive all the fitness data you need, from the number of steps taken and the distance covered to the calories burned and total active time. You’ll also get to set your own goals for extra motivation and permanently watch your progress, including on an hourly basis.