Walking is an easy way to get exercise. Find out how much of it you need to get the health benefits.
Walking is getting a lot of attention recently as a great way to get fit. You don’t need to join a gym or buy any equipment to get started, and most people who live in the city have to walk most days anyway. But how do you know if you’re getting enough for fitness? The key to turning your daily walks into a real fitness routine is making sure you’re walking fast, far, and often.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, like fast walking, each week. This works out to 30 minutes a day on five days of the week. But what counts as “moderate exercise” anyway?
You can tell you’re hitting the mark if you’re walking fast enough to be a little out of breath. If you can speak but are too winded to sing, you’re walking at the right speed.
For most people, this pace is about three miles per hour. At this speed, you can walk one short city block in about a minute. You can meet the goal of 30 minutes a day by walking 15 blocks twice a day, as long as you walk quickly.
Another way to track your walking is by number of steps. You can track your steps by using a step counter app on your phone or buying a pedometer.
Many websites and fitness trackers recommend 10,000 steps a day. If this sounds like a lot, don’t be put off. The 10,000 number isn’t based on medical facts—it’s just used because it’s a nice, round number. There’s no magic number of steps when it comes to walking. The important thing is to push yourself to walk a little more every day.
The best workout is one that you can stick with and add a little to every day. If you don’t already walk often, start with a lower goal, like 10 blocks a day, and try to do a little more each week. It won’t be long before you’ll find you’re already stronger and fitter!
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Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
“How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed October 26, 2015.
“Measuring Physical Activity Intensity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed October 26, 2015.
“Knowing the Distance.” New York Times. Accessed October 26, 2015.
“The Truth About ‘10,000 Steps’ a Day.” LiveScience. Accessed October 26, 2015.