Is Walking Enough Exercise?

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According to The New York Times the average American walks 5,117 steps per day.  But are those steps enough?  Walking might be considered commonplace, but with the right amount of discipline it can reap worthwhile health benefits.   And while it might not be the most rigorous, walking is ideal for all ages and fitness levels.   It can also easily be paired with a  friend, good music or your current audio-book, making it both effective and potentially fun.

How walking is exercise

According to MET research A 160 lb. person walking a mile burns roughly 91 calories.  Of course, the faster you walk, the more calories will be burned.   And while 100 calories may not seem like a lot for a mile, it can add up quickly considering it’s an activity we do daily.

If you walk effectively, it can be a whole body workout, even though it seems like your legs are doing all the work.  For example, as your feet and legs carry you over the ground, your torso works with each stride.  Your arms also swing and, probably most importantly, your heart pumps.  According to, “The natural swinging motion of your arms engages the muscles of your shoulders and chest.  In ordinary walking, this movement is subtle, but you can increase your upper body workout. Bending your arms at a right angle at the elbow and swinging them from the shoulder increases your pace and activates the upper body muscles. Another approach is to use walking poles, which engages the arms, shoulders, chest and ab muscles while providing stability and reducing stress on the knees.”

use this guide to help you turn walking into exercise!

walking for exercise

How much do I need to walk for it to be considered exercise?

The physical activity guidelines recommend that Adults (19-64 years old) should walk 2 ½ hours each week.   This can be a goal that you build up to.  Start your walking system steadily.  This is a process you can apply to each session as well; gradually increasing pace will allow your body and cardiovascular system to keep up.

Walking is a great exercise for those just starting down the path to health and fitness.  As you develop a healthy walking habit, you can also increase the duration and intensity to your comfort level.   Use walking as a stepping stone to help push you to the next level!  Of course, Sole provides in home treadmills that can be a huge asset on turning walking into exercise.  Please feel free to view our current offers here.

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