Benefits of walking as an exercise

Learn more about the benefits of walking as exercise and how you can vary the intensity for the best possible effect.

Walk as exercise

Walking can be effective and a good alternative if you think jogging or running is too demanding. To get the best from walking, you can exercise walking that helps you vary the intensity.

Heart rate zones when you go for a walk

Exercising with heart rate zones when you go for a walk is not strictly necessary, but if you want control over the intensity when walking, exercising with heart rate zones can help.

To have complete control over the heart rate, you can walk with heart rate zones. Heart rate zones are the division of zones you can prepare, depending on what kind of training you perform. A rough division of zones can be low and moderate and hard intensity. When you walk, you rarely do that with hard intensity unless you walk fast in steep hills.

To calculate your heart rate zones, you need to know your maximum heart rate, and you can do this easily using this formula: 211 – (0.64 * age) (CERG, NTNU). This formula has a deviation of + – 11 beats per minute. For a more accurate measurement of your maximum heart rate, get it done at a gym or hospital that performs this type of testing.

The overview below is based on a maximum heart rate of 190.

  • Hard intensity: Zone 4: 144-156 (80-87 percent of maximum heart rate)
  • Moderate intensity: Zone 3: 126-144 (70-80 percent of maximum heart rate)
  • Low intensity: Zone 2: 108-126 (60-70 percent of maximum heart rate)
  • Very low intensity: Zone 1: 90-108 (50-60 percent of maximum heart rate)

When you practice easy walks, your heart rate will probably correspond to zone 1, with very low intensity. It can still vary, depending on your fitness level. For those in poor shape, the heart rate can reach a moderate intensity and perhaps even higher. It would be best if you alternated between going for walks where you have low to moderate intensity.

How to walk with best possible effect

Walking with the best possible effect can be easy. You need to increase the speed and vary with which trails you walk. It would help if you continued to do easy walks as usual, but try to add some new routes, and some of them can be a little more demanding considering how hilly they are. In such trails, the heart rate will naturally go up. Then you get the variation in intensity. If you’re going to vary the intensity with which you go on flat and easy trails, you can increase the pace in periods or the entire walk if desired.

Go for a walk as a exercise

Getting the best out of walking does not have to be complicated. Perhaps the biggest challenge lies in increasing the intensity. You can do this by gradually increasing intensity when walking. As you get in better shape, you increase the intensity and for how long you walk. Then you get gradual habituation both mentally and physically, with as gentle as possible development.

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