Is brisk walking an aerobic exercise? Suppose your idea of effective cardio involves long-distance running, high-intensity cycling, or a powerful aerobics class. In that case, you are right, but you want to omit a simple but effective activity.
Brisk walking can be done indoors or outdoors, at any time of the day or night, without needing a gym membership or a lot of special equipment. All you need for a brisk walk is a pair of comfortable shoes and motivation.
Is walking a suitable type of cardio?
Cardio is an abbreviation for “cardiovascular,” which means that it involves the heart (cardio) and blood vessels (vascular). Cardio is also used interchangeably with aerobics, which means “with air.”
A good fitness session makes your heart pump more robust and faster and moves oxygen-rich blood more efficiently to all muscles, organs, and tissues throughout the body.
You can associate all the blood-pumping action with running and wonder, “Is it cardio?” The truth is that any activity that makes your heart and lungs, as well as your large muscle groups, work harder can be considered aerobic or cardio training. A brisk walk does all these things.
What are the benefits of walking?
There are many benefits to walking in addition to increasing your cardiovascular fitness. A regular fast walking routine can help:
- reduce the risk of heart failure, stroke, and diabetes
- improve blood flow
- deal with high blood pressure
- improve cholesterol levels
- check blood sugar levels
- build stronger muscles and bones
- keep your weight under control
- improve your sleep
- increase your energy level
- improve brain function
- improve balance and coordination
Is it better to walk than to run?
Walking fast is considered moderate-intensity exercise, which in simple terms is defined as an activity that allows you to have a conversation but which is too demanding to let you sing. Running is, of course, a much more challenging activity and is considered a training session with solid intensity.
Walking and running have many of the same benefits. A study reported that walking and running led to similar risk reductions for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
You have to walk for an extended period to burn as many calories as possible and gain other running benefits. If you are not pressed for time or do not want to participate in a 10K race, walking may be a better option, especially if you have joint problems, injuries, or back pain.
Walking puts less stress and strain on joints and feet than running. A study from 2016 found that the influence of running is significantly higher than walking, whether you walk moderately or vigorously, which means that there is a lower risk of joint injuries when walking.