Is walking an hour a day enough exercise?
Yesterday I decided to catch up to the person that was walking ahead of me. I was on my daily brisk walk to the train station. Wow, boy did I get a work out and perhaps went a little too quickly!
So, let’s set the record straight now. A brisk work for 1 hour per day is enough exercise. It will count as a workout with a few tips which I have found really kick the walk up a notch. I will share what I have found out to be useful to me with you below. Brisk walking has proved time and time again in research that I have read that walking an hour per day will help keep heart disease at way, it will help you lose weight, it will help you keep weight off along with so many other health benefits.
My walking journey has helped me lose weight, lose belly fat, tone up my bum and legs. Stopped aches and pains and helped me to get fitter. That has been my experience and I’m pleased to tell you that as far back as 1989 there has been evidence that walking has health and fitness benefits. this makes me feel good because I’m living proof of this research. Back then the study I read about followed 13,000 people for 8 whole years. They found that those who went for a brisk walk were SIGNIFICANTLY LESS LIKELY to die of heart disease.
There are many other studies out there that prove how effective an exercise walking is. Sure, they also have walking in the Olympics too! I guess what I’m saying is that my experience is that walking is a great exercise. Research also says its a great exercise. I do hope that you too find it a great exercise.
How long for brisk walking?
My brisk walk is 40 minutes walking to the train station. It can also be about 20 minutes at lunch time. So that is an hour a day. I have seen great results doing this from a lose in weight, getting fitter and more toned. I have also reduced the fat percentage of my body.
In the medical/fitness field there is a bit of debate surrounding this, but studies suggest that an hour of walking briskly is enough to get the many benefits of staying active. This makes me happy because it’s what I’m doing! There is also studies to suggest if you need to fit this in during the day, as long as it adds up to an hour then you will get the same benefits. Again this is what I’ve been doing and can confirm it is working for me.
A study carried out with more than 7,000 men who worked out in 15 minutes session were found to be as healthy as those who did their exercise in one long session. The study suggested it wasn’t necessarily the time split up but more the intensity level of the exercise. They suggested a moderate intensity for four days a week as the best option. Well this is great as I do my routine at least 5 days a week.
So the results of my walking has helped me with weight loss. That has happened with my 1 hour a day broken down in to two slots. I also walk in my fat burning zone too. How about doing this and see what results you get? If you’re not sure what zone you should be in, then head over to my blog post on fat burning which I have linked below.
Do this as much as 5 times per week if you want to get the most out of walking for burning fat as I have done.
My fave t-shirt! I do most of my walking Monday to Friday. I love the weekends and don’t put pressure on myself to do as much as I do during the week!
How brisk is a brisk walking pace?
Okay so the other day I think I went beyond brisk walking and was close to running. But that was my own fault as I was starting to get competitive and I didn’t want someone walking close behind me either! In terms of brisk walking, I have found that if I am slightly out of breath but can still manage to talk then it’s a brisk walk. I also find that if I have reached the train station on my way home and I’m sweating then it has been a brisk walk.
That is what a brisk walk is for me. Another way to think about it is to walk at a pace as if you are trying to catch a bus. It’s about the level you are exerting and not really your speed that you should consider. This means walking fast enough so you are slightly out of breath, but you can still hold a conversation. It’s walking fast enough that you cover a good distance in an hour. Another indicator is your heart rate which should be anywhere between 50 percent and 70 percent of your maximum. I normally check my Fitbit every so often to make sure I’m in the right zone. If you would like to know your maximum head over to this post to download a PDF on what your maximum heart rate would be.
Of course, it’s easy to see what heart rate you are working at with a Fitbit but if you don’t have one then use the slightly out of breath option above. Although your brisk walk is not about having the time to take a selfie, it’s about going briskly along your route. I normally concentrate so hard I don’t have time to worry about my phone unless I want to take a picture to my blog!
What distance will I cover walking briskly for an hour?
I have found that wearing my Fitbit is the best for getting you the information on the distance but if you don’t have one generally speaking you are likely to cover the following distance in 1 hour which I have worked out according to my stats:
- 3 – 4 miles.
- 6,000 to 9,000 steps.
How many calories will I burn in one hour of brisk walking?
Again a Fitbit will tell you how many calories you have burned. I do seem to be going on about this Fitbit. I know but it has been the best bit of equipment I have ever purchased. Better than all those other stupid pieces of exercise equipment that after spending years under the bed, ended up at the dump! Anyway, if you are walking a brisk pace you would probably burn any where between 200 to 600 calories per hour. The first 20 minutes or so of brisk walking would be burning sugars and then your body starts to burn fat.
Interested in speeding up your walking?
Would you like to increase your walking speed so you can manage a brisk walk? I’ve had a bit of experience of this and what I’ve noted below is what worked for me. I’m not going to get in to the ins and outs of the correct walking posture. Only you know what feels right to you. However below are some hints and tips on what I’ve found helpful and has helped me improve my posture and my speed.
- Standing up straight
- Not leaning forward (I looked at myself in a shop window a while back and had to laugh at how hunched over I was because I was trying to walk faster – I really felt it in my back too!)
- Keep your eyes glancing forward – don’t hang your head down (I find it helpful to pick a spot in front to look at although I still do glance down in case there is any dog mess on the ground!)
- Tuck in your bum by rotating your hips ever so slightly forward – a bit weird to start with but stick with it, it does get easier and helps so much as I have found.
Arm movement when walking is another way of helping you walk faster. I must admit to only doing this when I’m out walking at the weekend, otherwise it would be weird walking to the train station from work – especially as I have a handbag with me and often an umbrella! I also walk through a built up area and I honestly don’t want any weird stares!
- Bend your arms about 90 degrees
- Pump them as you walk (like marching on the spot)
- Make sure you move them forward and back – not side to side or at an angle
- Keep them close to your sides – so your elbows don’t stick out.
I’d love to know how you get on with these suggestions. Just let me know below.
The health benefits of walking
The health benefits of walking are numerous and you can read all about them here. While research has been done to prove these, I feel like I’d like to add my weight to the health benefits because I have experienced many of them. Another benefit which I didn’t touch on before is the improvement of your aerobic fitness. Aerobic fitness is how efficient your heart is at getting oxygen to your muscles and how effortlessly your muscles use that oxygen. I’m guessing that my aerobic fitness has improved because I am able to keep up with a brisk walking pace for a sustained 40 minutes and at the end of that time I feel I could go a bit longer too!
I’m considering improving my aerobic fitness even more so I intend to pick up the pace even further. As I mentioned, I tried this only yesterday and I was shattered by the time the walk ended. Sweating profusely but felt like I had just completed a great work out.
The great news is that walking briskly or even at a more vigorous level is sure to be beneficial and not to mention that walking at a brisk pace also helps you burn more fat. My fat levels have been reducing over the past while but you can read more about burning fat when walking just by clicking the link below to my other blog post.
There are so many reasons I walk and hope you decide to walk too. For me, I walk to lose weight, stay healthy and de-stress on my way home from work. Walking is so easy to do, you can fit it in to your daily routine, you don’t need expensive equipment – apart from a pair of good fitting trainers. And the health benefits are numerous.
The thing is that being unfit really does shorten your life span. So, walking is a great option especially as we age. Aging has so much going against it! One of the things that had me concerned before I started walking was my bones. As we grow older we lose muscle and bone density. Walking can help reduce that risk.
Another great reason to walk is that you can go at your own pace when you need to or when you are just starting out and then increase the intensity. You can opt for using weights on your wrists to add in a greater workout or use hiking / walking sticks too. Walking can be a challenging workout.
Walking is also convenient for me, I am able to fit it in to my daily routine or I can go out specifically. If you have a treadmill you can utilise that too if you don’t want to go walking outdoors. Walking can also be a social event. You can walk with family, friends, work colleagues or you can join a walking club. This helps reduce social isolation if you are on your own. I often walk with my son. He’s a teenager so doesn’t feel like communicating much. I find going out for a walk with him (even if it’s just to the shop) is a great way to catch up and see what’s going on in his life.
It’s important to point out that walking is easily sustained too. It’s something that we can continue to do as we get older and there isn’t as much chance of getting injured as there is with other exercises. I feel so passionate about walking that I hope you decide to take it up too. It’s a great way of keeping fit without all the hassle that other sports present.