Walking as Cardio Workout

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Laura Lajiness Kaupke, a freelance writer and editor, who covers health, fitness and other issues writes in this 2020 Women’sHealth article that walking can be a great cardio workout activity and all of us can make part of our daily exercise routine.

Referencing Steve Stonehouse, CPT, director of education for the running studio STRIDE, Laura explains cardio (also known as “aerobic exercise”):

Cardio – short for “cardiorespiratory” activity—refers to physical activity that relies on your circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen to your working muscles.

Any low- to moderate-intensity exercise is considered aerobic, which means you don’t have to go all-out to get a good cardio workout. In fact, you can reap the benefits without maxing out your muscles at all.

In the interview Stonehouuse told Laura:

  • “Cardiorespiratory activity can help improve heart and lung conditions—and it definitely doesn’t have to be a super-sweaty situation.
  • “There are many different training intensity levels that fall in the category of ‘cardio.’ With the right speeds and inclines, you could reach any of them with walking.
  • “Walking and running both produce many cardiorespiratory benefits. It’s important to train at different intensity levels for different lengths of time.
  • “Running is higher-impact and can present more overuse injury risks than walking. Running takes sound mechanics and the right gear, and often having a coach to help you along the way.
  • “Walking, though—which is lower-impact and less technical—is more forgiving (especially on your knees, ankles, and hips).
  • “Both walking and running will help you burn more calories. That said, if your running intensity is too high, there is a point at which your body may begin burning muscle for energy rather than fat.
  • “Two people could walk at the same speed and one may barely see an increase in their heart rate while the other might be a sweaty mess. The goal is to get into your target training pace as quickly as possible—and then to hold that pace for as long as you can.

Making walk as cardio workout

According to Stonehouse to make walking activity as a legit workout, we have to find our walking intensity level. “Two people could walk at the same speed and one may barely see an increase in their heart rate while the other might be a sweaty mess. The goal is to get into your target training pace as quickly as possible—and then to hold that pace for as long as you can,” Stonehouse told Laura.

Following are Stonehouse recommendations for the beginners:

  • Walk only: 15 to 20 minutes (working up to 30 to 40 minutes), 3 to 5 times per week.
  • Walk and run: 20 minutes (alternate between 2 minutes running and 3 minutes walking) 4 times per week, working up to 30 minutes (alternating between 4 minutes running and 2 minutes walking) five times per week.

In this Washington Post article, Linda Searing writes that adults with daily 3 to 4 miles walk often lower heart diseases.