Don’t get me wrong, walking is good for you. Any movement is good for you! It’s good to get up, step outside and get your body moving. Walking can even have some great mental health benefits as it allows you time to collect your thoughts as you step away from distractions. But don’t be fooled, a leisurely walk alone is not enough to improve your fitness level. Have you heard of power walking? Work some power intervals (speed) into your walk to get the most health benefit.
The ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) and the AHA (American Heart Association) have issued recommendations for physical activity and health. These recommendations specify moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (where you’re slightly winded) for a minimum of 30 minutes 5 days per week, or vigorous activity (where you experience periods of breathlessness) for a minimum of 20 minutes 3 days per week. In addition, according to ACSM and AHA, every adult should perform muscular strength and endurance activities a minimum of 2 days per week.
Bottom Line: For someone new to exercise, walking is a perfect first step. But in time you’ll find that walking alone is not enough to improve your cardiovascular endurance and overall fitness unless you add some power into your step. In order to achieve the most benefit from physical activity, adults need to increase their level of exertion multiple times per week, stepping out of their “comfort zone.”