Is walking exercise?

Prompted by a discussion in the mini-rants thread, I’m curious about people’s take on walking as exercise. I’m of the opinion (being an avid walker) that walking is indeed exercise, and not only exercise, but an excellent form of exercise for many people. It’s free (beyond a good pair of shoes), it’s convenient, it’s good for you in many ways, and most people can do it from whatever fitness level they’re starting at.

The arguments against it is that it isn’t official exercise, and it doesn’t get your heart rate up enough unless you’re power walking. Since I live on a hill coming home from walks both ways, I beg to differ with that idea, too.

What do all y’alls think?

ETA: Forgot my other argument, that getting butts off couches is always a good thing.

It add muscle tone and improves circulation, both of which are exercise goals.

Brisk walking is exercise, plain and simple. It may not reach the heart rates of running but you can reach a rate that improves fitness.

Strolling(like in a store) is not unless you’re on your feet for hours but you still won’t improve cardiac function by much, if at all.

The point is, you need to make an effort to make it work.

It’s more exercise than sitting on your ass watching TV, so I say it counts.

It’s most definitely exercise and quite beneficial. It is of limited intensity, and there are some benefits from higher intensity workouts, so it may not be a complete exercise program for all people.

Of course it is. Whoever say it’s not is wrong.

Great exercise that practically everyone on earth does. It’s the exercise we are all built to do and only recently have stopped doing.

After decades of dieting (not eating when I wasn’t hungry) and binging (eating when I wasn’t hungry) I cured my problems by spending a year eating whatever I wanted AND walking outside at least an hour every day. If walking isn’t exercise, I’ve spent the last two decades not exercizing at all whatsoever.

I am an avid walker as well. I would never that it’s *excellent *exercise, but I do think that it’s worthwhile.

“Walking” has entered the German language recently to distinguish exercise walking - with a brisk stride and usually a pair of sticks (sometimes called Nordic Walking sticks) - from normal walking (spazierengehen, gehen). * I assume this is what you mean with power walking?

Talking personally, power walking was akward for me, not only learning the coordination for new moves, but also too much impact for my knees (one of the main reasons why I don’t jog). So now I take normal walks - if the weather is nice in summer, the people’s sport club offers a choice of 5, 10 and 20 km walking through nice scenery, and an incentive to get out there.

Speaking more generally, yes, non-power-walking = normal walking is very low cardio; but also better than doing nothing.

Many doctors and exercise booklets recommend taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking normally (not strolling, but not power-walking either) 20 min. a day as a minimum. Also, doctors like normal walking as a way for obese or otherwise handicapped people to start low-key exercise and build slowly the cardio.** After several weeks, the person can gradually lenghten the time of walking, and graduate to brisk walking, to slow jogging.
If joints or hearts can’t go beyond a certain limit, then 20 min. walking outside is still a good chance to get fresh air and sunshine (in addition to special calibrated aerobic, calistenihics, Tai Chi etc similar exercise).

  • The happy coincidence that the fashion industry can now sell a whole new line of equipment of special shoes, special sticks, special t-shirts, plus offer courses to teach the correct method, has surely nothing at all to do with the increased marketing hype. surely not! :slight_smile:

** In one humorist book (Pratchett or Adams? That kind of style) the author commented on “overweight, undertrained men of 40+ who try to commit suicide by heart-infarct by trying to jog for 30 min. from zero”. That’s why you should always consult with your doctor before starting rigouros exercise when you’re no longer 20 years old and fit.

I do think it is exercise, and the more briskly you walk the better. If you do it outside you get fresh air, sunshine, and lots of interesting new things to see… I bet that holistically, that’s a damn site better for you than using an indoor piece of exercise equipment that gets your heart rate higher.

Having said that, running outside is even better exercise.

It’s better than nothing, certainly. However, it only works a certain, small set of muscles, and only so much.

I got office jobs after college, and turned sedentary. I can walk for hours at an easy pace, but if I need to run I will become winded almost immediately. I’ve been working very slowly at getting various muscle groups more used to exercise else I tend to ache for days after an exercise session.

It also does practically nothing for the upper body.

I would recommend it for the sedentary person who wishes to start being active, but it’s not a huge calorie burner unless you’re walking very long distances.

I lost 160 pounds (and have maintained it) simply by walking briskly and at a 15% incline. Obviously it CAN burn calories.

Of course it’s exercise! :confused::confused:

It’s one of the primary forms of exercise recommended by physicians and physiotherapists for people trying to become more active and people trying to recover from injury.

Who thinks it isn’t exercise?

I said in the pit thread that there is a difference between the physical activity necessary for most people to live their life (walking, washing dishes, going up the stairs in your house) and exercise, which is a planned activity to strengthen/exert yourself outside your norms. However it’s certainly best for your health to get the most activity you can - we know for instance there are better outcome from moving a lot at a low level than there are for being mostly sedentary with infrequent high exertion.

I think my opinion is shaped by the fact that I walk (and stand a bit) for 10+ hours daily most of my week - that’s just how I live my life. ‘Exercise’ is when I run, bike, do yoga, lift weights and it’s what makes a difference in my body, strength, endurance. Walking is just what I do to get places and do my job.

I suppose anyone’s definition of ‘exercise’ has mostly to do with your base level of fitness.

I can attest that simply walking at a normal pace for 30 minutes every day can bring down glucose and BP numbers by a significant amount.

(bolding mine) Somebody who’s running from the cops has likely not planned to exert himself in such a manner but is no doubt getting exercise anyway. :smiley:

I guess I object to “planned” and “outside your norms.” For some people moving around all the time IS a norm, but it’s still exercise, in the sense that they’re burning off calories, experiencing an elevated heartrate, working muscle groups, etc. Outside those two objections, I concur with your post.

Not only is walking exercise, but it’s the exercise that my cardiologist has prescribed for me. A minimum of 1 hour every day, rain or shine.

Both ways.

I guess it’s a matter of how (un)fit you are physically.

For me, exercise is when I’m getting sweaty and/or my muscles ache. The “no pain - no gain” syndrome. I don’t get that from ordinary walking. A day’s hike in hilly terrain can marginally be regarded as exercise. Simple walking, like an hour or two along a park/forest path or along the road, isn’t exercise to me, it’s activity. Valuable, yeah, healthy, yeah, but it’s not exercise. OTOH, if you live a very sedentary life, even getting your butt of the sofa for half an hour’s walk a day is infinitely better than potatoing in front of the TV.

I guess my views are slightly influenced by the fact that I still regard feet and bicycles as transportation aids, not as sports paraphernalia, and I don’t drive my kids everywhere. They’ve got feet, they’ve got a bike each, and for longer hauls, there are buses.
BTW: IMNSHO, “power walking” and Nordic walking (with poles) looks downright ridiculous :smiley: