Is it possible to get fit from walking?
Many people believe that exercise means going to a gym or playing a sport. But does it? Can you actually get fit from walking? The short answer is yes, but it does come with some caveats. In this blog, we will discuss ways in which your employees can benefit from walking and the simple ways in which it can be achieved.
Walking as a form of exercise has many physical benefits and it has also been proven to have benefits for mental health as well. So how can walking be used to get fit? As with any aerobic (cardio) exercise, the aim is to increase the heart rate and brisk walking can increase the heart rate to around 110 to 120 beats per minute. A good gauge is that you can still talk, but would struggle to sing a song! Increasing the heart rate to this level for 10-20 minutes every day will give great health benefits.
Some people ask about maximum heart rate when exercising. The basic way to calculate personal maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. For example, if you’re 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 175. This is the maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise.
We’ve talked about the ‘Why’, but ‘How’ can your employees enjoy the benefits from walking?
It is important though to remember that no amount of walking will help you get in shape if you continue to eat unhealthy food. If you start to make healthy food choices and do brisk walking every day, before long you will start to see results.
To get the full impact from walking, for the benefit of getting fit, interval walking is advised. This involves a gentle warm up walking pace for 3-4 minutes, then 10 minutes walking at a brisk pace, then the pace is reduced again for 3-4 minutes before speeding up again to a brisk walk for another 10 minutes. This is recommended for an hour five times a week.
Walking, however, doesn’t involve all muscles so including some weight training as well will help to keep upper body muscles in shape. For example, once fitness levels have increased and you are able to complete 3-4 miles walking in 60 minutes, try wearing a rucksack with some weight in it, as carrying weights can increase the metabolic rate, meaning the body is working harder.
If you work near a park or open country side, then consider encouraging your employees to go for walks, or even part of their way home, as research has shown that walking alongside nature is good for mental wellbeing and can reduce anxiety and stress levels.
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The attached diagram depicts at least 20 of the benefits of walking. Find a local walking group to encourage employees to do longer walks. Another great way to increase fitness is to set a challenge. #walk1000miles is a great nationwide challenge, where you commit to walking 1000 miles in a year. Why not promote this to your colleagues and challenge departments to see who can walk the most miles in a month? So why not motivate your employees to grab their trainers, walking boots or footwear of choice and start walking their way to fitness. It’s a cost-effective way of getting fit but it can also help improve overall health and mental wellbeing as well.
For more information on health promotion events, sickness absence management, health assessments and bespoke training packages, please contact us for a no obligations conversation on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0844 481 0093 where our team will be happy to help.