Walking for exercise
While walking in itself is not necessarily considered exercise, however, it can be used as a form of exercise when used properly. Walking is an activity that raises the heart rate and that is one of its primary benefits. When you raise your heart rate you increase the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain.
Walking for exercise generally involves continuous walking for some time or measured distance. Raising your heart rate over an extended period is both good for your heart muscle and can help burn excess fat. Your targeted heart depends on your age according to the CDC.
To accurately determine your walking targeted heart rate, you need first to find your maximum heart rate. This is where your age comes into play, you take 220 beats per minute and subtract your age. Once you figure out what your maximum heart rate would be, you then can figure out what your optimum walking heart rate would be.
According to the CDC, your active heart rate should be between 64% and 76% of your maximum heart rate. This is when you need to break out your math skills and figure out your targeted numbers. So, using the maximum heart rate you previously came up with, you can use the following formulas:
30-year-old person 220 -30 = 190 beats per minute
Optimum walking heart rate zone
Lower end 190 x .64 = 122 beats per minute
Upper end 190 x .76 = 144 beats per minute
Top 6 benefits of walking
Helps to reduce stress – Walking is a great way to lower the amount of stress that you may have been feeling during the work day. Being out in the fresh air for 20-40 minutes instead of just sitting around is a good way to alleviate the stress in your life.
Weight maintenance – The daily activity from walking can also help you to burn excess calories. By burning more calories than you are taking in you can lose some of those extra pounds without having to do any strenuous activity.
Explore new parts of your town or city – Walking for exercise is a good way to see parts of the city or town that you may not be as familiar with. Many people are so busy with other aspects of their lives that they don’t have time to see other things around them.
Raises overall energy levels – Walking helps to raise your heart rate which increases the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream and that helps you increase your overall energy levels. The more energy you have throughout the day, the more productive you will be.
Promotes better sleeping habits – Moderate exercise before you go to sleep has been shown to promote more sound sleep. This means when you wake up in the morning you will likely feel more rested.
Good for the environment – By walking to some of the destinations that are close to your home instead of driving, you can reduce your carbon footprint. Over a sustained period, this can help the environment.
Walking safety tips
Use sidewalks or walking trails – Anytime you are walking outside you should be careful and that generally means walking on sidewalks or walking trails whenever possible. This will help to keep you safe from being hit by cars, motorcycles, or bicycles. Special walking trails established by municipalities also tend to have special markers indicating distances.
Walk against traffic – If you don’t have sidewalks or walking trails and you need to walk on or near a roadway, always walk against traffic. You never want to have your back to oncoming traffic, you will never see the potential danger coming at you.
Always walk single file on or near roadways – You also don’t want to walk side by side if you are with one or more walkers. Always walked in single file formation to keep everyone safe on or near a roadway.
Be aware of runners and bike riders – If you are walking on a designated walking trail you want to be sure that you keep an eye out for runners and bike riders. Most cities and towns allow bike riders and runners to share the trails with walkers. This means you need to always have an eye out.
Wear bright colors or reflective clothing – When walking at night or early morning before sunrise you want to be sure all vehicles can see you. Be sure to wear bright colors and or reflective material so that drivers or riders can see you.
Turn the volume low on your phone – If you like to listen to music while you are out walking, be sure to keep the volume low and keep one earbud or earpiece off or out of one ear. This allows you to hear important sounds around you, especially sirens from first responders.
Keep your phone in your pocket – Never allow yourself to be distracted while you are walking. Be sure to keep your phone in your pocket to avoid being distracted by it. Many of today’s fitness trackers and Smart Watches have notifications and allow you to see who called you.
One of the most popular devices that were developed for the fitness industry is the fitness tracker. These devices were designed to detect and keep track of a person’s activity. It does this by measuring the number of steps a person walks. Using this information it can calculate several things that include total distance traveled, and calories burned, among others. The more advanced fitness trackers include built-in heart monitors and can display this information on a small screen. This is extremely helpful for a walker who is trying to keep their heart rate within their heart rate zone. These trackers can also be synced with a software application on a cellphone or computer. The software has several valuable tools that use the data collected by the paired fitness tracker.