Walking is Underrated and Overrated

I’ve noticed something after talking with a variety of different personal training clients over the last decade.  I find I am frequently reminding folks about walking.  What I am specifically reminding them tends to vary based on who I am talking to.  Some need to be reminded how much simple walking can help them achieve their goals.  Others need to be reminded that walking alone won’t get them to their goals.

Author’s note: I think 10k steps a day is a solid rule of thumb.  The average American only walks 2-3k steps a day.  With the advent of smart phones and smart watches, it’s easier than ever to count your steps.  That said, for some, 10k steps might be too ambitious, others too easy.  Adjust accordingly.

I am going to start with why walking is underrated:

  1. Hitting 10k will help you lose weight.  If you go from the average of 2-3k steps a day, that change alone will help you shed an extra half a pound or so a week on average (assuming your nutrition is decent).

  2. It is the perfect active recovery between strength training sessions.  I often get asked about additional training days by clients after they’ve established a routine of 3 days per week.  As much as I’d love to make a little more money by telling them to come in to more sessions, I would rather give the honest answer: Once you are doing hard strength training 3 days per week, you should focus on hitting 10k steps per day on your non training days.  More hard training won’t actually elicit a faster response but adding more activity overall, in an active recovery format, will work wonders.

  3. Walking is an important part of longevity.  Living a long time doesn’t mean much if we are sick and miserable the whole time.  That’s the whole difference between lifespan and health span.  If you want to extend both, walk regularly.

  4. You’ll clear your head.  We are all way overstimulated by tech and we’re stressed.  Even a short walk will help you take a break from all the “busy”.

  5. If regular walks seem boring to you, add some weight with a pack.  Weighted walks, aka rucking, are a great way to increase the cardio challenge while adding more of a strength and core component to it.  Your body will burn more calories by both moving and stabilizing that extra weight.

How is walking overrated?

  1. While it is an important ingredient in longevity, you also need strength training.  Only the strong survive.  Grip strength is strongly correlated with those who live longer, healthier lives.  Add some personal training into the mix and you’ll be glad you did.

  2. While walking is less injurious than running, without good movement you can develop injuries.  If this has been you, don’t get frustrated.  A good physical therapist and then graduating to personal training will work wonders.

  3. You need full body movement.  While you could grab small hand weights or water bottles, walking is mostly just a lower body, light cardio activity.

  4. When I peruse articles extolling the virtues of walking, they highlight the core and strength advantages of walking.  While you’ll end up with a stronger core/legs than someone who is completely inactive, walking is activity, but isn’t really training.  Activity and training aren’t necessarily exclusive categories, but training is more focused on eliciting a specific response in the most effective way possible.  Activity is more broadly focused on just getting your body moving.  You need both.

When you are ready to talk with a personal trainer about your goals, fill out the form at the top or bottom of this page and I will take care of the rest : )


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