Why Walking is the Best Exercise

We all know that physical activity is vital for good health but, despite its wonderful simplicity, walking is often overlooked as a great form of calorie-burning exercise. It’s easy to find yourself falling into one of two extremes; many people may class themselves as an avid gym goer or fitness fanatic, while others may lack time, resources or motivation to get in the recommended dose of daily exercise. Many think that sport has to take the form of intense cardio and strength training, but we often overlook the major health benefits of walking; it’s an activity that has become so habitual it’s easy to forget that it is, in fact, exercise! So, we’re here to encourage you to head for the great outdoors and to remind you that walking really is the best way to stay healthy and in great shape!

What are the basic benefits of walking?

The great thing about walking is that it won’t cost you a penny! While other activities may require specialist equipment, a gym membership or specific clothing, putting one foot in front of another is a perfect way to keep up with your fitness ambitions for free. Of course, it might be worth investing in some supportive trainers or walking boots, as well as a sun hat or winter hat dependent on the season, but after that it is guaranteed that you can exercise completely free of charge. Joggers and breathable t-shirts are an option for extra comfort, but by no means a requirement!
Not only is walking free in a monetary sense, it is also free of constraints; you can undertake this physical activity anywhere, at any time of the day – meaning you can slot it into your routine all the more easily. It’s also one of the most liberating forms of exercise, and one that you can carry out far away from the judgemental looks and pressure that are so often associated with the gym. It gives you the chance to change your surroundings and, in theory, can lead you absolutely anywhere...
What’s more, walking is an easy habit to adopt! Whether it means taking the stairs rather than the lift or escalator, walking to the shops instead of jumping in the car, or changing up your commute, this pulse-raising activity can be used to replace elements of your general day-to-day actions. There's no doubt that choosing to walk more is one of the easiest ways to fit exercise into your daily life. It’s so easy to work it into your lifestyle; whether it’s taking a few brisk 10-minute walks throughout the day or dedicating half an hour to walking around the block or local park, every step will make a difference to your mental and physical health! Trust us, the more often you go for a proper walk, the more it’ll become an enjoyable part of your daily routine that you’ll start to look forward to and feel lost without! To really reap the rewards from this type of physical activity, aim for a 30-minute walk 5 days of the week. 10,000 steps a day is a great goal to reach for but, despite popular opinion, there is little scientific backing that this number represents the optimum daily walking distance. Nevertheless, many walkers find that using a step count or even a fitness tracker is a great source of motivation to trek that little bit further!

Is it healthy to walk every day?

Not only is walking a fairly easy sporting activity to pick up, it’s one that promises to keep you in great form! Being rather low intensity, it is accessible for both men and women as well as people of all ages, regardless of their physical condition. While running is often something to avoid for those with injuries related to their ankles, legs or back, or for those who are particularly unfit, walking is a low impact, one-size-fits-all exercise option. It’s also frequently alleged to be the best exercise for weight loss as, being slightly less taxing on your body, you can keep moving for longer periods of time and increase your stamina.

What's the ideal walking speed?

It’s worth noting, though, that to reach any fitness or weight loss goals, you’d be sensible to pick the pace up a bit! To really get results from walking and to burn those calories, you want to aim for a brisk walk – ideally a distance of 3 miles per hour (if not further)! The health benefits of moderate intensity walking are far-ranging. As well as improving your posture, it is best known for toning your leg muscles, abs and even your arms if your brisk walk turns into a power walk! Research suggests that stepping it out regularly can also reduce insomnia, minimise memory loss as you grow older and reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease too. Want to live longer? Walking regularly can actually add years to your life, but make sure you’re taking speedy steps to get the longevity benefit!

Lose weight but gain so much more – the added health benefits of walking

On top of these physical health advantages, walking can have a real positive influence over mental health too. Getting active, even if for as little as 15 minutes, is a great way to lift your mood. Getting those endorphins going can help relieve stress and anxiety, and it’s safe to say that going for a walk also provides space for a free flow of ideas – moving your body gives your mind an opportunity to wander too! Despite exerting yourself physically, the mood-boosting consequences of walking can actually increase your energy levels, boost your creativity and leave you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the world.

Made for adventure – grab your walking boots, shoes or trainers and go go go!

Another reason why walking is so great is that it provides you the perfect way to explore the natural world! While walking on a treadmill remains an option, there’s nothing better than bracing the outside elements. Here at Atlas For Men we believe we are all ‘made for adventure’ (as per our slogan) and walking truly facilitates adventure in its purest form! This type of exercise needn’t be mundane – it can take the form of weekend hiking trips against stunning scenic backdrops, visits to majestic coastlines, climbing atop some of the UKs most beautiful peaks or, more simply, a relaxing afternoon amble in the woods. Walking is a great way to realign yourself with the great outdoors and to discover the hidden natural wonders that may be right on your doorstep going unnoticed. Armed with comfortable walking shoes that offer adequate support, a decent pair of socks and a trusty windbreaker, you’re equipped to follow any and every trail. And, if you encounter any inclines, just remember all those extra health benefits and the extra calories you’ll be burning – hill walking may actually be your friend!

Travelling near or far: route planners and regularity

Now you know why brisk walking is so good for you, all that’s left to do is to get out there and make it a habit! This simple activity has the capacity to bring about a far healthier life and is perhaps one of the most risk-free ways to stay fit and to travel given the current global context!
From the Lake District to the Scottish Highlands, the UK has an array of dreamy walking locations. If you’re looking for some extra special inspiration on where to head on foot though, why not read our guide to the Best UK Walks! If you're enamoured by the views encountered en route, the number of calories burned won't even cross your mind. On top of this, planning your walking route in advance and setting your sights upon enticing destinations may be the perfect strategy to encourage yourself to actually get moving. However, all that's not to say that you have to venture far to enjoy this activity. Travelling on foot is a great way to really get to know the area in which you live, work, or spend most of your time. So, instead of repeating the same route day in day out, we'd encourage you to switch things up and tread different paths. After all, adventure isn't necessarily something you do, it's a lifestyle!

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