The IronPlate Guide to Walking


The weather is finally warming up and today is National Walking Day.  (The American Heart Association sponsors this day to remind people about the health benefits of taking a walk.) What better way to celebrate than by getting outside, breathing some fresh air and taking a walk? Walking is often overlooked as an option for cardiovascular exercise, however, if done correctly, walking can provide a number of health benefits. Not to mention it’s generally easier on our joints and it’s free!

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends the average person gets “30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week.”  

Moderate physical activity can be defined as brisk walking where you are still able to carry a conversation.  Your heart rate should be somewhere between 50-70% of your max predicted heart rate. And you should accumulate 150-300 min of activity per week. (30-60min 5 days/week)

Vigorous activity requires a lot more energy to complete. You should only be able to talk in short phrases and your heart rate range should be somewhere between 70-85% of max predicted heart rate. Vigorous physical activity should accumulate 75-150 min of activity per week. (20-30min 3-4days/ week)

Multiple 10 minute exercise bursts (of moderate to vigorous intensity) spread out throughout the day has also been proven to be just as effective as a continuous 20-60 minutes of exercise. So if you can’t find a chunk of time to string together, try two to three 10 minute sessions throughout the day. (I.e. before your shower, lunchtime and before bed)

Benefits of 30-60 minutes /day walk:

  • Lower blood pressure and strengthened heart

  • Decrease in loss of bone mass

  • Increased longevity

  • Improved mood from released endorphins

  • Weight loss (if accompanying diet is healthy)

  • Improved immune function-decreased chance of getting sick, and if you do get sick, symptoms are generally more mild and shorter in duration.

  • Improved sleep

  • Increased endurance

  • Slowing in mental decline/Alzheimer’s risk

  • Eased joint pain -walking protects joints and lubricates and strengthens muscles supporting them.

So if running or jumping on a stationary machine isn’t your thing, give walking a try.  Grab a friend to chat with or your dog and enjoy some sunshine and fresh air!