Walking workouts are currently trending on Tiktok, with the #walkingworkout hashtag racking up 49.2 million views on the app and counting. Wondering what exactly constitutes a walking workout and why exactly they’re so great for your mental and physical health? Well, you’re in the right place.
While the benefits of walking are countless – think improved cardiovascular fitness, muscle tone, mental clarity and more – actually structuring your walks into workouts can reap all these benefits and more. Research has shown that as little as 30 minutes a day promises to boost your wellbeing, not to mention the fact that it’s one of the simplest workouts you can do, achievable for any fitness level. Just whack on a pair of trainers and you’re good to go.
Walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier. One 2021 Harvard Medical School study even found that walking releases certain brain chemicals that help you to concentrate.
Trainers at the ready… But don’t miss our guides to the best home workouts and home workouts that require no equipment, while you’re here, or expert-led explainer on how to workout at home, if you’d rather get a sweat on from indoors. Don’t skip the all-important warm up exercises, and you’ll be good to go.
Whether you are a seasoned gym goer or an absolute newbie to exercise, walking benefits everyone. Your risk of injury is low and the workouts can be scaled to every fitness level.
Walking workouts are a great for improving both your physical and mental fitness. Here, experts share the best workouts to try plus how they boost your health.
As well as getting the heart pumping, the same cardiovascular benefits of a walk apply. Plus, both walking and workouts have been proven time and time again to release those all-important endorphins so vital in improving your mental health.
Walking workouts can also reduce stress and anxiety, boosting overall mood and feelings of wellbeing. Walking is just as good as any other exercise – setting yourself a goal of completing a walking workout can be more motivating than just walking here and there throughout the day.
Increasing your energy expenditure and challenging your fitness levels more while you’re doing your walking workout is one way to make sure you’re continually progressing your fitness levels. To do this, mix up your intensity each week. Increasing the speed of your walk, increasing the elevation, or choosing a more challenging terrain for your walk, such as somewhere with hills, will all work.
You’ll only reap the full mental benefits of walking workouts if you give your brain the space to be able to do so. Switch your phone to aeroplane mode and take in the nature around you, or alternatively listen to a podcast or some music to help you disconnect. You also look to add in some meditative benefits to your walk by choosing a quiet route, noticing your thoughts, focusing on your breathing and how each part of your body feels.
Keen to give a walking workout a go? See below for some of the most highly rated walking workouts on YouTube, free to stream and designed for at home. Some throw in a little lunge or sidestep to spice things up, while others include using small dumbbells or a pair of ankle weights to step things up a notch.
Good question – and while the answer will depend on your current fitness levels, the NHS currently advises aiming for 30 minutes of moderate cardio (aka walking) a day. Stef Williams, on the other hand, recommends trying to hit 6,000 steps in an hour – a moderate speed and intensity that promises to leave you feeling both mentally and physically stronger in no time. As a general rule of thumb, aiming to increase your steps 10% week on week will leave your fitness progressing without risking injury.
Sources: Marie Claire UK