Walking Towards Better Health
by ZIYA ASIA on Feb 01, 2022
WALKING TOWARDS BETTER HEALTH
Sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking is a simple, phenomenal way to get more active and become healthier. Going for regular, brisk walks improves your cardiovascular fitness, reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, alleviates depression, plus helps you maintain a healthy weight.
The popularity of walking as an exercise began in 2020 during the pandemic. Lockdowns pushed us to exercise and spend more time outdoors. A walk in the middle of the day helped break the work routine while confined in our small home offices. During our free time, instead of meeting for a coffee or a drink, many of us started meeting for a walk in the park. With gyms closed, power walks helped us stay fit. Even, walking dates became popular – there’s no better way of getting your heart up than walking while getting to know someone special.
As the world adapts to living with Covid, walking continues to be a major fitness trend and to grow across all age groups all around the world. It’s a low impact, high benefit activity, and data shows is here to stay.
Read on to find out some fun facts and figures on our walking workouts according to Polar data.
WALKING IS A POPULAR CHOICE
According to our stats, based on anonymized data of millions of Polar users, people of all ages are spending more time outdoors briskly walking. Not only we’re walking more, but we’re also more mindful on how we walk. We like to track every step we take and technology helps us nerd out on data to track our progress. As a result, the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal’s annual worldwide survey highlights wearable technology as a fitness trend for 2022.
WALKING WORKOUTS : AN ACTIVITY FOR ALL AGES
Walking workouts play a big role in the exercise routine of middle-aged to elderly people. Surprisingly, young people, the so-called Gen Z cohort, are taking up on walking, too. The activity has seen a 25% increase year over year with Polar users aged 16-19 (or –29) taking more than three walks each week.
HOW LONG WE WALK
Just a brisk 10-minute daily walk has some health benefits, but once short walking bouts become a habit, why stop there? Polar data shows that the average walking session is more than a stroll around the block. On average a walk lasts about one hour and covers a distance of 4.5km.
Even if the walking pace is light to low-intensity, walks help us burn excess calories, balance metabolism and, eventually, help us trim our waistline. On average, Polar users burned 364 calories per walk.
MORE WALKING, MORE STEPS
Evidently, the popularity of walking exercises means that we take more steps daily. In 2020, we upped our daily step, and in 2021, we did it again. In the year 2021 Polar walkers reached 10 000 steps during the summer months, which is a good target to most adults.
For most, walking workouts are part of their training routine and occur several times a week. Data shows that walking sessions are spread-out throughout the week, with Sundays being the most popular day.
WALKING: A WORLDWIDE TREND
Whether it’s deep in the forests of Finland or lost in the streets of a buzzing European metropolis, the desire to spend time outdoors and walk is universal. We’re seeing walking become more popular across all the world and take a bigger share of the time spent exercising.
In several countries, nearly one out of five workouts is simply going for a power walk.
GET THE MOST OF WALKING WORKOUTS
The benefits, both physical and mental, of walking have long been documented. Studies, like this one on US adults published in 2020, says people who walk regularly are healthier and live longer than those who don’t.
You don’t need to walk very fast or far to enjoy the benefits of walking. Following a few recommendations can help walkers get the most out of their walking workouts:
- To get results, it doesn’t always need to be about having a high intensity workout. Low intensity, slow walks can help people to maintain their cardiovascular health.
- High intensity walking exercises, such as Nordic Walking (using walking poles) can be a good way to amplify the positive results of walking around the body, by utilizing more muscles.
- Changing the terrain of your walks can also help in providing variety to the intensity of the workout. For example, going uphill or downhill can have a large impact on the intensity of a walking workout and can lead to even greater results.
- Consider walking with a group of people to make it more of a social experience. While this may not improve your physiological health, it can have a positive impact on your mental health and stress levels.
- Tracking heart rate during your next walk can help you optimize your exercise and learn more about your heart rate zones in different contexts, ensuring you get the most out of your walks.