The Science of Walking: Benefits, Techniques, and Strategies for a Healthy Lifestyle

The Science of Walking

Walking is something we all do regularly, making it one of the most common and natural forms of exercise. Even the ancient Greeks knew the benefits of walking and other physical exercises.

With systematic and prolonged training, walking has a beneficial effect on most of the physiological processes of our body.  Walking regulates the activity of the cerebral cortex and increases the flow of venous blood to the heart. It also reduces high blood pressure and increases it at low numbers, increases lung ventilation, and improves oxygen supply to all tissues.

The basic metabolism increases by walking and the body’s fluid loss increases. Muscles and ligaments of the limbs and trunk are strengthened by walking. Walking is the simplest means of hardening the body and making us strong. Dosed walking is especially useful for patients with cardiovascular diseases and those who are insufficiently trained for physical exertion, regardless of age – young and elderly.

The effect of walking depends on the length of the route, the speed of movement, the nature of the terrain, rest on the route, and no less on what emotions it causes: with positive emotions, when walking gives pleasure, it is more useful for the body.

Walking is categorized based on the nature of the movement into different types

Slow pace: 40-60 steps per minute, 3.0–3.5 km per hour.

Average pace: 60-80 steps per minute, 3.5–4.0 km per hour.

Quick pace: 100-200 steps per minute, 4.5–5.0 km per hour.

Very fast pace: 120 or more steps per minute or more, 5 km per hour or more.

Recommended Starting Speed for Walking

You should start walking and your training goal with the speed of movement and distance familiar to you. You should be aware that the symptoms of any disease do not increase, and great fatigue does not manifest itself. Walk daily 1-2 times a day, preferably after sleep and before meals.

Walking before going to bed should be calm, for 15-20 minutes. Increase the distance gradually, adding 20-100 meters daily, depending on how you feel.

During the summer, it’s best to avoid walking during the hottest part of the day. On cold and windy days, consider shortening your walking distance.

In the summer, it’s a good idea to wear low-heeled walking shoes or comfortable sneakers with good ventilation for your feet, unless you have flat feet. Loose-fitting clothing is ideal during the warmer months, allowing unrestricted movement, while in the winter, it’s best to dress warmly for comfort.


While walking, watch your posture, do not hunch over, keep your hands either loosely at the bottom or behind your back and work out the right gait – put your foot on the heel and smoothly transfer to the toe.

The most important moment is proper breathing while walking: it is better to breathe through the nose, breathing should be full or chest–deep, rhythmic – inhale for 2-3 steps, exhale for 3-4.

If shortness of breath appears, you should stop or reduce the pace of walking until breathing is restored.

Gradually train the lengthening of the exhalation from 2-3 steps to 4-5. During stops. It is useful to do several breathing exercises to eliminate shortness of breath.

The appearance of pain in the heart, and dizziness require immediate rest and subsequently. Reduce the speed or length of the route. Lethargy, insomnia, and decreased appetite are signs of overwork. When they appear, take a break from walking for 2-3 days.

After some training, alternate fast and slow walking 25-30 meters at a slow pace, then walk quickly until shortness of breath appears, slowly again, etc. There are 3-4 such alternations in one walk.

Monitoring Your Pulse During Walking for a Healthy Workout

Before you start walking, you need to count your pulse. Walking on flat terrain increases the pulse by 10-12 beats per 1 minute. Cross–country walking and fast walking – at 30-40 beats per minute. These are the limits of the norm.  At the end of the walk, after 3-5 minutes, the pulse should return to the original figures. The absence of a change or slowing of the pulse after walking indicates the fitness of the body and refers to the variants of the norm. When walking, chest pains and increased pulse rate should not be allowed in excess of permissible norms.

Mastering Proper Walking Techniques

Let’s start with the frequency of steps. Take short and frequent steps, as a wide step can cause pain in the feet and hips. For an adult, it is optimal to take 113 steps per minute, but an accelerated pace will require about 150 steps per minute. If you decide to replace running with walking today, double your walking time or spend more time for optimal results and calorie consumption. Were you going to run for 40 minutes? Then walk at an accelerated pace for 80 minutes.

But if you don’t have that much time to walk for two hours, “break up” your walk. Take a walk during your lunch break, and then walk home from work. Thus, you will have even more free time for family and leisure.

In general, walking, unlike running, is not wrong from the point of view of technology. Inflammation of the periosteum and stress fractures are only a small part of the injuries of runners. People who run are more likely to get injured during exercise than those who walk. Walkers have a risk of injury from 1 to 5%, while runners – from 20 to 70%.

Importance of a Proper Warm-up for walking

Before starting hiking, as well as sports or simple walking, you should prepare your muscles for exercise. To do this, at least a minimal warm-up should be carried out. It can include the following groups of exercises:

warm ups

swing your legs;

shallow squats;

jumping on the spot.

Intense. Includes muscle stretching exercises:

wide steps with body fixation;

springy squats.

Different Speed Modes in Wellness Walking and Proper Finishing Techniques

Slow pace. It is not more than 3 km/h. This type is recommended for use by people with impaired health or in the period after illness.

Average pace. The speed can vary from 3 to 4 km/h. It is preferable as an initial stage for untrained people who do not have experience yet.

Fast pace. The speed can increase up to 5 km/h. It is recommended for people who do not have health problems.

Very fast pace. A person moves 6 kilometers in 1 hour.

You cannot interrupt walking without preparation. Just as before starting a walk, you should do several gymnastic exercises. Here, we’re talking about moderate walking and doing exercises to ease any muscle tension that might have built up during your walk.

Weight Loss and Vigorous Walking: Realistic Expectations

Yes, vigorous walking can help you lose weight at the beginning of the journey. However, do not rush to be too happy: on average, for 1 hour of walking at a moderate pace, a person spends 200-300 kcal. Going up the stairs, you spend 5 calories per minute, and going down — 3 calories per minute. For comparison: to “work out” one eaten chocolate, a person needs to walk around the entire diameter of a football field. But despite this, walking has been and remains one of the most popular methods of weight loss.

weight loss

In particular, sports walking can be practiced even by those who are contraindicated for jogging. Brisk walking helps to warm up the body and start the process of burning fat deposits. However, it should be borne in mind that it begins only after 30 minutes of diligent walking. Therefore, it is very often combined with other, more energetic sports. To make the effect of weight loss more noticeable, diversify your sports life: ride a bike, walk, or perform a cardio set. The body quickly gets used to the loads, so they should be changed and supplemented from time to time.

Choosing Between Running and Walking

Of course, both are better. However, running is not suitable for everyone. Joint problems, hypertension, heart disease, and overweight are contraindications for running. Also, running is traumatic and requires good physical fitness. Walking, on the contrary, is suitable for almost everyone. But the disadvantage of walking compared to running is a weak calorie consumption. Running wins twice here. A gradual transition from less to more is the best tactic for developing physical fitness, strength, and endurance.

If there are no diseased joints and other diseases, but just a lot of excess fat that you want to burn, start eating right and walk, walk a lot. The fat will begin to “melt”. The weight will decrease. There will be lightness, energy, and a positive attitude. That’s when you can try to switch to light running, if you want, or add other intense workouts, such as skipping rope, swimming pool, and strength training. If, with extremely overweight, you start running right away, and you will get too much load on your knees. which is fraught with sad consequences in the future. The rule that is always appropriate in everything is not to harm. Do everything in stages.

Customizing Your Fitness Plan for Sustainable Results

Adapt the plan to suit yourself depending on your level of training and schedule. If you are just starting, you can reduce the number of classes per week and shorten their duration. Every week, train for 1 day more or extend the lesson for 5 minutes to gradually increase the load and not overwork. Adjust the plan according to your needs and preferences so that it is easier to stick to it because regularity is the key to achieving (and maintaining) results! 

Remember that during strength training, fewer calories are burned, but muscles swing, and muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat. Do not worry if you fail to burn 300 calories on strength days, because you are making important changes to your body by performing this type of exercise, which helps to change the composition of the body for a long time.

Effective Strategies for Burning Calories and Achieving Weight Loss Through Walking

Walk more during the day. Brisk walking is the best way to keep fit. Don’t stop for 30-45 minutes of walking a day.  During the day, try to do additional walking for 20 minutes a day or less whenever you can to achieve your weight loss goal.

Taking a walk before eating will help control blood sugar levels, prevent overeating, and speed up metabolism.

If you need to move from one destination to another for short distances, then choose walking, and do not use transport.

If you are not in the mood or you feel that you are on the verge of stress, then take a short walk, which will not only boost your mood but also help you burn some calories.

Choose the stairs instead of the elevator, and take a brisk walk upwards.

Increase the intensity

Increasing the walking pace is one way to make the heart beat faster and burn more calories. Scientists at Ohio State University have found that alternating speed changes during a walk will help burn 20% more calories than at one pace.

During the walking session, allocate 30 seconds out of every 5 minutes and go as fast as you can, but do not run. Do this kind of activity before you get back to your normal pace.


Taking that first step toward a healthier life is so important. Many of us have great intentions of adopting healthier habits, but sometimes, our inner couch potato takes over, and we just don’t get started. Stepping out of our comfort zone is the key, and when it comes to physical activity, walking is a fantastic choice. It’s something we can tailor to our own fitness goals and health needs. So, why not grab those sneakers and kickstart your walking journey?

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What are the key benefits of walking?

There are a lot of benefits of walking but the key benefits of walking include improved health and physiological processes.

How can you monitor your pulse during walking?

You can monitor your pulse by counting it before and after walking.

What strategies are suggested for burning calories through walking?

Increase walking intensity to burn more calories.

What strategies are suggested for burning calories through walking?

Increase walking intensity to burn more calories.

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