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Does anyone walk as their main exercise?

(14 Posts)
RahRahRasputin Tue 11-Mar-14 21:17:14


I've recently stopped running and started walking instead for health reasons. I haven't found any threads about it so I was wondering if there's anyone else out there walking. Or is this an indication that it actually isn't possible to be fit and toned from just walking, whatever Joanna Hall says? grin

I do yoga and Pilates classes each week and a few strength exercises. I'm hoping to build up to using light weights soon. But walking is my only cardio at the moment. Running did wonders for my legs in such a short time, I'm really keen to try and maintain that, and hopefully even tone up some more.

When I was running I did Couch to 5K and then started another programme to improve my 5K time. I rather like organised programmes, especially if they involve having a book blush and I tend to stick to them better. So I have been looking at various books and I'm planning to look at some in the library. But I wondered if anyone follows a programme or could recommend a particular book.

Thank you smile

antimatter Wed 12-Mar-14 02:02:05

I am walking not running as my back killing me (I am seeing physio for that).
I can definitely say that my fitness improved since doing at least 50 min lunchtime and 30 min evening walk.
I use pedometer on my smartphone to motivate me smile
However I am rarely able to go beyond 10000 steps a day as my dog (that's when I go for 10 min walk) wonders and I can't keep fast pace.

I am using StepMania on android. it has silly awards you are getting and if you upgrade to Pro version you will keep your history beyond 7 days.
I am listening to audiobooks (free from local library) whilst walking and that is very nice and productive way to spend my "alone" time.

RahRahRasputin Wed 12-Mar-14 21:26:20

Sorry to hear about your back, I hope it improves quickly.

That app sounds good, I will see if it's available for iPhone. I love getting awards blush that kind of thing really motivates me!

I have been considering getting a FitBit as have heard good reviews and like all the online tracking stuff but they're so expensive compared to my cheapy pedometer which works just fine.

I'm managing to get up to about 11,000 steps a day, with my morning walk and then walking to and from campus, taking the stairs instead of the lift etc.

I went into the library and had a look at their two measly walking books. I liked the look of Joanna Hall's Walkactive programme and I had a Waterstones giftcard so bought myself a copy. I had read an article on her technique and tried it this morning and it seemed quite good so hopefully the book will help me improve.

I really enjoy my walks as alone time too, not that I need it as I live alone but it's different being outside and away from distractions smile it is good thinking time, I didn't seem to get that with running.

Suzannewithaplan Wed 12-Mar-14 22:50:39

RahRah, I agree walking is great for thinking & clearing your mind, when my children were very little walking was my only form of exercise, miles and miles and miles with the pushchair!

I'm sure it can keep you lean if you do enough of it, at a rough guess I'd say an hours brisk walking uses about the same amount of energy as 30 mins jogging.

RahRahRasputin Thu 13-Mar-14 09:00:54

Hi Suzanne

I'm trying to do 30 minutes a day as a planned walk and then I also walk a lot during the day to get around so hopefully that'll be enough smile although I might do a longer walk a few of times a week.

I'm a member of the gym so I could go and use the cross trainer as it's lower impact that running, but I really don't like being cooped up inside and I get bored so quickly! I walk the same route most days, and used to run it, but I never get bored as it's different every time, people, wildlife, weather etc. smile

The Walkactive book claims that this method of walking will tone more effectively than "normal" walking plus is better for posture and core, which I really need help with! smile

Do you still walk lots or do you do other exercise? <nosey>

Suzannewithaplan Thu 13-Mar-14 11:31:02

I walk about 20 miles a week, but also spend a couple of hours in the gym 6 days a week.

I use the app on my phone to log miles walked.
I've occasionally used a heart rate monitor when walking, compared to other cardio it just doesn't raise my heart rate enough to increase cardiovascular vascular efficiency

Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 11:45:29

DH has been walking c. 8 miles per day as part of his daily commute for the last 18 months. He walks fast. I am an obsessive exerciser running 30+ miles per week and several other exercise sessions on top but I can't keep up with him.

I suppose he must be fitter but I can't say there's been any noticeable change in his appearance. He certainly hasn't lost any weight!

Running uses about 100 calories per mile and walking will be broadly similar (I think) In a 30 min brisk walk, you'll do well to do 2 miles.

I do think there are lots of benefits to a good walk though, especially on a day like today!

MewlingQuim Thu 13-Mar-14 12:08:40

I walk to work and back every day then walk the dog, this adds up to about 7 miles a day Walking is my only regular exercise especially now I have DD and don't have the time for my previous exercise regime.

I used to do a lot of aerobic sports (I trained 5 nights a week), now I only go occasionally (once every few months) but I still find my aerobic fitness is still very good and I can run rings around some mates who still train regularly. I find that walking keeps me surprisingly fit considering how effortless it feels.

Saying that, I remember when I first started walking how much my legs burned and I thought I would keel over from lack of oxygen when going up the hills hmm I suppose I must just be used to it now!

I would really recommend walking to work instead of commuting by car - it's cheap, no petrol bills, no parking problems, no stress, plenty of thinking time too RahRah

Suzannewithaplan Thu 13-Mar-14 12:20:55

Walking uses significantly less calories per distance than running, it's a far more efficient mode of locomotion.

Mewling, it may be that your baseline VO2 max is higher than average, people do vary in that respect.

RahRahRasputin Thu 13-Mar-14 12:40:45

There seems to be such a variety of opinions about how many calories walking uses vs running. Joanna Hall says walking uses same amount of calories over same distance, i.e. a 5km walk will burn same as 5km run but obviously the run will take less time. Personally I'm not fussed about how many calories it burns as I don't particularly subscribe to the whole calorie mindset.

I've always walked quite a lot so it's not really a massive lifestyle change, although I've been recovering from cancer treatment so have been building up exercise gradually, and am not at peak fitness yet! smile

Mewling good recommendation but I can't drive anyway so no alternative. I'm at uni so often make several trips onto campus per day. It would be such a hassle with a car anyway that even if I could drive I don't think I'd bother! smile

I ended up on a long shopping trip yesterday and the steps really added up! grin I discovered in the morning after walking all over campus that I'd forgotten to put my pedometer back on after my shower so had recorded my morning walk but not anything since, but still managed over 11,000 just from my morning walk and the shopping.

Suzanne interesting about the cardio monitor, I haven't tried one but I tend to just go by how breathless I feel. You sound very fit so presumably walking just doesn't strain your body as it does mine! grin

I will consider other forms of exercise later on but it's all a bit complicated because of surgery I've had so most forms of exercise are unsuitable at the mo.

Technical that's a long ish commute, how long roughly does it take him each day? I'm applying for jobs at the moment, hoping to work in London so will walk to station then from tube to work, I worry about walking too briskly though as I don't want to get sweaty and lose my make up, smell etc! smile plus I like to wear heels and not sure I could bear to wear trainers with skirts and tights and change at the office <vain> I suppose all walking is beneficial though even if not quite at fastest pace.

Technical Thu 13-Mar-14 13:27:04

Well, DH does wear trainers and change at the office and he doesn't wear heels! I'm not sure what condition he arrives at work in but he definitely needs a shower when he gets home grin

I used to walk a lot as part of my job and doing any distance in heels ruins your back IME. (and slows you down significantly)

He walks very briskly which will be around 15 min miles, so covers 4 miles in an hour.

Weegiemum Thu 13-Mar-14 13:34:57

I'm a (rather inefficient) walker! (Which makes my ds laugh as he loves the Walking Dead so thinks I'm saying I'm a zombie!)

I have a serious neurological disability - no feeling in my hands, lower legs and feet, severe fatigue, loss of balance and proprioception (means if I can't see my hands and feet my brain doesn't register them - I can't clap my hands with my eyes closed!).

Walking is one thing I can manage in a controlled way - I need a companion, I need flat stable surfaces (can walk in city parks but not on rough country paths), can only manage 3/5 weeks due to my treatment cycle. I used to be a cross country runner and I've taken it hard that I can't.

But walking, initially in the gym on a treadmill with the neuro physios, then on my own, is helping me regain fitness that I lost after being bed bound for 2 months and helped with weight loss too.

Suzannewithaplan Thu 13-Mar-14 19:16:02

Not sure Joanna Hall has a leg to stand on (<-couldnt resist the pun grin) RahRah, but what the hell, walking is fab and performs well in my cost benefit analysis.

I hope your recovery progresses smoothly and quickly smile

RahRahRasputin Sat 15-Mar-14 14:40:46

weegie that must be so frustrating after being such a serious runner, I'm glad you're regaining your fitness after being bedbound. I was very inactive during chemo, but not bedbound, and it's amazing how quickly fitness deteriorates!

Thank you suzanne yes, it's definitely helpful and definitely cost effective grin

I've started the Walkactive method, it's slightly different to 'normal' walking and I haven't quite perfected the technique yet but I can definitely feel it working.

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