Is Walking Really the Best Exercise?

This guy is not really working out.

This guy is not really working out.

Most doctors agree that walking is one of the best forms of exercise. But I think that’s bullshit!

Unless you are elderly or morbidly obese, walking falls into the category of what I like to call “physical activity”–it’s not a workout.

It’s certainly better for your body than lying on the couch (or slumping over at a desk–sit up straight!), but it doesn’t meet my standards of true exercise.

As far as I am concerned, in order for something to count as a workout there are three basic requirements: elevated heart rate, muscle fatigue, and sweat. Power-walking might fulfill these requirements, but for the average person, just taking a stroll ain’t gonna do it.

Don’t get me wrong, walking is great physical activity and most Americans probably ought to be doing a lot more of it. As a New York City resident, I walk just about everywhere. (I just don’t kid myself into thinking that it’s a workout!)

Walking can definitely add up over the course of the day, leading to weight loss, which is probably part of the reason why New Yorkers tend to be slimmer than most Americans–so I encourage you to walk as much as possible. Everybody should be getting at least an hour or two of daily physical activity. It’s just that you should also do some real workouts.

10 thoughts on “Is Walking Really the Best Exercise?

  • By susangraham -

    Amen!!!!

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Hey Susan! Glad to hear you're on board!

  • By phattrainer -

    Agreed. Unless your an octagenarian or 400lbs go do some real excercise.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Octogenarian–nice vocab word!

  • By phattrainer -

    Agreed. Unless your an octagenarian or 400lbs go do some real excercise.

  • By Al Kavadlo -

    Octogenarian–nice vocab word!

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  • By hooch turner -

    Well, I like how you’ve said that we all should be walking much more. I honestly think it’s a phenomenal activity, seeing as it’s so crucial to our every day existence. When I arrived in NY, and suddenly had to increase my walking levels by about 2000%, I realised that I’ve been slacking on something that is very fundamental. As someone who has conditioned themselves to walking in the big city all your life, you mightn’t appreciate how demanding it can be for someone like myself who has let it slip a bit.
    Of course, it’s not only walking, it’s walking on laterally sloping pavements, up/down stairs in subway stations, stepping off kerbs and having to propel backwards to avoid cars.. so many patterns of movement going on. Add in heavy backpacks or grocery bags, and it does start to resemble a workout. If you’re not able to handle such demands, it can really tear you down or tweak your back too.
    Going through such movements on a day to day basis really exposes my weaknesses (like I can feel that my glutes aren’t taking the weight, postural glitches, various pains throughout the body, etc). This is why some supplementary gym work is essential in my mind, to get the body fit for the demands of daily living.

    • By Al Kavadlo -

      Thanks for sharing your perspective, Hooch!

      • By hooch -

        Thanks for providing me with the platform to do so. Given that you’re a champion of bodyweight movements, I’m glad you covered this particular day-to-day one.

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