The fitness routine for many people is to walk a certain number of steps or a certain distance in a day. Many experts even suggest that walking is a great way to control your health, calories, and weight. But, according to Dr Manjunath Sukumaran, holistic health coach, lead facilitator and founder of Harmony Wellness Concepts, it is “not a whole exercise or workout in itself.”
For some time now, Dr. Sukumaran has advocated for a switch to an effective three-component exercise regimen to relieve lifestyle disorders like blood pressure, diabetes or weight gain through his Facebook videos. According to him, if there is “no serious restriction”, it is necessary to turn to other forms of cardio activity rather than walking which is “not an exercise in its own right”.
“One should do at least 30 min. of HIIT (high intensity interval training) which should start with body weight training and certain floor exercises. This means that a good exercise routine has three main components: endurance training, resistance training, and flexibility. And walking does not meet all three aspects,” he said.

Why walk at all?

Walking for more than 25 to 30 minutes a day is an effective way to improve heart health and lung capacity, said nutritionist Karishma Chawla.
Moderate exercise, like walking, reduces the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. It helps you breathe easier and stay healthy for longer, especially since most cardiovascular disease-related lifestyle disorders could reduce life expectancy. Simply walking every day can improve the management of living conditions such as high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain/stiffness. “It also helps control your cholesterol levels. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the world is constantly increasing. Walking every day can help control your blood sugar,” she explained.
While walking is good physical activity, Chawla also stressed how “it is important to challenge yourself in terms of increasing steps and speed to get the most out of this cardio activity”.
The lifestyle educator added, “Optimal cardio activity balances blood pressure, blood sugar; helps blood circulation, cardiovascular exercise; improves lung health, increases good cholesterol, lowers bad cholesterol, reduces anxiety due to the release of endorphins, which helps reduce body fat percentage keeping metabolism high.”
Also Read: During COVID-19, Take This Simple 6-minute Walk Test To Check Your Health

Despite so many benefits, why isn’t walking considered good exercise?

Dr Sukumaran pointed out that walking has “many health benefits, especially for the unaware, because something is better than nothing”. But what he doesn’t realize is that just walking every day loses muscle mass which manifests as skin aging and energy levels over the years.
Agree with Dr Samudrika Patil, clinical endocrinologist and CEO of Vedicure Healthcare and Wellness. She said that one can get “more effective results in terms of fat loss and increasing muscle mass” with resistance training.
Brisk walking, jogging, climbing stairs, or cycling – any activity that increases your heart rate is classified as endurance training.
“Resistance bands have freshly been used for home workouts, especially due to gyms being closed during lockdown. You can play with your resistance bands by adding types to your daily workouts. Likewise, for flexibility, Zumba or aerobics are good exercises. Plus, yoga is always a way to stay flexible, strong and keep your sanity in check.”
According to Chawla, endurance training activities that help increase heart rate such as jogging, swimming, squash, and dancing have many health benefits, including improving cardiovascular health, health pulmonary, aid in blood circulation, reduction of anxiety, increase in metabolism, increase in concentration and insulin sensitivity.

Is relying on walking unnecessary?

While experts mention how “no physical activity is in vain” and “walking is definitely a good way to begin,” it needs to be interspersed with cardio activities for “holistic gains”.
Dr Patil also mentioned how walking could be accompanied by intermittent jogging or jumping. “Take the stairs every other day. If it’s boring, walk your dog!” said Dr. Patil.

How essential is it to workout?

Considering the growing awareness of fitness, all experts agree that “regular exercise is not negotiable like bathing.” “The more you move, the better your level of fitness. Studies show that the endurance capacity of a 65-year-old adult is similar to that of a 17-year-old. It only remains for us to use it well. Indulging yourself regularly will help raise awareness and heal mind, body and soul! Said Chawla.


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