Are you thinking about starting to exercise in the New Year, but don’t know where to begin? Consider starting with a brisk walk. This activity can be accomplished both indoors or outdoors, and the only equipment needed are decent walking shoes. Daily brisk walking is simple, effective, and provides many great benefits.
How do you know if your walk is considered “brisk”? According to Healthline, to ensure you’re in the “brisk” zone, you can measure your target heart rate, which is about 50-85 percent of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your maximum heart rate, subtract your age in years from 220 beats per minute. Another way to determine if you’re walking briskly, is by counting your steps per minute, with your target being at least 100 steps per minute.1
One benefit of brisk walking is weight loss. With a fast-paced walk, your body can expend more calories, which leads to an increase in weight loss. Brisk walking can also lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels which in turn enhances your cardiovascular health. Engaging in regular aerobic activity builds a stronger heart. As the heart becomes stronger, it becomes more efficient at pumping blood, which will decrease the amount of force on your arteries therefore decreasing your blood pressure.2 Brisk walking has also shown to improve mental health. As your overall health begins to improve, the body’s hormones become more balanced, and will improve your moods. A distraction-free, brisk walk can provide a mental break from your day, which will “help boost self-esteem, mental clarity and better sleep”.3
Brisk walking is a simple and quick exercise to do daily to help improve your mental and physical health. A few tips to remember are to maintain good posture throughout your exercise, take shorter but more frequent strides, and to push off your feet.4
Written by: Cayla Boyles