When most people think about cardio, they often picture someone who is swimming several miles a day, going for hikes in the mountains, and riding their bike at breakneck speeds on busy roads. While these are certainly examples of strong cardiac workouts, people can also enjoy cardio through walking. First, it is important for everyone to note that the term “cardio” simply refers to any activity that works the cardiovascular system. The goal of any cardio workout is to strengthen the heart, allowing it to support the rest of the body more easily. Any continuous, low-to-moderate intensity workout is considered aerobic. This means that people do not have to exercise at 100 percent capacity for hours on end to enjoy a cardio workout. The good news is that even walking can count as cardio!
Exploring the Benefits of Walking
First, it is important to explore the benefits of walking. One of the main benefits of walking is that it is good for people’s long-term health. According to numerous health regulatory agencies, walking for thirty minutes continuously five days per week can do wonders for someone’s overall health. Walking counts as physical activity and can help someone lose weight. This can stave off health complications such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, and even obesity.
Furthermore, walking is also a low-impact exercise. This means that it will protect someone’s joints from developing inflammation, which could lead to arthritis.
On the other hand, walking is also a leisure activity. With this in mind, what has to be done to turn this into a cardio workout?
Walking for a Cardio Workout
To get the most out of any walking workout, it is important for people to exercise at their ideal intensity. After all, someone who routinely runs marathons is not going to have to work as hard as someone who is trying to get into a regular exercise routine for the first time in months.
The differentiating factor is heart rate. For those who are looking to turn walking into a cardio workout, they have to think about their heart rate.
According to health agencies, in order for someone to enjoy the cardio benefits of walking, they have to reach the area of a moderate-intensity workout. This means reaching 50 to 70 percent of their max heart rate and sustaining this for thirty minutes. In order for someone to calculate their max heart rate, they need to:
- Take the number 220
- Subtract their age in years
- As an example: for someone who is 40 years old, their max heart rate is 180
- 50 percent of this number is 90 and 70 percent if 126
If their heart rate is between these two numbers, they are getting a cardio workout.
Starting a Walking Routine
For those who haven’t exercised in a while, it can be a lot to ask that person to start running immediately. Therefore, start low and go slow. One the first week, walk for about 20 minutes every other day. The next day, increase this to 30 minutes. After this, it is time to try to walk more quickly. Once people sustain a walk of about four miles per hour for a half-hour, try to run for a few minutes during the workout. This is how people can build up their cardio intensity and enjoy all the benefits of exercise.