May 28, 2013

Walking an underrated form of exercise

Many people may not recognize the importance of walking. 

It is something we do every day and rarely think about. However, there are real benefits to walking, and it is certainly a great activity on beautiful sunny days. It is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to increase your physical activity level and improve your overall health.


Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that increases bone density but is easy on joints. Bone density is important, especially for aging women at risk of osteoporosis. 

Other benefits include reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes and obesity. Walking also conditions lower extremity muscles, which help pump blood back to the heart, improve circulation, muscular endurance and balance.

There are numerous muscles that are engaged during walking, including the knee extensors (quadriceps); hip extensors (hamstrings and gluteal muscles); lower legs (gastrocnemius and soleus in the back and tibialis anterior on the front); and arch muscles in the feet. 

Keeping these muscles conditioned is crucial to a successful walking program.


It is a given that walking shoes or sneakers are needed for this activity. However, it is important to wear a shoe that is well-fitted and has the correct amount of cushion. 

Individuals with any ankle issues may need additional ankle support. Proper arch support and flexible soles are necessary, as well. Clothing should be appropriate for weather and climate. Sunglasses and sunscreen should be worn in order to protect you from harmful UV rays. 

As always in exercise, proper hydration is necessary in order to maintain good health.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends people participate in a walk or other moderate intensity exercise for 150 minutes or more a week for health benefits. 

For weight loss, 250 minutes or more of moderate-intensity activity is recommended per week.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time