Walking, The Basic Cardio Exercise
I believe that there is a big difference in walking casually and walking for fitness. I see people walking in my community everyday, they walk slowly, speaking to everyone that they see. They may be walking their dogs with a pooper scooper in hand. There may be some exercise involved but not enough to make a noticeable improvement in their fitness.
On the other hand walking to significantly improve fitness requires much more effort. I am saying that you may want to walk fast enough to get your heart rate higher and keep it there for at least 20 minutes. If you are a beginning walker it may take you some time to work up to walking from
2 to 3 mph for 20 minutes. If you are consistent walking at least 3 times a week, you very well could be walking faster and longer in a short amount of time. It is also very important that you manage your heart rate as you are walking. This level of walking would be at a fitness level. Don't rush to get to this level. take it slow and listen to your body. If you get tired, rest for a few minutes and get back to it later or wait until the next day.
To manage your heart rate you should know the recommended heart rate you should be exercising at for safety and efficiency. There is a formula to determine your recommended heart rate that is based on your age. That is 220 minus your age would be your maximum heart rate. 80 percent of the maximum heart rate would be your recommended heart rate.
For a 70 year old man the recommended heart rate would be 220 minus 70 equaling 150 times 80 percent equaling 120 beats per minute.
The easiest way to measure your heart rate for any aerobic exercise is to use a heart rate monitor. Some are very inexpensive. However, if you belong to a gym with treadmills you can set the speed and can monitor your heart rate without a heart rate monitor.
I also recommend a gym and using a treadmill versus walking outside. It is safer as you are walking on a level surface versus uneven sidewalk with curbs to step over and perhaps holes or cracks in the concrete to step over. The treadmill surfaces is also softer and much easier on your feet, knees and hip joints. I joined a gym almost 40 years ago because I started to have knee problems. I can walk as long as I want to and my knees do not hurt. From time to time my back stiffens up and walking loosens it after about 10 minutes.
I have been walking for many years now, I still enjoy it and there is no question that it has helped me to maintain a good level of fitness.
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