Why brisk-walking is a great workout option

The idea is to quicken your pace and challenge your heart and lungs.

We all lead fast-paced lives wherein squeezing in time for a quick workout session is difficult. Besides, long hours at work leave us mentally and physically exhausted. And, while staying active is the need of the hour, how do we make sure we actually get it done? The answer lies in brisk walking, which is slowly emerging as a popular workout alternative. Read on.

Why brisk walking?

Unlike other forms of exercises that require a lot of paraphernalia, walkers only need a pair of decent shoes to get going. Fast-paced walking can reward you in ways you had no idea about. It makes you break you into a sweat and is considered to be one of the best cardio workouts. Also, you can do it any time of the day, and do not require a designated ‘workout time’. The idea is to quicken your pace and challenge your heart and lungs.

How is it done?

There is a lot of confusion as to what is considered brisk walking. Some people think walking at a speed that is slightly higher than normal is brisk walking. But is it? In order to understand this form of exercise, you need to target your heart rate. According to the American Heart Association, your target heart rate for moderate-intensity exercise is around 50 to 70 per cent of the maximum heart rate, and your target heart rate for vigorous activity is about 70 to 85 per cent of your maximum heart rate.

The maximum heart rate is 220 beats per minute (bpm) minus your age in years. Use your index and middle finger to measure your heart rate, by placing them on the wrist and feeling a pulse. Count the number of beats. For a 30-year-old the target should be 95–162 bpm.

You can also do the talk test, which requires you to understand your speech as you walk. If you feel slightly breathless while talking, you may be walking at a moderate pace. And if you are completely out of breath, your pace is probably vigorous.

The benefits

Any kind of physical activity will come with its weight loss benefits. Brisk walking, too, ensures, your burn calories and lose excess weight. Experts say that brisk walking can help lower the risk of heart diseases, provided it is done at least five days a week. It also helps with lowering the blood sugar level and improving mental health.

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