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When Walking Is Not Exercise

In my last article, I mentioned “walking is not exercise” and that “walking is how God created us to get from point A to point B.” I was not expecting that statement to be controversial.

So you can imagine my surprise when I received quite a few messages and emails requesting more details. Some were simply asking for me to elaborate. Others accused me of being insensitive and were reaching out in frustration. So I want to clarify that statement and go into further detail about what I mean by “walking is not exercise.”

Webster Dictionary defines exercise as “bodily exertion for the sake of developing and maintaining physical fitness.”

With that in mind, for the average healthy person, walking is not exercise. This is someone who has zero health problems and is not obese. I stand by my statement for those people.

Walking does not get your heart rate up. Your muscles do not break down. You are not physically challenged. If you are trying to get into shape or lose weight then walking as exercise is a waste of your time and you are lying to yourself. You need to be exerting yourself. You need to get uncomfortable during your workouts.

A great way to tell how hard you are working is the Borg Scale of Perceived Exertion. Try to fluctuate between categories three to eight during your workout because the intervals burn belly fat. And we all need to burn belly fat!

Rating of Perceived Exertion

However, for the people who do have limitations, then I would recommend an entirely different exercise regimen. Here is why: Your body still desperately needs for your muscles to be broken down and rebuilt. Your heart needs to be worked. You need to be at a healthy body weight so that you can live life well.

Instead of walking you have many more exercise options that are low impact, will get your heart rate up and break your muscles down without injury. Those options include cycling, free weight strength training, and aquatics workouts.

Aquatics fitness classes are an up and coming fitness trend. These are not your grandmother’s water aerobics classes. You can expect to swim several laps and then strength train in the water. Your heart rate will skyrocket (burning belly fat), your muscles will be challenged in new ways, and you will leave exhausted.

This full body workout is ideal for anyone with knee or back problems or for those that are overweight. They are especially excellent cross training for those that are already in great shape because new muscles will be used in the pool.

Locally, there are aquatics fitness classes offered at Bishop Park in Bryant with early morning and evening class options. There is even an Aqua Moms class offered for pregnant and postpartum mothers.

Finally, if you are limited physically your doctor should clear you first for low impact exercise. Anytime you feel a pain that is sharp or produces swelling, you should stop exercising until you can consult your doctor. But, if you’re not limited physically, just mentally, then get moving!