Brisk Walking Has Many Health Benefits

Brisk walking isn't the same thing as running, although it provides many health benefits. Some scientific studies have linked brisk walking to the improvement of certain physiological parameters. Read along to find out more.
Brisk Walking Has Many Health Benefits

Last update: 10 September, 2020

Walking is an activity that’s pleasant and accessible for most people. Brisk walking is the conscious act of speeding up your walk.

Although it may not seem like it, brisk walking has its fans and a group of people who practice it as a sport. One great advantage that this activity has, is that it can be practiced by children, adults, and the elderly. Without the need for any special technical equipment.

Unlike running, brisk walking can be fitted easily into your daily routine. It can even be performed during your commute to work. In this fast-paced life, when there’s often no extra time for sports, it can be a great way to enjoy a quick workout.

It’s important to differentiate brisk walking from regular walking. The difference is massive, not just in terms of speed, but also in terms of strides.

Health ministries often advocate walking, however, to get the health benefits we must go into detail.  The faster you walk, the more caloric expenditure occurs, resulting in greater weight loss and increased metabolism.

The health benefits of brisk walking

Scientific studies have been carried out around the world to show the health effects of brisk walking on the body. Generally speaking, the practice has been proven to be beneficial.

The cardiovascular system is particularly benefited by brisk walking. It’s been proven to reduce the incidence of high blood pressure, and reduce the blood pressure of people who already suffer from high blood pressure according to research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

In addition, experts often recommend walking as a therapeutic pillar when it comes to diseases such as diabetes. This exercise forces the body to move glucose towards the muscles and away from the bloodstream.

Woman brisk walking

A study published in the Preventive Medicine Journal, in 2015, claims that if brisk walking is maintained over a period of time, it can help to increase muscle mass and increase glucose metabolism.

Weight control is another benefit of brisk walking and this can help to prevent and treat diseases in the long term. A healthy body mass index can improve the prognosis of various cardiovascular diseases. It can also reduce mortality by up to 20 percent.

What technique is used for brisk walking?

Like all sports, in order to achieve the benefits, you must follow the proper technique. Brisk walking is no exception to this rule. In general, it implies reaching a steady pace with which you can cover a kilometer in approximately 10 minutes.

Posture is very important, keep your back straight in order to reduce the risk of injuries.

Your head should always face forwards. Avoid looking down in order to protect your cervical vertebrae. Keep your shoulders aligned and flex your abdominal muscles in order to keep your back straight.

There’s no established time for brisk walking. Most health institutions recommend 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week in order to see metabolic results. One hundred and fifty minutes is the equivalent of 30 minutes per day from Monday to Friday.

Brisk walking: the 10,000 step controversy

For a while, the theory that 10,000 daily steps were needed in order to see an improvement in cardiovascular health was very popular. The truth, however, is that this number isn’t shared by all specialists as a ‘magic’ number.

The 10,000 step measurement doesn’t take stride length nor speed into account. As we previously mentioned, brisk walking isn’t the same as running or regular walking.

It’s also unclear whether the benefits are seen after walking 10,000 steps consecutively or if it can be done at various intervals throughout the day.

Happy walking

Therefore, relying on the 10,000 step rule isn’t recommended. It’s more practical to measure walking time which should be at least 30 minutes and speed which should be a bit faster than regular walking.

A valid alternative

There are many people who can’t run due to injuries while there are others who simply don’t like running. Brisk walking can be a valid alternative in both of these cases. As you’ve seen throughout this article, it’s an activity that has numerous health benefits.

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  • Murtagh EM , Nichols L , Mohammed MA , et al . The effect of walking on risk factors for cardiovascular disease: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised control trials. Prev Med 2015;72:34–43.
  • Hanson S , Jones A . Is there evidence that walking groups have health benefits? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Sports Med 2015;49:710–5.
  • Rojas-Rueda, David, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, and Martine Vrijheid. Health Impact Assessment of Walking to School in Barcelona Spain. Journal of Transport & Health 5 (2017): S87.
  • Olafsdottir, Gunnthora, et al. Health benefits of walking in nature: A randomized controlled study under conditions of real-life stress. Environment and Behavior 52.3 (2020): 248-274.

The contents of this publication are written for informational purposes. At no time do they facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.