Walking: Why it’s important to do more than count steps 

With the rise in popularity of fitness apps and trackers, many people are counting steps. The intensity of our steps is just as relevant as the number we do. What does walking briskly mean and how should we do it?

The UK’s Chief Medical Officer recommends we all do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week. With walking accessible to most, free and easily achievable, it’s a great way to work towards that target. The speed at which we achieve ‘moderate intensity’ depends on an individual’s fitness. Instead of the number of steps, focus on your exertion. Much as the nutrients offered from an apple and a bag of cheese puffs that have the same calorific value are vastly different, so are the benefits from 1000 shuffled steps versus 1000 brisk ones.  

What is brisk walking? 

Brisk walking pace will cause your heart and breathing rate to increase.  

Breathing will be harder than usual and though you should be able to hold a conversation, you won’t be able to sing. 

How can I walk more briskly? 

Using better posture (standing tall with shoulders relaxed), lengthening our stride and using a swinging arm motion can all help. Comfortable trainers and activewear that promotes free movement can help too. 

Build walking into your day 

Whether you’re marching on the spot while brushing your teeth, walking the dog around the block while dinner is cooking or hiking a hill with a friend, it all adds up. Try and be mindful about the quality of your steps as well as the quantity. Change things up by walking on different landscapes to challenge your muscles in different ways. Inclines, grass, sand and woodland all test our bodies, working areas like our core, legs and bottom. 

Feeling stuck in your health journey? Let’s change that together. Our Move More programme is designed to support and empower you every step of the way. With caring experts, a tailored exercise plan, and helpful resources, we make it easier for you to start feeling better—inside and out.


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