Walking is our most common form of exercise, but just because it's an aerobic exercise doesn't mean it benefits your cardiovascular health alone.
It's great for stress relief and improving your sleep, plus walking has muscle-building benefits too!
Although you won't build the legs of an Olympic weightlifter just from walking, you might be surprised at the results that walking can produce in terms of muscle. Read on as we discuss how walking builds strength, and learn our top tips on maximizing your walking workouts.
How does walking build muscle?
We swear that anyone can reap the benefits of walking when it comes to fitness. Although walking will help strengthen your muscles, walking alone isn't going to create the big, bulky muscle mass that comes from heavy lifting in the gym. Instead, it helps to strengthen your muscles and gradually create leaner, toned muscles in your lower body.
Muscles grow after being stressed enough to start breaking down. Your body will repair the microtears that exercise causes in the muscle by strengthening and reinforcing the areas around it.
Walking won't break down your muscles like weight training does, but it can gradually break down some of your lower body muscle groups, causing them to strengthen over time! This is especially helpful for people who don't exercise frequently, walk for long periods, want to maintain their muscle mass, or want to gradually improve their strength and cardiovascular health.
Maximize Your Walking Workouts
Here's how you can make your walking workouts more effective:
Walking is great for anyone that has trouble lifting weights or handling intense cardio, but if you're looking to increase the intensity of your walk, add in some intervals! You don't have to go into a full spring. Start by walking at a moderate pace for two minutes and then switch to a more intense power walk for 30 seconds. This will help increase your heart rate, burn more calories, and enhance your muscle strength.
Walk With Weights.
Try holding some light weights or wearing a weighted vest to help engage and strengthen your back muscles during your walk. Just be mindful of keeping a good posture throughout your weighted walk to avoid any unnecessary strains or injuries!
Mix Up the Terrain.
Another way to boost your muscle building is to take your walk off the flat ground and find an incline. Walking on trails, inclined surfaces, and even uneven gravel roads are great ways to challenge the muscles in your lower legs, ankles, and feet.
So, does walking build muscle? You will need more than walking alone to provide you with a significant amount of muscle growth. BUT, it is great for building your cardiovascular health, improving your mental health, and strengthening the muscles in your legs.
This foundational exercise should become a part of your everyday routine to maintain a well-rounded fitness regimen. Combining it with a healthy diet and light resistance exercises, you can achieve great muscle strength and overall health results.
Go put on those walking shoes and start making your way toward a fitter, healthier you!