“Cardiovascular health is defined by your capacity to exert yourself,” says Nicole Belkin, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at NewYork-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center. “Regular physical activity trains the cardiovascular system to expand the level of demand and increase its capacity. This results in increased blood flow and blood volume to the heart.”
All that oxygen being pumped by the blood is important. You may be familiar with the term "oxygen consumption." In science, it's labeled VO2, or volume of oxygen consumed. It's the amount of oxygen the muscles extract, or consume from the blood, and it's expressed as ml/kg/minute (milliliters per kilogram of body weight). Muscles are like engines that run on fuel (just like an automobile that runs on fuel); only our muscles use fat and carbohydrates instead of gasoline. Oxygen is a key player because, once inside the muscle, it's used to burn fat and carbohydrate for fuel to keep our engines running. The more efficient our muscles are at consuming oxygen, the more fuel we can burn, the more fit we are, and the longer we can exercise.
One of the most effective ways to gauge how hard you are working during exercise is to monitor your heart rate. Your heart rate is measured in beats per minute (bpm), and you can check it by taking your pulse periodically during your workout. Check either your radial pulse at your wrist or your carotid pulse at the side of your neck. Start with zero to count the pulse beats for 10 seconds and multiply that number by six to determine your heart rate. An efficient alternative to checking your pulse is to use a heart rate monitor, which displays your heart rate throughout your workout.

You burn more calories per mile at very low speeds because you are basically stopping and starting with each step and your momentum isn't helping to carry you along. Meanwhile, at very high walking speeds you are using more muscle groups with arm motion and with a racewalking stride. Those extra muscles burn up extra calories with each step. Running may burn more calories per mile as there is an up and down motion lifting your weight off the ground as well as moving it forward."
To estimate the amount of energy—remember, energy equals calories—the body uses during physical activity (versus when you’re at rest), scientists use a unit that measures the metabolic equivalent for task (MET). One MET is what your body burns while lounging on the couch watching Netflix. Walking, a "moderate" exercise, uses 3 to 6 METs; running, which is typically classified as "vigorous," uses 6 METs or more.
5. Dunstan DW, Barr ELM, Healy GN, et al. Television viewing time and mortality. The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab). Circulation 2010; 121: 384-91. Available at: http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/reprint/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.894824v1?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Dunstan&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT
When it comes to walking, the question shouldn’t be “Why?” but “Why not?” Regardless of your starting point, you can be reasonably certain that a walking regimen is safe and effective. If you have a known cardiovascular, metabolic, or pulmonary condition, always consult with your doctor to get clearance before starting. However, it is most likely that your doctor will applaud and support your decision to add walking to your routine.
For a walking surface grade between -5% to +5% inclusive, this walking calorie burn calculator is based on equations (shown below) derived by ShapeSense.com from experimental data displayed in Figure 3 of the study titled "Energy Cost of Running," by R Margaria, P Cerretelli, P Aghemo, and G Sassi (note that the data on walking energy expenditure was originally printed in the study titled "Sulla fisiologia, e specialmente sul consumo energetico, della marcia e della corsa a varie velocita ed inclinazioni del terreno," by R. Margaria). The experimental data gathered by Margaria measured calorie burn of subjects walking at various speeds and on various surface grades. It was found that there is a non-linear relationship between walking speed and rate of calorie burn, as opposed to calorie burn while running, which displays a linear relationship between speed and rate of calorie burn.
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Surgeon General: The Surgeon General recommends 30 minutes or more of accumulated moderate intensity physical activity on five or more days per week to improve health and fitness. "Accumulated" means you can do it in shorter bouts throughout the day (for example, 10- or 15-minute intervals throughout the day), and "moderate intensity" means you feel warm and slightly out of breath when you do it. You can read more about the Surgeon General's "lifestyle" recommendation at: www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/sgr.htm.
And while there is no “trick” to walking (anyone can do it), it is important to pay attention to form. Keep your head up and look about 20 feet ahead of you. Make sure your upper body is relaxed – shrug your shoulders a few times to check that you’re not stiff. Tighten your core muscles – abs, hips, and lower back – to make sure your torso stays straight and tall. And just walk smoothly, rolling from heel to toe as you swing your arms freely.
Walking doesn't burn calories as quickly as a number of other aerobic exercises, including jogging, swimming or riding a bicycle. Walking, however, is a low-impact exercise that is ideal for a wide range of people, including those who contend with joint pain and aren't physically able to perform more up-tempo exercises. If you choose to use walking as your main source of aerobic exercise, set your weekly schedule to allow for a minimum of 2.5 hours of walking.
It can be started slowly (try using a treadmill to moderate your pace) and built up as you feel comfortable. It will help open your airways and make breathing a bit smoother. It will strengthen your lungs and help improve on your breathing and reduce your asthma symptoms. Asthma patients' lungs are more sensitive to cold air or hot air and pollen and other things from the atmosphere.

In general, to increase your aerobic fitness you should exercise intensely enough to reach your target heart rate range. Your target heart rate range is 60% to 80% of your maximum heart rate. A general formula to determine your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age. (For example, if you are 50 years old, your maximum heart rate is 170 and your target heart rate range is 102 to 136.) Check your heart rate as you exercise and try to keep it within your target heart rate range.
I walked along my bus route, assuming that sooner or later, my arrival at another bus stop would coincide with the arrival of my bus. But it didn’t. So I walked some more, eventually making it to work, a mere 20 minutes later than I normally would have, calmer than I might have anticipated, and feeling like I’d accomplished something vaguely mammoth before 10am. I also felt liberated. Who wants to be enslaved to their public transport systems, beholden to the schedules, the whims and capriciousness. Suddenly, I had another option.
Use the 1-to-10 scale of perceived rate of exertion to measure endurance. Think of 1 as watching TV; 10 is gasping for air (you can't go any further). Daily walks, for example, are 5 or even 6-6.5 sometimes. Twice a week, crank it up to 7, 8, or 9 on a steep hill for a few minutes. Now you're burning serious calories and building real aerobic fitness through interval training.

It should be noted that the MET approach was designed to build a classification system of different activities for research purposes - MET values "do not estimate the energy cost of physical activity in individuals in ways that account for differences in body mass, adiposity, age, sex, efficiency of movement, geographic and environmental conditions in which the activities are performed. Thus, individual differences in energy expenditure for the same activity can be large and the true energy cost for an individual may or may not be close to the stated mean MET level as presented in the Compendium." (as quoted from the main page of the Compendium of Physical Activities)
Bought this as a newcomer to walking for fitness. I have read it cover to cover (except for the bits on walking and pregnancy!) I followed the sections on what to wear, preparation and training for walks, and really appreciated the sections on stretching exercises which complement what I learn in Pilates classes. I can certainly feel the health benefits of the walking I have done over these last 6 months and would recommend this book as a good resource for anyone embarking on this form of exercise.

However, I also do some form of "exercise" every day. This includes strength training twice a week, HIIT twice a week with weights or on an elliptical machine, and a light 10-minute workout three times a week on recovery days. But since walking isn't exactly exercise, you can do it everyday without needing any recovery days for your body to repair and regenerate; it doesn't tear down your body much, so it doesn't require recovery time. 

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I walked along my bus route, assuming that sooner or later, my arrival at another bus stop would coincide with the arrival of my bus. But it didn’t. So I walked some more, eventually making it to work, a mere 20 minutes later than I normally would have, calmer than I might have anticipated, and feeling like I’d accomplished something vaguely mammoth before 10am. I also felt liberated. Who wants to be enslaved to their public transport systems, beholden to the schedules, the whims and capriciousness. Suddenly, I had another option. 

8. Gregg EW, Cauley JA, Stone K, Thompson TJ, Bauer DC, Cummings SR, Ensrud KE. Relationship of changes in physical activity and mortality among older women. J Am Med Assoc 2003: 289 (18): 2379-86. myDr myDr provides comprehensive Australian health and medical information, images and tools covering symptoms, diseases, tests, medicines and treatments, and nutrition and fitness.
Fidgeting could increase your calorie burn and speed up your weight loss. In 1986, researchers for the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that fidgeting was a large contributor to daily calorie burn. In fact, this type of movement resulted in a calorie burn ranging from 100 to 800 calories per day! Tap your foot to the music on the radio while sitting in the office, or get up and walk back and forth while talking on the phone.