It doesn't take all that much aerobic exercise to accrue lots of fitness and health benefits. There are two physical activity recommendations to choose from in the United States. One is the Surgeon General's "lifestyle" recommendation, where you can accumulate activity and incorporate it into your day (a nice way to save time for busy people), and then there's the formal "workout" recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Bone density may not be one of the most exciting health benefits of walking, but it’s an important one. People with stronger bones avoid osteoporosis and all the problems that come with it like fractures, disability, and spine shrinkage (seriously, you can get shorter). And the best way to get strong, healthy bones is by doing weight-bearing exercises like running, dancing and, yes, walking, according to a large study done by Oxford. But when it comes to bones, it’s definitely use it or lose it: To keep your bones strong you have to keep exercising. The researchers found that adults who walked regularly had better bone density throughout their lives than their inactive friends. Find out which common walking mistake causes 11,000 injuries every year.


Try using the abdominal muscles and hip flexors to rotate the hip forward. As the leg swings forward and straightens, the body will land on the heel. The ankle should be flexed with toes pointed upward at about a 45 degrees. angle from the ground. The foot placement should be in front of the body, as if almost walking along a straight line. As the body’s weight passes over the leading leg, the foot should roll forward and push off from the toes to begin the next step. A strong push will give you more momentum and power. You should feel as if you're showing the sole of your shoe to someone behind you.
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Aerobic exercise involves regular body part (e.g., arms or legs) movements that increase workload on the cardiovascular system. It is convenient and useful to think of the intensity of aerobic exercises in metabolic equivalents, or METs. One MET represents the amount of energy used at rest, and two METs is twice that much energy expenditure per unit of time, and so on. Aerobic exercise is widely recommended in contemporary guidelines. However, guidelines also indicate that exercise regimens are contraindicated in patients with unstable cardiovascular conditions, including but not limited to uncontrolled severe hypertension (BP ≥ 180/110 mm Hg). Conditions under which stress testing should be performed before initiation of an exercise regimen have been described.37

Observe basic safety while walking outside. Watch for traffic all around you. Always walk on sidewalks or on the left side of the street facing traffic if there is no sidewalk. Carry an ID and a cell phone or change for a pay phone. Use caution if wearing headphones (perhaps use just one earpiece so you can hear traffic and other noises around you). Make yourself visible in low-light situations by wearing reflective gear, such as vests with reflective tape are especially visible.
Utilize the Incline Feature: “Treadmills have a variety of uses and one of them that many people don't take advantage of is the incline feature. Walking or running on a treadmill is meant to simulate how you walk or run outside. The incline feature turns what could be compared to walking or running on a sidewalk, into a motion more similar to walking up a mountain,” says Crockett. “Adjusting the incline on a treadmill has several benefits. Your workout intensifies because you're placing more demand on the body to keep up with the machine. The higher you set the incline, the more energy your body is forced to use to help activate your glutes, quadriceps and calves, all of which have to put in overtime when the incline is increased. This increase of energy burns more calories and depending on your weight and cardiovascular endurance can also burn more fat.”
I defined aerobic exercise for you in the introduction. It's any activity that stimulates your heart rate and breathing to increase but not so much that you can't sustain the activity for more than a few minutes. Aerobic means "with oxygen," and anaerobic means "without oxygen." Anaerobic exercise is the type where you get out of breath in just a few moments, like when you lift weights for improving strength, when you sprint, or when you climb a long flight of stairs.
When you are able to get and stay on your target heart rate, you will want to cool down a bit at the end of your walk. If you have been able to stay in the target rate for 20 minutes or so, spend about 5 minutes at the end of the walk trying to bring your heart rate back to where it was pre-walk. Slowing your pace down and doing some more light stretching can accomplish this. Do not stop walking to slow your heart rate in a cool down. It defeats the purpose of a cool down.
Walking is one of the simplest ways to get fit and maintain heart health. The American Heart Association's guidelines for physical activity indicate that healthy adults should aim to walk a minimum of 150 minutes per week, or 30 minutes every weekday. Walking seven days per week will burn more calories, and you can add challenges to your walking workout that make it more of a cardiovascular or strengthening exercise.
“This has all been scientifically proven,” says Hall. “Dr Darren James, research fellow at South Bank University, has done a study showing all this. WalkActive significantly and statistically improves your posture, increases your walking speed by up to 24%, reduces joint impact, joint stress at the knee and at the ankle and improves your body shape.” It is, unmistakably, a fitness programme, as in, you would undertake it for the same reasons as an aerobics class, to lose weight, or at the very least, redistribute it in a more sightly way. I did several 10-minute walks, and while never out of breath, was certainly more tired at the end than I would normally have been.
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I suggest keeping records of your weekly progress by writing down what happens, or at least checking off that you followed through, and then setting your weekly plan every week for at least three months. Then at three months, you can evaluate your progress and see if any changes need to be made. How will you know if you're ready to stop setting weekly goals each week? Ask yourself if you believe you will be exercising regularly in six months. If the answer is "I'm not sure," or "no," then you ought to continue to set weekly goals. If you are confident that you can maintain the behavior and will be exercising in six months, then you may not need to set weekly goals, but at the first sign of slipping, you ought to go back to it. 

Walking also fixes: hangovers, heartbreak, low grade colds; boredom, loneliness, that nagging sensation that you haven’t really achieved anything much today. It has a smattering of downsides. You will get rained on (but not as often as you think, and that’s nothing a sturdy brolly can’t help with). You’ll need to carry posh shoes in a separate bag, and cyclists can be a nightmare, far more troublesome, in my experience, than cars: wayward, melodramatic and happy to mount pavements/ speed the wrong way down one-way streets.
An analysis of studies on walking showed it improves aerobic fitness - which is technically the ability of the heart to get oxygen to our muscles and how effectively our muscles use that oxygen. But to be effective, walking needs to be of at least moderate intensity, which means an intensity where you’re able to notice your breathing but can carry on a conversation without noticeable pauses between words. For many, this is a brisk walk.
Walking was also found to improve quality of life for depressed middle-aged women. Those who averaged at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise or just over 3.25 hours of walking each week reported feeling more energized and more social at their three-year follow up. They also reported feeling less pain.12 For many people, fitting in 10,000 steps a day takes a concerted effort to move around more. You might try, for instance:
Fitness trackers and fitness equipment can tally your calories burned while exercising, but they’re not always accurate. “Using a variety of sources and taking a ‘midpoint’ might help keep you honest,” says Hilaton. “I think it is important to keep in mind that all of these estimates of calories burned are just that: estimates. There are a lot of variables that go into the actual number of calories burned by any given individual in any exercise beyond speed and duration.” For a starting point, calculate your numbers with our Calories Burned Running Calculator.
4. US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, The President s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Physical activity and health: a report of the Surgeon General. Washington (DC): US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 1996. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/summary.htm myDr myDr provides comprehensive Australian health and medical information, images and tools covering symptoms, diseases, tests, medicines and treatments, and nutrition and fitness.
You should walk with great attention to your back foot, as though you’re peeling it off the ground like very strong Velcro. You should pay intense heed to the difference between each of your toes, as they touch and leave the ground. You should be aware of your foot’s contours, and this will activate your large posterior muscle chains, the hamstring and the glutes. Along with your active foot will come an open ankle; if you peel your foot off the ground in segments – so it’s not even thinking about becoming airborne until you come to the pivot point between the pad of your foot and your toes – your ankle will open up and become agile, intelligent.
I suggest keeping records of your weekly progress by writing down what happens, or at least checking off that you followed through, and then setting your weekly plan every week for at least three months. Then at three months, you can evaluate your progress and see if any changes need to be made. How will you know if you're ready to stop setting weekly goals each week? Ask yourself if you believe you will be exercising regularly in six months. If the answer is "I'm not sure," or "no," then you ought to continue to set weekly goals. If you are confident that you can maintain the behavior and will be exercising in six months, then you may not need to set weekly goals, but at the first sign of slipping, you ought to go back to it.
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