Why Walk?

walkers

Walking: The Slower, Surer Way to Fitness

Wellness at Williams is pleased to offer Walk Abouts, a series of walking routes around campus to help you get started walking your way to fitness.

Read on about the benefits of walking, or click on the link above, print out the routes, and lace up your walking shoes!

Why walk? People walk for many reasons: for exercise, for pleasure, to reduce tension, to find solitude, or just to get from one place to another.

Once dismissed as being “too easy,” walking has gained new respect as a means of improving physical fitness. Studies show that, when done briskly on a regular schedule, walking can:

  • improve the body’s ability to consume oxygen during exertion
  • lower the resting heart rate
  • reduce blood pressure
  • increase the efficiency of the heart and lungs
  • burn excess calories

Brisk walking — one mile in 15 minutes — burns approximately the same number of calories per mile as does running. And a heavier person will burn more calories than a lighter person over the same distance.

Although increasing walking speed does not burn significantly more calories per mile, a more vigorous walking pace will produce more dramatic conditioning effects. How much a person’s fitness improves depends on their initial fitness level. A person in poor shape will benefit from a slower pace, while someone in better condition will need to walk farther or faster to improve. Another residual benefit of brisk walking is an elevated metabolism — your body continues to burn calories for a period of time even after you stop!

Walking is virtually injury-free and has the lowest dropout rate of any form of exercise. Walking also has a substantial psychological payoff: walkers report that they feel better and sleep better, and that their mental outlook improves.

In addition, walking has several unique advantages:

  • You don’t need lessons.
    All you need to do is step up your pace and distance, and walk more often.
  • You can do it almost anywhere.
    Any sidewalk, road, trail, park, field, or shopping mall will do.
  • You can do it almost anytime.
    You can set your own schedule and walk in any weather.
  • It’s free.
    All you need is a sturdy, comfortable pair of shoes. Lace ‘em up and move ‘em out!

Wellness at Williams is pleased to offer Walk Abouts, a series of walking routes around campus to help you get started walking your way to fitness.