Fast walking burns fat.
Walking is a cardiovascular exercise, but unless it's done at a very fast pace or a long distance, it won't burn significant calories. Despite this disadvantage compared to other forms of cardio, there are many good reasons to walk. For beginning exercisers, more intense forms of cardio may be difficult or unsafe. Walking is a low-impact, easy way to gradually improve your fitness level so that you can eventually do more intense exercise. For people with injuries or health issues, walking may be the most extreme exercise that their health will allow, but still provide a way to stay at their best possible fitness level.
Lose Weight Gradually
Over enough time and distance, walking will slim you down. It increases your body's oxygen intake, which causes fat cells to be released to be burned as fuel. Although walking burns more fat as a fuel source than higher-intensity cardio, which burns both fat and carbohydrates, total weight loss or fat reduction through exercise depends on total calories burned. You will burn calories equal to one pound of weight by walking briskly for approximately six hours, or about 15 miles. By comparison, running burns one pound of weight in approximately two hours or less, or about 10 to 12 miles.
Strengthen Your Joints
Lack of regular exercise often leads to weak knees and joints, and increases the likelihood of bone and joint conditions like osteoporosis. Walking puts less impact on your knees and joints than running, stair climbing and other faster cardio exercises that put more extreme pressure on joints and bones. Regular walking strengthens the ligaments of the knees and leg muscles while reducing weight, putting less of a burden on the knees and joints.
Pace Yourself When Walking
Because it repeatedly uses the same muscles and joints, too much walking done incorrectly can also strain and damage the joints and knees. To avoid injury and get the most benefit from walking, warm up and cool down with leg stretches. To prevent foot injury, wear athletic shoes designed for walking with well-cushioned soles and good arch support. Some soreness is normal after exercise, but don't continue a walking program that causes pain. Adjust your exercise and see your doctor if pain continues.
Save the Planet
The average car produces 423 g of carbon dioxide per mile, which adds up to 5.1 metric tons per year, according to the EPA. Other greenhouse gases also produced by passenger vehicles - methane, nitrous oxide and air conditioning refrigerant - have an even greater global warming potential. In the time you would take to exercise anyway, you can benefit yourself and the environment by walking instead of driving to walkable distances. Keeping your body in fit shape to walk will help to maintain lifelong mobility and make you less dependent on others as you age.
Try Swimming or Biking
If the impact of walking is still too high, there are other exercises that have even less impact than walking. Swimming and biking exercise the muscles and knees but don't require body weight to be supported by the knees and other joints. More weight can be lost faster with swimming or biking than with walking. They are ultra-low-impact exercises that can be done at a higher cardio intensity than walking while still putting less strain on knees and joints.