Is Walking Considered Cardio?

When you go for your daily walk around the neighbourhood, you might see runners or cyclists zooming by you, but are their intense exercises any better than yours? After all, not everyone, at every fitness level, at every time of life, will be able to run, ride, or swim. Is walking cardio? is a question we posed to specialists who were able to definitively respond. Additionally, we discuss how to power walk for an even more effective workout as well as all the advantages of walking.

According to Marisa Golan, a certified personal trainer, Base Ops Fitness Coach at Fort Athletic Club, and owner of e(M)powered personal training, including a balance of all different sorts of movements—like cardio, strength training, and active recovery days—is crucial for a healthy heart and body. However, a cardio workout doesn’t have to involve burpees and sprints (although it may if that’s what you want it to), according to the expert. She continues, “It really depends on what your goals are, your degree of fitness, and what stage of life you’re in.

According to Nicole Weinberg, M.D., a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, getting in some sort of movement that gets your heart working hard for around 30 minutes a day, five days a week, is what’s most crucial when it comes to a cardiovascular workout. Andie Hecker, a celebrity trainer who has worked with celebrities like Margot Robbie, says that this can occasionally look like three to four days a week of aerobic activities, with resistance or strength training added in on a couple of days as well.

Is walking cardio? And what counts as cardio, anyway?

Golan contends that during cardio, your pulse rate might serve as a reliable gauge of how hard you’re working. You can use the straightforward method of 220 minus your age to determine your maximum heart rate (the rate you should never exceed). According to Golan, this computation is not the be-all, end-all, and numerous investigations have indicated that it may be a little too broad to be precise. However, it’s a fantastic starting point to use to determine where you should be for a solid cardio workout. Using the three exercise zones, you may determine where your heart rate should be after you know your maximum heart rate.

  • Zone one. Known as the recovery zone, Golan says your heart rate will be between 65 and 75% of your calculated maximum heart rate.
  • Zone two. To achieve an anaerobic workout, Golan suggests your heart rate will reach around 75 to 80% of your calculated maximum heart rate.
  • Zone three. For a true high-intensity workout, your heart rate will hit in this range for short periods of time. For no more than 60 seconds, your heart rate will be between 80 to 90% of the calculated maximum heart rate, Golan says.

The third zone, or roughly 85% of your maximal heart rate, is what Dr. Weinberg believes you need to do for what cardiologists consider a cardiovascular exercise. She underlines that for significant cardiovascular advantages, you should strive to maintain your heart rate at this level during your activity even if you do not need to keep it there the entire time.

“You have flow modifications throughout your arteries when your pulse rate is at that level,” she claims. Since your heart is a muscle, exercising that muscle, ensuring enough blood flow, and causing your heart to enlarge and contrast are all important.

Thrilled to experience the advantages of walking? On Saturday, October 1, 2022, take part in our free virtual 5K—the walking may be virtual, but the community is not. Register here and send any inquiries to by email.

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Golan believes employing the talk test is a wonderful alternative to using a heart-monitoring fitness tracker to measure your heart rate to make sure you’re pushing yourself to get a cardiovascular workout done. “You’re probably not pushing yourself hard enough if you’re doing cardio if you can have a full conversation without being out of breath,” she advises. You’ll probably be in a good position for heart-healthy movement if you try to become a little out of breath during talking.

What are the advantages of walking, and is it healthy to walk?

The benefits of walking outside outweigh the fact that you can certainly walk on a treadmill (which is a terrific choice!). Walking in the sunshine can boost your vitamin D levels, get your circulation flowing, and refresh your mind (bringing you joy and lowering your stress). Hecker also appreciates the fact that walking is frequently recommended as an initial form of exercise following surgery and has the potential to have therapeutic effects.

Dr. Weinberg continues, “Walking is not only excellent for your heart; it’s also good for muscular development, lung health, digestion, and it can boost your immune system. After eating, she always advises going for a walk because it can help reduce blood sugar levels and using the calories from the meal as fuel for the walk.

Additionally, walking is very beneficial for people with joint problems. “I enjoy strolling. As for the joints, I adore it. It’s merely a low-impact aerobic exercise, claims Hecker. Anyone with joint problems or who prefers not to run or engage in that high-impact, high-intensity style of cardio is encouraged to try it, in my opinion.

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Is walking a good cardio exercise?

Dr. Weinberg is a big proponent of walking as a kind of cardiovascular exercise that is easy on your joints, even though it can be just as effective as running or jogging. She also claims that her elderly patients constantly attribute their longevity to walking. However, your dog’s daily walk might not be sufficient. The secret to turning walking into an efficient cardio workout is to move consistently for the entire duration of your stroll while feeling a bit out of breath.

And even if you walk a little less on one day, according to Golan, this might be a fantastic alternative for active recovery days, when you’re not necessarily working out but are using movement to aid in your recovery from activity days. Another benefit of a slower stroll is non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which refers to a variety of activities you can do that involve movement but aren’t essential weightlifting or high-intensity interval training, such as cleaning the house or walking the dog.

Golan declares, “I’m all for going for walks. “It’s a terrific doorway to greater intensity cardio workouts if you’re someone who wants to work on endurance training or weight loss,” said the athlete.

How to maximize your walking workout?

We all know that walking is a fantastic kind of exercise, but you may want to mix it up a little to gain even more cardio benefits from your walk. There are many of excellent methods to begin if you want to maximize your walking workout. So, before you lace up your walking shoes, consider these advice from the pros for stepping up your walk:

1. Quicken the pace

The first thing you should do is make sure you’re moving at a speed that causes you to feel out of breath or to have a higher heart rate. Dr. Weinberg advises that while listening to a podcast while walking can be fantastic, other options include listening to fast-paced music or going for a stroll with a friend.

2. Combine it

Golan advises getting your blood pumping and heart pumping by speeding up your walk, walking uphill, or incorporating light weights into your exercise if you want to increase its cardiovascular advantages. Hiking, according to Golan, can be a fantastic alternative to be kind to your joints and still get your heart rate up if you’re really trying to vary things up.

3. Continue.

Hecker advises lengthening the length of your stroll as a wonderful alternative if walking more quickly isn’t an option for you. If you often run for 30 minutes but decide to walk for an hour instead one day, you can still reap the same benefits, she advises.

In the end, it’s crucial to simply start moving as soon as you can. Dr. Weinberg claims that “we complicate exercising so much.” It’s really not that difficult. You are two-footed. You are outdoors. Use it, please.

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