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View Full Version : What exactly does walking "work"???


maslex
04-21-2010, 08:22 AM
We got into a conversation at work about different types of exercises and what is best for each person. For some reason, in my mindset I think that walking only works your legs. Ya see....I carry most of my weight in my lower half (I have huge thighs but most of my weight settles around my lower stomach, hips & butt). I'm looking for something to ultimately whittle down the lower half. Everyone at work was telling me that walking was the best exercise for that but in my mind I just don't see it. I guess I don't see how walking works your stomach/hips/butt area, just your legs....

Can someone give me your input?

PS...I also posted this over on the WeightWatcher board, so sorry if this is a re-post.

pjlla
04-21-2010, 08:27 AM
Walking is cardio. It doesn't target a specific area so much as it is an overall, calorie burning, cardio workout. If you want it more intense, you can add weights... weight belt, hand weights, ankle weights (just be careful with those... you could end up with knee problems).

If you want to tone muscle in the abs, hips, waist, glutes, you will need to do specific exercises for those areas.... lunges are great for most of that area (both side and front)... also good are squats and crunches. HTH.......P

FireDancer
04-21-2010, 09:01 AM
Just to reiterate what pjlla said, it is impossible to spot reduce fat. There is a misconception that any exorcise directly reduces fat, it doesn't. Exorcise burns calories and under the right circumstances those calories come from your stored fat. Walking is a low impact form of cardio. It doesn't do anything to directly remove fat from anywhere. It uses calories which can come from your stored fat and builds muscle.

Now, another misconception is that cardio is the best way to burn fat. I think you need both cardio and resistance training. This could be with weights, bands, or even just body weight but you do need both. Building muscle is a good way to burn fat. Not only does your body need a lot of energy to create muscle and that can come from those same fat stores but your body has to maintain that muscle every day. Maintaining muscles uses more calories per day then maintaining fat so adding muscle will cause you to use up more calories everyday just by existing. It may not reflect on the scale because muscle weighs more but that is one reason why the scale isn't the best way to gauge weight.

Back to the original question (I know, I can be long winded) walking uses calories and does build some muscle in the legs. A better way to use walking to lose weight is to change your pace often while walking. Without getting into the krebs cycle and aerobic vs anaerobic exercise you will burn more fat by causing your body to restart the cycle. Walking at a moderately difficult steady pace is good because it burns calories and builds endurance but altering the pace every couple of minutes is even better. Same goes for terrain, waling on hilly surfaces is better then flat for the same reasons.

Tiger Lily 03
04-22-2010, 01:58 PM
We got into a conversation at work about different types of exercises and what is best for each person. For some reason, in my mindset I think that walking only works your legs. Ya see....I carry most of my weight in my lower half (I have huge thighs but most of my weight settles around my lower stomach, hips & butt). I'm looking for something to ultimately whittle down the lower half. Everyone at work was telling me that walking was the best exercise for that but in my mind I just don't see it. I guess I don't see how walking works your stomach/hips/butt area, just your legs....

Can someone give me your input?...Whew, I'm reaching way back to my kinesiology, physiology college training.

Information already given is correct as I understand. I'm looking to add something you may not have thought. When you are walking you are using more than your leg muscles. Arms are swinging with the movement, using shoulder muscles in this too. Core muscles (the ones strengthened in Pilates) are being used to hold the body upright. If you want to get a very basic overall workout, walking is a great start if you can do this. There are varying levels of walking as exercise and this is where you will see muscle strengthening as intensity is changed.

Key to the weight issue is calories in must always be less than calories out in order to effect weight loss. No matter what. You will not spot reduce--that does not happen. You will strengthen and tone and find inches falling as your muscles become more efficient and your movement improves and as your eating choices become healthier. You want good fuel choices to help the process.

Best WISHes on your journey and I hope you find success. Keep us informed how thing proceed.

windwalker
04-22-2010, 02:20 PM
I walk three to four days a week and run in a pool 2 days a week. Proper walking technique will work 95% of your muscles. Your stride starts from your butt, hips and waist and incorperates all the leg muscles. As Lily said the arm swing works your arms and shoulders. As a walker your arm swing should be more to the back than the front.

The pool work I do builds muscle, just as adding weight, the resistance of the water is like adding weight to every muscle on my body. I compete as a walker and feel that working the whole body together is better for me since smooth efficient motion is my goal. That way I don't end up with imbalances.

Dave:hippie:

believe
05-01-2010, 09:22 PM
Proper form is essential in walking to get the most benefit. Make sure you are upright and abs tight.