Exercise: Walking

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.


I’m a big fan of walking. It’s great for cardiovascular training and also helps keep your bones strong because it is a form of weight-bearing exercise. And you don’t need any fancy equipment, so you can do it anywhere. Walking is also a great energy booster when you feel tired, and a perfect alternative to reaching for a sugary snack around 3-4 pm. Walking at a fast pace can burn as many calories as slow jogging, without the wear and tear on your joints. Plus, walking ranks right up there with jogging for its psychological benefits, as blood flow is increased to the frontal areas of the brain, which helps with logical thinking, planning and memory.

I enjoy walking outside because I can mix different surfaces and terrains to vary the intensity of my workout. Running tracks are another good option for walking outside. Many high schools allow local residents to use their outdoor tracks when they are not in use by the school. If you walk outside, be sure to take safety precautions. I always wear a reflective vest when I walk at night or in the early morning if it is still dark. Walking inside on a treadmill is another good option as it allows you to escape the elements and to increase the intensity by adding an incline. There are many good treadmills available that are made specifically for walking. You many also consider joining a gym to use their treadmills. Mall walking is also popular and safe.

If you begin a walking program, make sure you focus on your posture. You can also pump your arms to increase the intensity as you increase your pace. Try to walk at least 30 minutes at a time, five days per week. After a few weeks you will begin to notice a change in your body, especially your legs and glutes, and in the muscles in your hips. Make sure you get good footwear that allows you to rock from your heel to your toe as you walk. I like ASICS’ Gel models. Also be sure to stretch before and after your walk.


Last Updated: October 26, 2006

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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