The next time you’re in the kitchen making dinner or watching TV, don’t just stand around. Try walking in place.
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Finding those small moments where you can get a few minutes of exercise in can be key to adopting a healthy lifestyle. You don’t need to be a runner or even take a stroll around the block to chip away at getting 150 minutes of exercise a week.
So, how can walking in place help you reach your wellness goals? Exercise physiologist Jordan Boreman, MS, CES, explains why walking in place is an exercise that can work for anyone.
Is walking in place good exercise?
Yes, walking in place can be a great way to get exercise.
“Anything that gets you moving instead of just sitting or lying down is going to be beneficial for you in the long run,” says Boreman. “By walking in place, you’re raising your heart rate, which is going to signal to your body to start pumping more oxygen and blood to your muscles to help them move more efficiently, thus burning more calories.”
You can walk in place almost anywhere. Think about walking in place while waiting in line at the store, cooking dinner, watching TV, talking on the phone or folding laundry. Get creative with the different places and ways you can walk in place.
In fact, walking in place for 30 minutes can burn about 100 to 200 calories.
“Walking in place is good exercise, especially for people who may have certain orthopaedic limitations,” says Boreman. “And you can go at your own pace with it, too.”
How to walk in place
It seems simple, right? All you’re doing is walking in the same spot. But Boreman has a few tips so you get the most out of each step.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Choose something with good support and a comfortable inner sole. Also, make sure you wear breathable and comfortable clothes.
- Move your arms. Swinging your arms from side to side while you walk in place is going to help you burn more calories.
- Get your heart rate up. While the American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise throughout the week, aim to get within 50% to 60% of your max heart rate if you are just starting. Eventually you will need to increase your intensity over time as your body adapts.
- Lift those legs. For beginners, start out by bringing your knees up slightly as you walk in place. For an advanced move, try marching in place or quickening your steps.
- Set a goal. While the number of minutes you spend exercising is more important, other factors like the number of steps you take each day can help motivate you, too. Start out with 7,500 and aim to get above 10,000 steps a day.
Benefits of walking in place
Walking in place is a simple way to get exercise. Here are some of the other benefits:
- It’s free.
- It’s easy.
- It’s low-impact exercise.
- It burns calories.
- It fits into a busy schedule.
- It can be done anywhere.
- It doesn’t require any additional equipment.
“Walking in place is going to be convenient for people with a busy schedule,” notes Boreman. “If you’ve only got five to 10 minutes between the next meeting, doing a little bit of walking in place can improve your cardiovascular system and keep you energized for the next meeting.”
Ways to walk in place
Don’t just think about walking forward. Boreman says that walking in different planes of motion can offer some variety.
“Even adding a little weight that you can hold while you’re walking can add a bit of resistance and variety to your workout,” says Boreman.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting at least two days a week of muscle-strengthening exercise, so adding weights to your routine would be beneficial for your overall health.
You can even do a few push-ups or crunches in between walking in place.
Can walking in place help you lose weight?
If you’re trying to lose weight, walking in place can help, especially for fitness newbies.
“It’s very good for people who are just starting out,” says Boreman. “Walking in place is an exercise that’s going to help you burn calories over a short time span.”
But Boreman says factoring in diet and how often you exercise will play a role in the results you see.
“Over time, your body is going to get used to the exercise that you’re doing,” he notes. “So varying it up and increasing intensity as you go on can help with additional weight loss.”
To keep walking in place fresh and fun, search for online videos and classes. “Different classes use music with tempo that can help you keep pace along with instructors to guide you through the workout,” adds Boreman.
Regardless of how you walk in place, this easy form of exercise can be a good tool to have in your workout toolbox.
“It’s convenient, it’s something that you don’t have to travel anywhere to do it either,” Boreman says.