On most mornings I see a large group of people going for a walk. Some walk briskly others don’t. They are strictly following the thirty minute a day walking regime advocated by a lot of people. Before I say anything further, I would like to make a strong case for those who walk everyday as undoubtedly this is way better than doing nothing.
An objective analysis for those who want to push their bodies into getting fit, however, would reveal that a thirty minute walk results in a calorie burn of approximately seventy five to a hundred calories at best. Further, unless you mix it up with some form of very brisk walking or better still running you are unlikely to increase your heart rate to anywhere close to your max threshold heart rate which means that your body is unlikely to get into your anaerobic or your VO2 max zone. Experts would easily tell you that the best form of exercise is one that takes you at least for a part of the time into close to your maximum heart rate zone.
Your body is composed of different sets of major and minor muscles. Engaging in any single form of exercise, ends up working out a few of these muscles vigorously. If you repeat the exercise frequently, the body adapts to the exercise and the muscle group being worked out do not get stressed which would result in muscle build up. Therefore any good trainer would get you to mix up your exercise routine and continuously increase the stress of the exercise. This helps you build different muscle groups as well as continuously strengthen your body. For example if you run twenty minutes everyday, your body will adapt to this form of exercise and by the third month, the benefits of this will plateau.
It is therefore best to mix up your exercise routine and sorry, walking in the malls on your shopping trips is simply not a good substitute to a well designed and varied exercise routine. Having said that, if you are not doing anything else, please don’t stop walking.