How does walking measure up to other types of exercise?

23 June 2020


More and more people are discovering the joys and benefits of daily walks. Grab your activity tracker and get out there – try for 6,000 steps a day, or, even better, 10,000. A growing group of devotees swear by walking and claim it is at least as good for you as other sports. So what’s the story?

Don’t worry – you can hang on to that odometer: numerous studies show that walking is indeed good for you. The Japanese physician Yoshiro Hatano, for example, demonstrated that our health improves dramatically if we take an average of 10,000 steps a day, which is roughly equal to 8 kilometres.
You’ll burn fat, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your bones and loosen up your muscles, plus your sleep and your mood will improve.

So going for regular walks is a good idea, not only because it’s a very easy and safe form of exercise. There’s no risk of injuries, it doesn’t require a fancy gym membership, and it’s something you can literally do everywhere: at a local park, in your apartment complex stairwell or in the hallway of your office building. An odometer helps you to turn it into a fun and challenging game: have you reached your target for the day yet?

Starting point
Yet it takes more than walking alone to truly get fit. Going for daily walks helps you to achieve a basic level of fitness, but since you don’t really get to use your muscles and stamina during a walk, you miss out on the benefits of more high-intensity forms of exercise. Your heart rate remains fairly low, which means the fitness benefits are limited – as are the number of calories you burn. So walking every day is a good foundation for a healthy lifestyle, but it’s not the be-all and end-all.

Higher intensity
The Dutch Healthy Exercise Standard states that adults must engage in moderate exercise at least 5 days a week for 30 minutes. Walking can easily be incorporated into such a lifestyle, but the results will be far better if you play a sport once or twice a week that demands a little more of your stamina and muscle strength. You can get this from higher-intensity exercises such as running, BodyPump or fitness.

How financially fit are you?
Besides a healthy life, you want a healthy pension. By staying aware of the pension market and react to it in a flexible way, we keep your pension in top condition. Do you already have a pension scheme with BeFrank? Then you can see how your pension is doing on your Personal Pension page. Here you will also find the most important updates. Do you not have a pension scheme with BeFrank yet? Ask your employer about the possibilities.