Walking is primarily viewed as a form of low-intensity cardiovascular exercise.
It generally does not cause significant changes in either muscle mass or tone.
Walking falls under the category of endurance exercises, which are known to build slow-twitch muscle fibers; the fibers predominantly used for periods of sustained activity. People may notice a slight increase in leg size post-walking as the legs ‘swell’ to take in nutrients and remove waste products – such as lactic acid.
A 2018 study by Nagoya University found that muscle quality was improved among 31 participants after 10 weeks of regular 30-minute sets of walking.
Walking is predominantly going to be working your lower body, and mainly stimulating your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves and hip adductors, as well as your spine and abdominal muscles, which all have a significant role in stabilizing your trunk as you move forwards.
Cardiovascular exercise, along with the correct diet, is a great recipe for burning fat.
The key is to monitor your heart rate and work in what is known as the “Fat Burning Zone,” working at 60%-70% of your maximal heart rate, which in general equates to a 7-12 calorie burn per minute.
Another important aspect to consider when looking for fat-burning results from walking is duration.
Walking on trails, roads, grass, inclined or uneven surfaces, or unstable ones like sand or gravel will challenge the muscles of your lower leg, ankles and feet more than on pavement, and they will have to work harder to maintain balance and stability.
Alternate between working at different inclines and speeds to vary the intensity and muscle recruitment of the workout.
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