Whether you’re a regular visitor to the gym, constantly thinking about building muscle, or a workout enthusiast with eyes firmly focused on those daily 10,000, have you really wondered if walking builds muscle? After all, this is our most common form of exercise, and for some who may have trouble lifting weights or engaging in intense cardio training, it is the only form of exercise.
“Walking is primarily considered a form of low-intensity cardiovascular exercise,” says Brett Starkowitz, head coach and head of education. Ten health and fitness (opens in new tab). “It doesn’t usually cause significant changes in muscle mass or tone.” Well, then, right? Well, not quite, so don’t stop looking best treadmills (opens in new tab) just yet.
“Walking falls into the category of endurance exercises that are known to form slow muscle fibers; fibers used mainly for periods of continuous activity. People may notice a slight increase in leg size after walking as the legs “swell” to absorb nutrients and remove waste, e.g. lactic acid (opens in new tab)“Starkowitz says.
This may explain those bloated calves after the usual walk in the local park, but unfortunately the change in volume won’t last more than an hour after that. However, in 2018. a study has shown that you continue to walk regularly for long periods of time and those calves may stick. University of Nagoya (opens in new tab) found that the muscle quality of 31 participants improved after 10 weeks of regular 30-minute walking.
So while you’re not going to create an Olympic weightlifting legacy on foot, you need to build muscle from it. Depending on what kind of muscle you work as you go, you can burn fat by doing so, and we get Starkowitz tips to help you smooth out your daily walks and start building muscle faster.
What muscles work while walking?
When you walk, you will first work on your lower body and mainly stimulate the quadriceps, occipital muscles, buttocks, calves and hip muscles, as well as the muscles of the spine and abdomen, all of which play an important role in stabilizing the trunk moving forward.
“Walking is one of the best workouts of all legs,” says Starkowitz, who also mentions the need to use small arm weights or a Nordic stick to extend walking to a full body workout.
Is it possible to burn fat while walking?
Yes. “Cardiovascular exercise combined with proper nutrition is a great recipe for burning fat,” says Starkowitz. “The most important thing is to monitor your heart rate and work in the so-called ‘fat burning zone’.” This is usually equivalent to working at 60-70% of your maximum heart rate, which is usually equivalent to burning 7-12 calories per minute.
Another important aspect to consider when looking for fat burning results while walking is duration.
“When working at such a low to medium intensity, you need to make sure your walks are long enough to see significant results,” says Starkowitz.
Also keep in mind that if you want to exercise to lose weight, it is best in the morning after the test International Journal of Obesity (opens in new tab)found that participants in a 10-month supervised exercise program successfully lost weight while exercising from 7 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
“Regular walking helps maintain lean muscle mass,” says Starkowitz. “Muscle mass, unlike fat, is metabolically active, which means you burn more calories every day.
Need help with additional steps? Install one of the best walking tracks (opens in new tab) you can take a walk under the table and work.
Maximum muscle growth while walking
According to Starkowitz, there are several ways to maximize muscle growth potential while walking.
“A popular choice is to include intervals when going at a steady pace and doing a ‘force walk,’ a light run, or a sprint,” says Starkowitz. “It will have many benefits for the endurance and strength of the cardiovascular system, including the rapid contraction of muscle fibers.
“You can also pause and do some weight training while walking, such as squats, squats, push-ups or boards. As you walk, try to take small intervals of 20 to 30 seconds of weight to increase the effect of cross-training. Or change the direction of your gait by adding back and sideways intervals to improve balance and stability.
In addition to these multifunctional forms of exercise, you can also increase your walking weight. We’ve mentioned hand weights and Nordic sticks, but you might want to think about a weighted vest or ankle weights.
“Heavy vests have the added benefit of forcing you to engage and strengthen your back muscles to maintain a good posture while walking,” says Starkowitz.
In addition, walking with weights can also increase bone muscle density and reduce the risk of fractures, based on systemic 2018. review. BioMed Research International (opens in new tab).
Another great way to strengthen your muscles is to walk off flat ground and climb a slope.
“Walking on paths, roads, grass, sloping or uneven surfaces or unstable surfaces such as sand or gravel will make the calf, ankle and foot muscles harder than on the sidewalk, so they will have to work harder to keep their balance. and stability, ”says Starkowitz. “Try alternating your walking route with a few different slopes and surfaces, and if you find a set of stairs while walking, climb them.
And if the thought of off-roading is a complete deterrent to walking outside, take a walk inside with a treadmill. “Work at different inclines and speeds to change your workout intensity and muscle contraction,” says Starkowitz. “Finally, if you go on a treadmill, release the handrails. You will increase your calorie burning and core muscle contraction much more.