Regular brisk walking is a great exercise for anybody! It's easy and can be done anytime, anywhere. The Department of Physiotherapy from Singapore General Hospital (SGH) explains.
Want the easy way to lower your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, while improving heart and mental health? Just (brisk) walk regularly!
Walking can be done anywhere, anytime, and it requires minimal equipment other than a proper pair of walking shoes and comfortable clothes. With over 300 parks and park connectors located all over Singapore, walking is convenient and a fun activity that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.
For even greater health benefits, try brisk walking.
Brisk walking means walking fast enough to make you feel slightly breathless, but yet comfortable enough to let you hold a conversation with a companion at the same time. It is a low-impact sport suitable for everyone, regardless of your fitness level.
Speeds vary among individuals, but brisk walking usually requires you to move at least 5 km/h. You should experience a slight elevation of your heart rate, heavier breathing and you should start sweating a little after a while.
Benefits of brisk walking
According to the Health Promotion Board, regular brisk walking can:
Help reduce your risk of
high blood pressure (hypertension),
high cholesterol and
Relieve stress and anxiety
Improve your fitness and stamina
Burn off excess calories and help with weight management.
Brisk walking: How fast and how often
A simple way to figure out if your walking pace is too slow,too fast or just right is the talk test. If you:
Can talk comfortably with some breathlessness, you're probably walking at a moderate, brisk pace.
Cannot talk easily because you're out of breath, your pace is probably vigourous.
Can sing out loud, your pace is likely too slow to be considered brisk walking. Time to pick up the pace!
Brisk walking is recommended to be done 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week.
If you are a beginner or cannot afford to exercise for long periods of time:
Consider doing 10 minutes each day to begin with, and start by walking at a slightly faster pace than you are used to.
As you get accustomed to exercising regularly:
Increase the duration by 5 minutes every 2 weeks, and increase your walking speed gradually. You could also do 10 minutes of brisk walking 3 times a day, which adds up to 30 minutes.
If your goal is to beat diabetes, obesity and heart disease, double your exercise time to over 300 minutes a week.
5 Tips to brisk walk the right way
Brisk walking may seem straightforward but do remember the basics.
1. Warm up!
Ensure that you perform a proper warm-up, which means starting with a slow walk, then gradually increasing the speed of your walking over a few minutes, before reaching your desired brisk walking speed. This prepares your body for the demands of the physical activity and reduces the injury risk.
2. Dress right
Be sure that you are appropriately dressed for the activity. Clothing should be loose, comfortable and light to allow unobstructed range of movement and to absorb perspiration. Shoes should be well cushioned and provide adequate support.
4. Mind the heat and humidity!
Considering Singapore’s tropical climate, it is wise to perform any outdoor physical activity when the sun is less intense. It is advisable to wear a hat and SPF 30+ sunscreen lotion even on cloudy days, and to reapply sunscreen regularly. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
5. PAR-Q before starting
If you have never exercised or do it very rarely, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) recommends that all individuals who plan to become more physically active to first complete a
Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q).
The PAR-Q will tell you if you should seek your doctor's advice before proceeding with any exercise. If you are still unsure, consult a physiotherapist to obtain an individualised training program.
Congrats, you're another step closer to better health! Now it's time to put that knowledge to good use and start walking. Jio (invite) your friends and loved ones too!
Check out other exercise articles:
Ready to Run? 6 Health Benefits Why You Should
Cycling: Tips to Ride Safely and Effectively
10-Minute Full-Body Workout You Can Do at Home
5 Ways to Stay Motivated to Exercise Regularly
3 Best Exercises for the Heart
Top Exercises for Seniors