We have evolved and adapted this rhythmic motion to minimize impact on joints compared to all forms of long duration exercises. We have adapted the motion to maximize distance traveled with minimum of effort.
Evidence supports walking as a form of therapy: be it as a form of physical health prescription (improving bodily functions, weight loss, recovery from back strains, accelerating recovery of many joint and muscle injuries, to simple recovery from hard training sessions, etc), or be it as a form of mental health prescription (the stroll through the forests and hills in pursuit of a solution, to the stroll with a trusted friend discussing a problem and possibly their counsel, to research establishing clear links with improving a myriad of psychological maladies), finally be it to simply walking and engaging in light hearted social interactions with fellow foot warriors, a social prescription of sorts. Walking clearly is as important for the mind as the physical as the social aspects of a human. Yet it is the most underused and neglected from of free exercise. Walking as a family is a lost entity in modernity. Likewise walking as a form of personal daily activity is also a lost entity in modern times.
Walking primarily involves engaging the lower body muscles: the gluteus, hamstring, calf and knee extensor muscle units with the free motion of the upper body. The latter, the coordinated upper body motion is how one can increase the exercise returns from walking with more pronounced actions of the upper body with each step, even to the point of the use of poles to walk in Nordic ski walking style pulling the body along while pushing with ones legs. The Nordic ski pole walking is the ultimate exercise not only engaging the large lower body muscle groups but also now engaging the core and large back muscles resulting in a fuller body workout, and a more defined and noticeable body. When done properly it is a primary form of training for all Nordic skiers in the summer off months. And we know how over the top those people are into fitness.
Walking is simple: Shoes. Clothing. Water. A smile. And maybe some friends and you are off. Get to it. A Minimum of 150 minutes weekly is the foundation for a healthier life. And our preference is grab a set of poles and rock it out with twice the energy out put for every minute you are active Nordic walking. Twice the energy output means only one thing, twice the energy use or twice the fat burned… hmmm there is a novel idea??