Walking: Perhaps the Greatest Exercise of All

Here’s one simple exercise you probably do every day—walking.

You walk around the house. You walk from the parking lot to work. You walk up and down the aisles at the grocery store. But do you count that walking as exercise?

In a 2012 interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, prominent fitness writer Gretchen Reynolds says that walking is “ . . . without a doubt, the single best exercise that exists.”

It’s time to give walking the recognition it deserves. Here are some benefits of walking that you can share with your students:

  • It’s easy! Just put on your shoes and go.
  • It can be a social activity. Walk and talk with a friend.
  • Walking is a great moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. You won’t develop the endurance to run a marathon by walking, but you will get some aerobic benefit—your heart and lungs will get stronger.
  • Walking strengthens muscles throughout the body, especially the legs. Even the important abdominal muscles receive some benefit from walking.
  • As you walk, your circulation rate increases, pumping more oxygen to the brain. The result? You’re more invigorated, which makes you more alert and better able to focus on important school work when you return to the classroom.

Walking is also an excellent pick-me-up. If energy levels flag in the classroom, try taking your students out for a 5-to-10-minute walk. See how they feel when they return to the classroom. I bet they’ll be better able to focus on their work!