Walking Is Not Exercise

Walking Is Not Exercise!

Did you know that walking is NOT considered exercise? This is not just my opinion but standards set by the American College of Sports Medicine Guidelines (ACSM Guidelines). However, many people do not understand this. Which is why I made this video to help explain why…enjoy!

Walking is Not Exercise!

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Walking Is Not Exercise Video Summary

Walking is not exercise as stated by ACSM (American College Of Sports Medicine) Guidelines!

The ACSM Guidelines state that the Exercise Minimums to not be labeled as “sedentary” (without exercise) are:

ACSM’s Guidelines – Weekly Exercise Minimums:

% VO2 Max
Minutes / Day
Days / Week

Moderate40-60%30 min.≥ 5


Vigorous60-85%20 min.≥ 3


A Combination of these 2 Intensities

* Williams, L., Wilkins. (2014). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. American College of Sports Medicine. Ninth Edition. [Text]

Moderate Intensity Exercise: Running, rowing, swimming, hiking, cycling, playing sport at a pace that is it difficult to maintain a conversation. 

Vigorous Intensity Exercise: Sprinting, rowing, jumping, swimming, cycling, playing sport at a pace in which you cannot maintain a conversation.

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So, walking is simply not intense enough to be exercise, or a “workout”, for most healthy individuals.

Walking can be exercise for those first learning to walk or the elderly who are losing their ability to walk. However, for most of the population, you need more intensity for it to be considered an exercise routine or workout.

Of course, walking does have some benefits, such as improved blood circulation, increased insulin resistance, and it obviously burns more calories than just sitting around.

However, for those of you trying to lose weight, build muscleget stronger, become more athletic, or reach your goals, your training needs to be done with greater intensity. Walking for exercise is just not enough!

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Please leave your thoughts on “Walking For Exercise” below!


20 thoughts on “Walking Is Not Exercise”

  1. I have been walking for years I’m unable to jog because I have asthma.
    I have lost weight with walking also and I’ve done this since I was a teenager andI’m61yearsold.

    1. Walking is a great daily activity that everyone needs to do more of. It has many benefits and does help with weight loss, among other health indicators. However, walking is not exercise, because it simply is not intense enough for most people.
      The point of this post is not to bash walking, but rather encourage people to do more in order to obtain greater benefits. If you cannot run, walking is a great choice, but I encourage you to find something even more intense (cycling, cardio machines, etc.) that you can do in order to obtain greater benefits for yourself.

  2. In fairness, Ryan does state that walking is not an exercise for MOST people. People with disabilities, older people, younger kids just getting started, and the like are almost always directed to start a walking program to get stronger than they currently are. Having been the “smallest” kid then advancing, as I grew taller & stronger, into an above average athlete, I knew I needed to increase & vary my workouts to get faster & stronger, gain quicker reflexes & reaction time. I varied my workout routine depending on the sport/activity I was trading for (and deployment schedule).

    Now, I am the one with various disabilities (including chronic pain, multiple joint replacements, fusions and of course, arthritis & inflammation everywhere). I have had to relearn everything about working out because my body could no longer even think about doing anything except starting over using walking as the second exercise (stretching being the first & last).

    In summary, for the vast majority of healthy and physically capable people, a walking program in an entry level activity to warm up & cool down before & after an exercise routine. My many years of experience in exercise, physical training, strength training, athletic activities, many surgeries & recovery therapy and all of the rest only bare out Ryan’s comments.

    Remember, nothing suits all of the people, all of the time. Look for the positive aspects, ask the questions to make it best for you. Too many people look to be too critical too much of the time. In order to improve oneself & their conditions, develop thicker skin & be determined to improve.

  3. Your comments and generalizations are very insulting. I am not uneducated. I spent my adult life doing all sorts of workouts – some with trainers, some without – and now I have chronic pain. I walk every day, between 3 and 5 miles. I walk hills that leave me breathless and my heart racing. Walking can 100% be safe and effective exercise and to make generalizations like you do makes YOU look like the uneducated one.

    1. I am sorry you feel insulted. However, please know that I do not make these standards. I am simply trying to explain what the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Guidelines are for exercise.

  4. I understand where you’re coming from, I really do, but saying this is only discouraging ppl who hate to exercise, from exercising at all. What would you rather have a couch potato or someone who walks everyday? Part of being healthy is feeling good about yourself. If getting up off the couch and walking helps someone feel good and they think of it as exercising, what’s wrong with that? How are you helping anyone by calling ppl uneducated or insulting ppl? There is science behind the benefits of walking. I agree ppl need to do more than walk, but for many, that’s all they can do. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking

    1. Hey Tamara! Thank you for your comment!
      First, this video is not meant to discourage anyone from walking to get in some daily movement. This video is meant to help educate people about the fact that they need to not only walk, but also progress to harder forms of activity, if they want to reach their goals and live a healthy life.
      The whole reason of why I thought to make this video is because of both what I learned in college about the ACSM Gudilines for exercise and mainly from the number of people I meet weekly that do the exact same simple daily activities, such as taking short walks on the streets near their houses a few times a week, and never progress towards their goals or greatly improve their health. They see those light walks as “exercise” that is going to give them all the benefits they need to cure their health problems, yet it never does and they just keep having more and more things build up.
      Now, of course I will always prefer a person that goes for daily walks over a couch potato. I know of and beleive in the benefits of walking and I want people to go for their usual walks every single day. Walking is a great place to start with making changes and I encourage people to take walks all the time. The thing is, I also make sure that they do more than just walking or at least plan for it in the future, if they need to start really slow, because walking is not enough.
      Walking is not enough to fight off diabetes, heart disease or cancer, and it is not going to give anyone a 6-pack or even let them reach their weight loss goals.
      Many people want to take the easy way out and in life there is no real easy way out. To really make a difference, they need exercise. Real exercise on top of their walks for recovery.
      It’s a hard truth, but a lot of people I know have some serious life threatening health issues, and I would rather be disliked for educating people than let any of them off too easy and something tragic happens to them because of it.

  5. lol People who consider walking to the bathroom, going into a cab or getting another plate of food, as walking exercise, are lazy individuals who obviously do not know the difference.
    As a professional, you need to welcome and invite all who are looking to understand the fundamentals of functional movement, exercising, and stretching.. but not everyone comes from a fitness related background.
    If someone speed walks 5km a day, you wouldn’t consider that exercise? If a person who did this came to you for advice, you would say, “Your walking does not count as exercise?.. We need to condition you.”
    You’d be naive and extremely bias if you believed that to be true.
    I’ve attended university and college, graduated with a diploma is SSC, with my NCCP lvl 1 weightlifting certification, and 4 years as a competitive weightlifter.. I know the difference between walking for another plate of food, and walking 5-10km a day.. and let me tell you, despite popular controversial belief.. there is certainly a difference.

    1. Wow, Mr. McCoy, I am really enjoying our professional and honestly opinionated talk about this. Really, I am!
      I agree that many people are lazy and even think of taking the stairs for 10-30 seconds is considered exercise, which is why I made this video. It is for the people that think they are getting all these great benefits just by taking a walk around their property or the nearby streets for less than an hour once or twice a week. Or think that simple daily tasks are adding up so much that they never need to do any actual work to achieve weight loss. It is for the people that want the easy way out to reach their goals.
      I am telling them, by stating the National Guidelines for Exercise, that that is not enough. You have to work harder and do something more if you want to really experience the benefits and results of exercise.
      Once again, walking is not bad! I tell people to walk all the time! It has great benefits and helps to burn calories more than sitting around eating food. However, even walking 5-10km a day, (which very few people will do since jogging for 30 minutes every day would hold greater benefits than a two-hour walk every day) is not considered exercise by the ACSM Guidelines. Not my guidelines, theirs.
      Walking all day long, every single day would be extremely beneficial to many people, but it only gives them the benefits of “daily activity” (another important component of an overall healthy lifestyle), not the same benefits as “exercise”. To receive the benefits of “exercise” there needs to be greater intensity. That is why people need to both increase their “daily activity” AND their amount of weekly “exercise”. Both hold important places in an overall healthy lifestyle.
      Exercise breaks down your body for new growth, while daily activity, such as walking, helps to promote recovery from exercise and improve blood flow. Both are very important but different.
      Thank you again for your comment! This is a great discussion, honestly!

  6. I think you are incorrect but, maybe that’s controversial to your belief.
    Walking is exercise because it is a form of movement.. regardless of intensity or not, it is a FORM of exercise. Maybe not the most intense but, it is still movement non the less.
    To say its not exercise because its not “intense enough” is a strength coach telling someone they need to do their programming in order to increase their physical performance or health.
    What your saying is not fact, it is an opinion based off of your beliefs.. huge difference.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I agree that it is a controversial subject, as most people would like to consider walking as exercise. However, if that was true, then everyone would technically be exercising every time they walked to their car, to the bathroom, or to get another plate of food, and that’s just not the case.
      Realize that I am not the expert in this equation, though I do have a B.S. Degree in Exercise Science. I am merely stating the guidelines set by the American College of Sports Medicine, which creates the guidelines for all exercise related material in America, referred to by all medical fields. Doctors study medicine and refer to ACSM for their exercise-related guidelines, so ACSM is the standard in exercise material over doctors.
      ACSM says that walking is not exercise, so that is what I relay here. Movement also does not equal exercise. Stretching​ for example is movement, but not exercise. Walking your dog is not exercise. Movement is very beneficial but does not give people the same benefits and results as actual exercise.
      It is important to move AND exercise, but the two are not the same. Movement equals daily activity. Exercise is movement with intensity and duration as set by ACSM, not set by me.
      Thank you again for your comment, and let me know if you have any other comments or anything I can better explain.

  7. The worst thing about thinking that walking is exercise is that you are not pursuing real exercise that will improve your physical health. But opening with how a doctor will categorize you is odd since most doctors are in very poor shape/health. nice video though.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, too many people want to take the easy way out, or just flat out don’t know what “intensity” in exercise is. I started off with how doctors categorize you because that’s something that everyone gets asked, yet they tend to always give the wrong answer.

    1. That is great! I am glad to here it! Walking has many benefits, such as increasing your daily activity and therefore calorie expenditure, however, it is still not considered “exercise”. To gain all the health benefits of exercise you need to exercise. That is the point.


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