Walking in place may not look as impressive as running but it still offers benefits. Find out why walking in place may be worth adding to your exercise routine.
These benefits include both relatively unique aspects of walking in place and more general positive effects of exercise that are worth noting because of how important they are.
1. Can help you lose some weight
Excess body fat causes negative effects on human health. Luckily it is also possible to reverse the weight gain process by making sure your body requires more energy than is coming in from food.
When this is the case, your body needs to get energy from other places to function. More specifically, it starts using energy stores like body fat.
One way to get to this point or increase to what extent your body uses the energy stores is doing workouts like walking in place. Moving more intensely requires more energy.
A rough estimation is that a 155-pound (70 kg) person burns around 54 calories when walking in place at a moderate intensity for 15 minutes.
One thing to note is that one pound (0.45 kg) of body fat is about 3500 calories. This makes it clear that while walking in place can help weight loss, there are also better exercises for this goal.
Additionally, other lifestyle habits like nutrition play a big role in whether and to what extent you will see weight loss results.
2. You don’t need any equipment
Some exercises like barbell back squats require a squat rack, barbell, and weight plates. Even other workouts like jumping rope require a good jump rope.
These pieces of fitness equipment can be more than worth it compared to the health benefits they offer but they do require a higher budget to get started. The same applies to a gym subscription.
One of the benefits of walking in place is that you don’t necessarily need any equipment to do it.
At the same time, it is worth noting that ankle weights and/or small weights in your hands could make walking in place more intense. As long as you don’t overdo it, this can lead to more positive effects.
3. No complicated technique
Some types of workouts like dancing or certain kettlebell movements take a while to learn. This increases how long it takes to be able to start seeing positive effects.
Additionally, some people just want simple movements.
Walking in place definitely counts as an exercise with an easy technique. You simply march in the same spot by raising and lowering your knees and swinging your arms to some extent.
Since you are likely already walking throughout the day, the in-place version should not be an issue.
4. You are not dependent on the weather
Exercising outdoors can be great but one of its downsides is that you are also somewhat dependent on the weather. Walking in the rain or snow is often possible but many prefer to exercise indoors at times like these.
One of the differences between walking in place and regular walking is that you don’t have to pay attention to the weather in the in-place version. You can simply do the workout at home.
Something to note is that you can also keep the regular walking (or other exercises) for when the weather is good and walking in place for suboptimal weather conditions.
This way you still get the positive effects of exercising outdoors.
5. It can be done basically anywhere
This next point enabled the previous benefit but has separate consequences too.
Contrary to many other types of workouts, marching in place can be done basically anywhere.
You don’t need to be in a specific location to be able to use fitness equipment, you don’t need to be somewhere with the right slope, and you don’t have to live in an area where you can easily go for a walk.
Even if you would only have to drive 5 minutes to a place where you can exercise, that is 10 extra minutes of transport per workout. After a few exercise sessions, this really adds up.
If you spend this time on more walking in place, you could compensate for its reduction in effectiveness compared to regular walking without the extra transport.
6. Could improve hip flexor endurance
Walking in place is mainly a cardiovascular workout but you also engage a few muscles, mostly your hip flexors, to some extent.
You will likely not see any actual muscle growth but engaging your hip flexors can still improve their endurance, slow down degradation, and make them healthier.
In turn, this can make certain daily activities like climbing the stairs just a bit easier and more convenient.
7. You can do it in short sessions throughout the day
For some workouts like running and weight lifting you generally want to set aside at least a decent amount of time because you have to shower after and have to set up certain exercises.
However, it can be challenging for some people to free up these time blocks.
In these situations, something like walking in place can help busy people stay just a bit more active throughout the day without any big time commitments.
Walking in place generally won’t be as good for your health as running and weight lifting but it does tend to be better than doing no exercise at all.
8. Could still improve cardiovascular health
Your cardiovascular system includes your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. These body parts are responsible for extracting oxygen from the air and moving the oxygen, nutrients, and waste products around your body.
When moving more intensely with something like walking in place, these processes need to happen at a higher rate. In turn, your cardiovascular system has to work harder.
Similar to other body parts, you can strengthen your cardiovascular system by challenging it enough (but not too much), giving your body enough nutrients, and resting enough.
One thing to note is that walking in place is not the most challenging in this area either. People who are more experienced with cardiovascular workouts may need something more intense to see progress.
9. It is a low-impact exercise
Some forms of exercise like running or tennis involve small jumps with your body. While these can also lead to more strengthening, for some people they can also lead to injuries. At least until their bodies have become stronger.
The shocks your ankles, knees, hips, and back experience during walking in place are relatively small since it is a low-impact exercise.
This can be helpful for exercise beginners. Especially if they are carrying around some extra weight.
Over time, as their bodies get stronger, they could start considering these more intense workouts too.
Something to note is that while this is a positive point of walking in place, it is also not unique to this activity.
Other options like using an exercise bike, swimming, using an elliptical machine, etc. are also low-impact but could offer more health benefits.
10. Your mood could improve
It can be easy to forget but the health of your body has a big impact on your mood and thoughts. Walking in place can influence these things in a few ways.
First of all, being more active generally helps you avoid conditions that make you feel worse.
After a session of walking in place, you will likely also feel proud and happy about having done something that may be uncomfortable in the moment but good for your long term health.