What muscles work when walking in different ways?

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Walking is attracting more and more fans, which is not surprising because this type of training has a lot of advantages. Firstly, it is not as traumatic as other sports, and secondly, it is suitable for almost all people and, thirdly, it improves health and gives the body the necessary vitality. Let’s find out how much useful walking can bring, consider its main pros and cons, and also find out which muscles are swinging.

Walking Today, most of us do not even realize that walking is not only a way to overcome the required distance, but also an effective sports exercise, with which you can involve many of the muscles of our body. Did you know? The first walking race in the world was held in Great Britain in 1882, however, it became an Olympic discipline only in 1932 at the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles (USA). Such body loads, above all, play a huge therapeutic role in many chronic diseases.


The undoubted advantages of such exercises include:

  •  the absence of strict contraindications, even with serious health pathologies; 
  • the ability to reduce total body weight; lack of sophisticated exercises;
  •  the almost complete absence of any additional cash expenses (with the exception of the acquisition of equipment and a pedometer); 
  • hiking can be successfully combined with excursion routes; 
  • workouts are suitable for people with any sports level of training.


Do not exclude the disadvantages of hiking sports.

 These include: 

  • a significant duration of each lesson (about 2 hours); 
  • the high impact of weather on the training process; 
  • the need for a periodic change of route (otherwise training can quickly get boring); 
  • in untrained athletes, long walks can cause sharp pain in the legs or lead to calluses.

 However, all these shortcomings are lost in the general palette of the positive properties of sports walking.

What muscles work when walking

Today, there are several directions in walking, which help to effectively work out the body and remove excess weight. However, each of these areas affects a specific area, involving in the work the corresponding list of muscles. This is explained, first of all, by the individual characteristics of each individual exercise.


Brisk walking is an intermediate speed movement of the body between walking and running.

Despite the fact that such an exercise is the simplest sports load, when it is performed in an average person, about 200 various muscles throughout the body are considered involved. The main load, in this case, falls on the muscles of the buttocks, thighs, and lower limbs (calves, tibia and soleus muscles, flexors, and extensors of the toes). In addition, the muscles of the abdomen, lower back, and upper back, and shoulders are involved in the work when moving with a quick step.

 Uphill or stairs

In this case, the person has the same parts of the body as with a quick step. The main working muscles are the gluteus, calf, tibia and soleus, flexors, and extensors of the toes. Additionally, the muscles of the lower back, abs, back, and shoulder area are included in the work. Moving uphill or stairs is considered one of the most effective ways to load the lower body to the maximum.

With such walking, the load on the muscles of the abs and lower legs increases significantly. At the same time, not only weight loss and burning of subcutaneous fat is achieved, but also a comprehensive strengthening of muscle tissue, which gives relief to the legs, abs, and lower back.


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Nordic walking is considered the most effective way to burn excess subcutaneous fat and is a movement with the help of specially designed sticks. Just one hour of active Nordic walking makes it possible to burn about 700 kcal, while about 90% of the muscles of the body are involved in the work. The main load traditionally falls on the area of ​​the hips, buttocks, lower leg, and hip joint.

In addition, when walking in a Scandinavian step, deltas, scapular and pectoral muscles, biceps and triceps, flexors of the joints of the upper extremities, abdominal muscles, and also the latissimus are actively working.

On the spot

Walking on the spot is performed both in sports halls and in the fresh air. During the execution of such an exercise, additional devices are often used. Among them, the most common can be called a variety of fitness coasters, in addition, this exercise can be performed on the stepper (special simulator). When walking in place, you can most effectively load the quadriceps, biceps femoris, muscles of the buttocks, and calves. To a lesser extent, the muscles of the press, the back, the shoulder zone, and the latissimus muscle are loaded, since they play the role of stabilizers of the position of the body. Despite the fact that the on-site steps are used infrequently in sports practice, they are the only way to bring the body into optimal shape in just a few weeks.

On a treadmill

A treadmill is considered the most successful alternative for walking for the lazy. It allows you to play sports in a pleasant environment, without even going outside (if you have one at home). Under the influence of the simulator, the greatest load falls on the muscles of the buttocks, hips, and lower leg. In this case, unlike walking, the load increases on the flexors and extensors of the legs, shoulder muscles, and back muscles. The treadmill also involves the pelvic and abdominal muscles, which play the role of body position fixers.

Important! You can increase the effectiveness of training on a treadmill by increasing the angle of the treadmill. In this case, in addition to increasing the load on the muscles of the body, it is possible to improve the condition of the joints and ligaments, as well as increase the overall endurance of the body.

How to walk for the health of the body?

In order for walking to be safe and affect your body as efficiently as possible, you must adhere to the following recommendations:

  • exercises should be carried out only in sports equipment and comfortable shoes (the insole must necessarily have an anatomical shape);
  •  for health purposes, at least 5 km (10 thousand steps) must be walked daily; for weight loss, this figure should be increased to 7–8 km;
  • the walk should be started at a moderate pace, and by the middle of the workout it should definitely be increased;
  • high-quality training should continue for at least 1 hour of continuous movement;
  • morning is considered the most favorable time for fat burning work out, thus, it will be possible not only to train muscles but also to improve metabolism with systemic performance;

Important! During sports walking, the body must be kept straight, not leaning forward.

  • evening work out should be resorted to in the case of general strengthening measures aimed at normalizing nervous activity and the cardiovascular system;
  • when training in the fresh air, you must periodically change the route, otherwise playing sports can get bored over time.

Walking is a fairly effective way of actively training the entire body. Such exercises involve a large number of muscles of the whole body, while the main load falls on its lower part.

Did you know? Despite the fact that stick movements in difficult terrain have been used by humans since antiquity, Finland is considered the official homeland of Scandinavian walking. In the 30s of the XX century, the Finns began to use this discipline en masse for the training of skiers.

Today, sports walks are becoming very popular, because they are suitable for people of any gender and age while requiring minimal physical training.



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