Is walking to class enough exercise?

As a new student in college, I find myself walking more than ever before.  I walk everywhere: to and from class, to get food, or to run errands.  I avoid taking the bus because I want to stay active.  While I have a gym membership, I seldom use it.  I find that I don’t have enough time between classes, and by the end of the day i’m tired from class, or have too much to do.  I justify this by reminding myself I walk a ton on any given day, and I eat healthy.  However, I don’t know if there’s any basis behind that.  In this post i’m going to examine if walking everyday is enough exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.”  Their research shows walking everyday helps people: maintain a healthy weight, strengthen bones, and improve your balance and coordination.

The Mayo Clinic further explained, “the faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.”  A few simple changes will make your daily walks more effective, and enjoyable: wear supportive shoes and have good posture to capitalize on the benefits of walking.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends people get 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. According to Kids Health, splitting physical activity into 15 minute increments throughout the day works just as well as doing a full 30 minutes at once.  Meaning your various treks to class throughout the day are an acceptable way to engage your body in physical activity.

The Association of College Parents of America looked at a study from Tufts University that found students who exercise are generally happier.  Essentially, walking to class is a good way to stay active in college.  However, it is not enough to stay healthy.  It’s important to stay active and make healthy choices.

11 thoughts on “Is walking to class enough exercise?

  1. Katerina Economikos

    I found this blog post interesting because of how much I can relate to it. I,too, find myself walking a lot more than I used to compared to when I lived at home. With the amount of walking that I do, I feel as though a gym membership is unnecessary because I am already getting an adequate amount of exercise through walking. Not to mention, I have absolutely no time in my jam-packed schedule to go to the gym. While walking does count as physical activity, it is still important to maintain a healthy diet everyday. A fitness plan will not work effectively without a good diet. I try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I can during the week however living on campus makes it so hard to eat healthy sometimes!

  2. Megan Fleming Post author

    Hi Jenna! Although i’m no doctor, according to the research I did on this topic, you probably aren’t seeing any results because exercise alone is not enough. However, a study by Tufts University did find that people who exercise are generally happier! Pairing simple exercise, like walking to class every day, with a healthy diet is a great and easy way to stay in shape.

  3. Sarah Abdallah

    Wow so it is enough. I knew walking was good for you but I didn’t know it was that good to make someone achieve a healthy life like this. Heres a link on how much more healthier you can become through walking and without the need for a physical difference in what you eat or your eating habits.

  4. Nicole Rene Gelb

    During summer session only having two classes it was much easier to get myself to the gym with the amount of free time I had. However this semester taking five classes and having so much more work than I had originally anticipated I have found it incredibly difficult to go to the gym. Walking to class is not enough exercise because I am more out of shape than I was in the summer. Here’s a link that shows how to stay healthy and fit in college

  5. Caitlin Marie Gailey

    I found your post very easy to relate to! I thought the same thing when I came here, with the amount of walking I have been doing going to the gym once or twice a week should be fine. However my roommate and I recently downloaded an app on our phones to track our steps. Turns out on average I walk about 5 miles a day in-between classes and getting dinner. 5 miles equals about 10,000 steps, but at a walking pace that only accounts for about 200-300 calories. So unfortunately I guess walking won’t be enough for my daily exercise and I need to start getting back to going to the gym again. Something interesting I did find is that walking or biking to class can actually help boost your mental health. Although it can be annoying to leave 20 minutes or 30 minutes early to walk all the way to campus it does seem to help improve the mood of those who do…in this weather at least. Walking to class may not be the best exercise but it works as a great way to feel better about yourself and you don’t even know your doing it.
    To read more about the benefits of walking:

  6. Amanda Marie Binkley

    This post made me feel a lot better about myself because I feel the exact same way! Before school I was so active and made time every day to go to the gym but being at college, I’m so busy all the time. It is very challenging to find enough time to get in a good workout, but finding time in between classes has worked well for me. I love how walking around campus feels like a workout because of all of the hills, but being an athlete I always feel that I need a sufficient workout.

  7. Mary-frances Grosholz Edwards

    I also have a gym membership but have not really put it to good use. I always find myself with not enough time or that I’m too tired. Reading this was good because I always am wondering if I’m getting enough exercise solely by walking to class everyday. Most of my classes are fairly far away from my dorm room, and involve a lot of hills therefore I think it’s safe to say that I’m getting a pretty good workout. My diet also hasn’t been the best, but hopefully knowing that I’m getting some physical benefit from walking to class everyday will help.

  8. Marissa Alexandra Rapaport

    I found this topic interesting because I hardly have time to go to the gym. Before school started, I worked out three times a week for two hours at a time. When I started to become preoccupied with school work, I started to feel guilty for not going to the gym. Yet, I supposed that that my routine walk to class was considered a work-out; and, if I keep up a healthy diet, I should be fine. Now, after reading this, I don’t feel as guilty not going to the gym as often as I used to.

  9. Megan Margaret Moyer

    I also find it hard to fit the gym into my schedule, but as someone who loves to exercise and stay fit, I found it frustrating that I wasn’t able to workout at my leisure like I expected I would be able to. I’ve never taken the bus at school so I walk all the way across campus and back multiple times a day. I decided to track my walk on a daily basis and found out that it’s just about 5 miles! I was so surprised and pleased to find learn this. This website is what I used to map it out, give it a try!
    I also just think it’s nice to know that we’re getting in exercise when we aren’t even trying, walking is a great way to get moving if you aren’t able to squeeze the gym in; it’s definitely better than no exercise at all.

  10. Christopher Vecchio

    I found this post very interesting because I have been wondering the same thing. Walking to classes is a lot here at Penn State, sometimes you got to go pretty far. I don’t have a lot of time to go to the gym so I too have been wondering how much walking is it necessary for me to consider a decent workout. I haven’t been eating to healthy here, but I would hope that this much walking would counteract that. I still try to play basketball for a couple hours each work to work up a really good sweat but finding time to do these activities is hard.

  11. Jenna Rae Stoklosa

    I have also wondered about how all of the walking around campus was benefitting me. I feel as though I have walked more in the 4 weeks we have been here than I have all summer. Especially living in east, it takes a good 10 minutes to get anywhere we need to go. I personally have not noticed any differences from walking so much 🙁 While I am walking a lot, I have not been eating the most healthy diet, and so I am not seeing the benefits from the additional walking. So for me going to the gym is an absolute must, but it nice to know that the extra walking, while I might not see any benefits, is still a way for me to be active and moving!

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