Where Your Dreams Become Reality
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Poster: yes to walking
Subject: RE: The role of walking/hiking
I kind of think of walking as extreme base training. It is time on the legs and it is aerobic, just at a much lower level than running. But if you are doing actual hiking then it is a bit closer to running as it is going to be more aerobic and probably build a little muscle if you are going up and down mountains.
Back in the day runners used to walk as part of their training, in place of running. Then runners realized that they should be running a lot more and we forgot all about walking. But I think long walks definitely can play a small role in running fitness.
Plus, while walking is weight bearing, its not an impact activity. You're not "leaping" through the air like you are with running. So you're not gonna risk injury but you will get your legs working a little more. For anyone injured for a significant amount of time, I would highly suggest long walks (in addition to cross training).
Just an anecdotal piece of evidence. A couple years ago my friend came back from India, where he had been for the past year or so. We went on a run and he was having an easier time on the run than I was even though I'd been running off and on recently and he had done no running in the past year. But he said in India he just walked everywhere so that kept him at a decent fitness level.
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