People who walk regularly are more likely to stick to fitness activities, study finds

If you struggle to maintain your fitness goals walking could be key to maintaining this better

Woman walking with pace wearing activewear
(Image credit: Getty)

As the year whittles to a close, some of us have let our fitness regimes get a little more relaxed. This is understandable when schedules fill up and everyone starts to enjoy the festive treats and drinks that become part and parcel of this part of the year. 

Many of us bought ourselves some of the best workout equipment for home last year or maybe a pair of best running shoes to keep us fit and sane throughout lockdown. Now you might find that you have lost the motivation you once had.

However, findings from Strava's latest annual report revealed that walking helped people to keep on track with other forms of physical activity this year. It could be essential for kicking off any fitness goals you have for the new year coming.

Strava is a free fitness app made for athletes of all abilities to record and share their fitness stats for themselves or to share with friends, and the rest of the world if they like.

With over 95 million people using the app, the Strava team has released data on the results and trends from its users this year.

Group of people running outdoors together

(Image credit: Getty)

What exactly did Strava find?

The global fitness sharing website found that people who walk as well as cycle or, run are more likely to remain active past six months down the line compared to athletes who don't walk. The data they collected revealed that 46% of walkers also enjoy running while 41% of walkers regularly cycle. 

There are many reasons why walking may help people to stick to keeping up with their fitness activities of choice.

For many just getting outdoors and immersed in nature can be extremely motivating, so a brisk daily walk can be a reminder to enjoy other forms of outdoor exercise.

Additionally, walking can greatly benefit various other areas of health. Other physical activities can feel easier when you are regularly going on walks and exercising your cardiovascular health and stamina. 

This study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine discovered that people who adhered to a walking program experienced significant improvements in blood pressure, slowing down of resting heart rate, reduced body fat and body weight, improved mental health as well as increased levels of endurance and overall better scoring for overall quality of life.

You can reap the benefits of walking alongside other activities that aren't running or cycling. For example, aiming to get steps in on your rest days from the gym will be good for recovery and mobility in the long run.

The CEO of Strava, Michael Horvath said, “Even as the global athletic community endured another year of pandemic disruptions and restrictions, we saw a persistent desire from athletes to stay connected and keep one another active. 

"Athletes from every country on earth recorded and shared their runs, bike rides and lunchtime walks. And in turn, the community encouraged one another by doling out 9.6 billion kudos,” added Horvath.

Clearly, Strava has played an important role for many in sticking to their goals and if you aren't already using it, why not consider downloading it and recording your next adventure (whether its a scenic hike or a trip to the supermarket) in a pair of best shoes for walking.

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.