The Benefits of Walking in PE

Are you like me and thought you had to push yourself to the point of exhaustion and pain with each workout or else it wasn’t working?

Welcome to the PE Express podcast two to three times a week of PE expert will share a tip, activity idea or teaching strategy to help you become a better PE professional. Today’s host is a PE teacher from Mesa High School from Mesa, Arizona, and SHAPE’s Southwest district high school teacher of the year, Maria Corte.

I think walking is one of the most underrated form of exercises there is and it’s crazy because there are so many benefits associated with walking. I found this out because I recently started walking not too long ago and I couldn’t believe the benefits. I had the same misconception that I’m sure my students did and that’s, oh, it’s mainly for older people and it’s too slow and you have to really push yourself and sweat and get beaten down for, for you to see any benefits. But I was shocked when I saw, when I started doing it at regularly what was happening with me and my body. I was burning calories. I was building muscle, I was getting pretty much the same benefits that I was getting when I was in college and lifting hard and doing high intensity interval training and all of that. So why wasn’t I teaching this to my students?

It occurred to me one day and I started doing just that. So when I finally did incorporate walking into my curriculum, I felt it did add so much more depth to what I was already doing. You know, I’m kind of known for being a hardcore, if you will, to push them. I design lots of high intensity type fitness circuits and activities. I do kickboxing. I work with medicine balls. We’d go in the weight room and lift. I do a little bit of beginning crossfit. So I was already covering those areas, but I felt something was lacking and I think walking was just that thing that was missing. So now my students have the opportunity to participate in not only high intensity type activities like circuits and those kinds of things, but also yoga, pilates, walking and I think those in addition to the other have so many more benefits.

I really believe each genre of fitness has value and fitness should never be a one size fits all and I have to say the student feedback has been outstanding. What they share with me is how relaxed they are. They really appreciate the opportunity to get out of the classroom and go walk outside. And one student even shared with me that she felt mentally reset and it was nice to just get outside and power down, get off the computer, get off her phone and just walk outside. And some of my other students said it was fun to go out and chit chat and and feel the benefits of that but also see parts of the campus and look at the trees and look at the birds and it’s just been really a fun activity to incorporate into what I was already doing. I’d like to share just a couple of activities that I do do with walking that my students enjoy.

One of them is just really simple. I wouldn’t really call it a structured activity. It’s just taking them outside and walking. The instructions are, they can walk with a friend, they can chit chat, they can use their headphones and listen to music, but we all stayed together as a class. We walk around campus and we do that for just about the entire class period.

Another activity that I think the students really enjoy is a walking scavenger hunt. With this I put the students into groups of anywhere from four to six. I give them a handout that has different items that they need to locate around the campus. And what they do is they walk around and as they find an item, one group leader will take a picture on her cell phone or his cell phone. The first group that can get back to me showing all the items that were found on the list is the winner, if you will.

It’s not really a winner, it’s just more bragging rights and it’s just a fun way to add a little bit more hustle into the activity. On a last note here, I do want to add that the students do wear pedometers and it just measures their steps, activity time, and MVPA. And I have to say the students are always really surprised at how much activity time and how much of it is MVPA with walking. So that’s just a neat thing that they’re discovering about walking. It’s my new favorite form of exercise. I’m noticing that the students are really enjoying it.

Thanks for listening and thanks for always making fitness fun. Take care.

One Response

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this information.
    I am currently teaching health to my middle school students and focusing on mental health and nutrition with the class.
    I have started the year with doing a 15-20 minute walk with the class to help students with anxiety,building relationships and building a healthier mindset.Soi was super happy to read this and am looking forward to more articles regarding walking.
    I was wondering if you have any logs or journal questions or prompts you do with your students to track or if you have smart goals thatyou set

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