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Can walking build muscle? A woman walking in a city

Harnessing the Power of Walking: Can It Really Build Muscle?

, by FLOW Admin, 4 min reading time

The quest for muscle building often conjures images of heavy weights and intense gym sessions. But what about the humble act of walking? Can this everyday activity contribute to muscle development? This blog post examines the muscle-building capabilities of walking and the role a walking pad can play in enhancing these effects.

Understanding Muscle Growth

Before delving into the potential of walking for muscle building, it's crucial to grasp the fundamentals of muscle growth. Muscles grow in response to resistance or stress placed upon them. This stress causes microscopic damage to muscle fibers, triggering a process known as muscle hypertrophy, where the muscle fibers repair and grow larger to adapt to the stress placed upon them.

The Muscle Mechanics of Walking

At first glance, walking may not appear to provide the significant resistance required for muscle growth, especially when compared to weightlifting or resistance training. However, walking does engage various muscle groups throughout the body, including the legs, glutes, core, and even the upper body to some extent.

  1. Leg and Glute Muscles: Regular walking effectively works the calves, quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Over time, this can lead to increased muscle tone and strength in these areas.
  2. Core Engagement: Maintaining good posture while walking engages your core muscles, including your abdominals and lower back. This subtle but constant engagement helps strengthen the core.
  3. Arm and Shoulder Muscles: Swinging your arms while walking can also provide a workout for your arm and shoulder muscles, though to a lesser extent than the legs and core.

The Importance of Frequency and Duration

While a single leisurely stroll may not be sufficient to stimulate significant muscle growth, consistency and duration play crucial roles in harnessing walking's potential benefits for muscle development. Incorporating brisk walking into your daily routine, along with gradually increasing the duration and intensity, can help create a cumulative effect on muscle stimulation over time.

Tips for Maximising Muscle Building While Walking

  1. Increase the Intensity: Incorporate brisk walking or intervals of increased pace.
  2. Mind Your Posture: Maintain an upright posture to engage your core muscles effectively.
  3. Use Arm Movements: Incorporate active arm swings or light hand weights for added resistance.
  4. Increase the Weight: Use ankle weights during walks to increase the resistance.

Is a Walking Pad Equally Beneficial?

Walking on a walking pad or treadmill offers a different experience compared to navigating uneven outdoor terrains. While these natural surfaces challenge the body to adjust and maintain balance, thus providing a more comprehensive workout, walking on a treadmill still has its merits.

A walking pad provides a consistent and even surface which allows for a focused and steady walking session. The controlled environment of using a walking pad can be particularly beneficial for those seeking a less strenuous option or for specific training purposes. Additionally, walking pads offer the unique advantage of multitasking. They allow you to integrate physical activity into your daily routine effortlessly. You can listen to podcasts, watch your favourite TV series, or take a stroll while working.

Walking: The Perfect Complement to Strength Training

Walking is not just a standalone exercise; it's an excellent complement to strength training. Regular walking can significantly contribute to muscle growth and improve the resilience of tendons, joints, and other supporting structures. While it may not replace heavy lifting for muscle mass, walking is an effective active recovery tool and aids in overall muscle endurance and toning.


While walking may not rival traditional strength training in terms of muscle-building potential, it can still play a valuable role in improving overall muscle tone, strength, and endurance, especially for beginners or those looking for low-impact options. Moreover, walking offers a plethora of additional health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, stress reduction, and enhanced mood, making it a versatile and accessible form of exercise for individuals of all fitness levels.


How does the muscle-building potential of walking compare to other forms of aerobic exercise, such as cycling or swimming?

The muscle-building potential of walking, compared to other aerobic exercises like cycling or swimming, is generally lower in terms of intensity and muscle engagement. Walking is excellent for toning and strengthening, but cycling and swimming offer more resistance, which can lead to more significant muscle growth.

How long does it typically take to see muscle toning results from regular walking exercises?

Muscle toning results from regular walking exercises vary by individual, depending on factors like walking pace, frequency, and overall lifestyle. Generally, noticeable improvements may take several weeks or months of consistent walking.

Aside from muscle toning, what are other significant health benefits associated with consistent use of walking pads?

Consistent use of walking pads offers numerous health benefits besides muscle toning, including improved cardiovascular health, enhanced mood, better joint flexibility, and reduced stress levels.

What are the long-term effects of walking on muscle mass and density, especially in comparison to resistance training?

Finally, the long-term effects of walking on muscle mass and density are generally more modest compared to resistance training. While walking can help maintain muscle tone and prevent muscle loss, especially in older adults, resistance training is more effective for significantly increasing muscle mass and density.

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