Walking for recovery


I love a recovery spin as much as anyone, but with the longer days and better weather I’m struggling to pluck up the courage to put on my kit and get on the trainer for 60-90mins at Z1-low Z2 for a session such as Pettit. I’m now trying to do most of my riding and training outside, which is fine for more intense intervals. However, I’m fortunate enough to live in a mountainous area which doesn’t really allow for an easy ride.

Am I likely to see the same benefits from a 60-90min walk that has a similar HR response? This is something that’s just a bit more palatable for me at the moment.

Would love to hear some opinions.


I’d say so, I nearly always do a walk the day after my hard efforts. I’m also mindful that time on the bike is non impact. So I try to ensure I’m getting those walks in. I also try to do them off road. I’m a great believer that uneven terrain helps work all the smaller muscles , ligaments and tendons that cycling just doesn’t hit. Plus good for the bones. I’m mid 50s now and remained injury free my entire life. So must be doing something right.


I don’t know the recovery benefits but I am trying to build in walks to my routine (usually only 30mins-1hour) as other forms of exercise are supposed to help with bone density.

I live somewhere very hilly such that outdoor “recovery” type rides are impossible. But equally, sitting on a trainer pedalling at very low intensity for great lengths of time is almost “impossible” for me due to its tediousness.

So I walk a lot, something made easier by having nice places to walk plus a dog for me to tag along with!

Ultimately, all this bike training is about making us happier, so I try not to lose sight of that. We do this stuff that’s good for our bodies because (and more importantly) it’s good for our heads. If you choose to do low intensity outside walks, out and about in nature and enjoying the sights, sounds and smells instead of sitting indoors riding Pettit, I doubt you’ll find yourself on your death-bed one day regretting having done that. :smiley:


Depends on my condition and mental state, sometimes I grap my CX/gravel bike on my recovery spin day and just go outside for 30-60min ride (it’s my “t-shirt” ride, often with no garmin at all but I try to remember to do it very easy) but sometimes I just feel that I feed up with bike riding and then I just go outside for a walk (usually 45-70min). That days I feel I take more from the walk than from the ride. For me, recovery activity is not only about the blood circulation and muscle recovery, the recovery activity is for my mind too and - at least for me - the prescription is: do whatever you want, keep it fun, keep it very low intensity and low volume.

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Always keen on a walk (not least as we have a dog) but I never really considered a walk as being good for bone density. My understanding was that you needed impact (i.e running) to really help, have you seen something that supports walking giving the same benefits?

Walking for recovery is one thing, i walk my dog 3hours 6 days a week in the hills in Italy. I ride aprx 2 hours in the morning and hike with my dog in the afternoon. I’m 53 year’s old and i use the hiking for building endurance, and strength. It often involves climbing at treshold to get to the top of hills through the fields with 30% gradients
I train polarized: 4 easy rides a week and one hard session on my own private road leading up to my house on top of a hill.
I wish i could ride more but my dog comes first and hiking and the training on the bike is a good combo i think


Walking is related to bone density and rates of bone loss - PubMed - This one is post menopausal women.


“A Dutch team found that fast (or brisk) walking, at a pace of 5 to 6 km/hr or 3.1 to 3.7 mph, produced compressive and tensile strains at a level similar to hopping or running at 5 to 9 km/hour or 3.1 to 5.6 mph.

The research team concluded that “our results suggest that a training program including fast [or brisk] walking (above 5 km/h) and running exercises may increase or preserve the BMD (bone mineral density) at the femoral neck”. In other words, to improve bone health you need to walk pretty fast.”

They say walk pretty fast but walking at 5km/h isn’t fast. In conclusion yes if it’s brisk enough and terrain can make a difference. There are significant differences waking up and down a mountain compared to level pavement


Interesting and encouraging, thanks. Be interesting to see if the surface makes a difference, i.e tarmac being better as more impact orientated

Fantastically put and a great perspective on the bigger picture

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