Walking Or Swimming: The Low-Impact Exercise Most People Prefer

High-intensity workouts are great but certainly not for everyone. And some people just prefer a lower-intensity workout, whether it be for exercise, mental health, or flexibility.

The intensity of an exercise depends on things like your heart rate, breathing, and how hard it feels to you, according to the Mayo Clinic. In high-impact exercise, you generally use about 70-85% of your maximum heart rate. Your breathing is fast and deep, you can only get out a few words before needing to stop to breathe, and you'll probably start sweating after just a few minutes. In a low-intensity activity, on the other hand, your heart rate should stay at about 50% of its maximum (via WebMD). You should be comfortable and still be able to carry on a conversation. Risk of injury is relatively low and you probably won't put too much pressure on your joints. To know what type of low-impact exercise people prefer, Health Digest conducted a survey of 612 people and asked them what their favorite is.

Walking was the most popular activity

The results of the poll of 612 people showed that walking was the preferred low-impact activity of 294 people, or 48.04% of respondents. 18.46% of respondents, or 113 people, said that their favorite was swimming. Another 106 people, or 17.32% of those who participated in the survey, preferred yoga, while 9.48%, or 58 respondents, favored cycling. Pilates came in last place, which was the favorite of 41 people, or 6.70%.

Walking is a favorite because it's accessible and doesn't require any special equipment or a membership to a gym. And it has a wealth of benefits, according to Prevention. Whether you're going for a stroll in your neighborhood or taking a hike in the woods, walking is a low-impact choice that can increase your metabolism, lower blood sugar levels, lower your risk of heart attack and stroke, improve brain function, help your digestive system, and improve immunity. Not only that, but walking can positively impact your nervous system, which can improve your mood and lift your spirits.