The Benefits of Power Walking
You’ve seen people doing it: speed walking or power walking. It’s a purposeful movement form of walking where you are moving very quickly, yet not breaking into a jog.
Although there are people who can power walk as quickly as others can jog, speed is not the determining factor to say if you are walking or running. When you run (or jog), both feet can be off the ground as some moments in time. In walking, one foot is always in contact with the surface of the ground.
One might assume that walking is automatically a low-intensity cardiovascular activity, but that assumption would be wrong. Race walkers bring the power walk to the next level. An Olympian walked the fastest mile in history. The British man walked a mile in 5:31.08. That’s faster than most people run!
How Do You Power Walk?
First, consider your posture. In power walking you should move with your body upright. With your shoulders back and eyes focused ahead, you are on your way to good form!
Your arms should be bent and swinging at your side quickly. Just like in natural movement, the opposite arm should be forward to the leg that is forward. When you swing the other leg forward the other arm moves also.
You always land heel first when walking. In competitive walking, this is a non-negotiable. Your heel must contact the ground first!
When trying to walk as quickly as possible focus on short, quick strides.
How Long Should You Power Walk?
The answer to this question is not the same for everyone. If you are new to a workout regimen, start out with 30 minutes of walking. Don’t put too much focus on how fast you are moving. If you start small and easy you are more likely to stick with the program. Think about your form and getting your heart rate up.
As you get your body acclimated to movement, add either speed or time. Don’t necessarily focus on both at the same time. Or, focus on different aspects on different days.
Eventually, you might find walking 30 minutes three days a week and adding two 60 minute speed walks brings a good balance to your life. The American Heart Association recommends that people try to get 30 minutes of purposeful movement in each day. Walking is an excellent way to do that, especially for beginners.
Is Power Walking a Good Way To Lose Weight?
Walking can be an excellent way to lose weight, when it is coupled with healthy food choices. Especially if you are sedentary all day, moving at some point in the day is crucial to improving your overall health.
Did you know that 25% of all Americans sit for 8 hours a day, and that 44% of those people do not exercise at all? Adding walking to your day is a great way to improve your health and fitness scores. Instead of sitting to eat lunch, perhaps consider taking a walking lunch. If you don’t want to eat on the run, maybe you can walk with an officemate and then eat while you work.
Walking on Lunch Hour!
There are so many perks to walking on your lunch hour. Although, we realize that not everyone has the luxury of being able to do so. However, if you do it is a great way to sneak in some fitness! If you do work out on lunch, there are some great hints to freshening up before hitting your desk again, or how to multitask and eat on the go!
Lunchtime Freshen Up Tricks
If you are going to start walking on your lunch break you will need to freshen up. Things you should consider keeping in your desk:
- Hand towel – to remove any sweat
- Baby wipes – for a quick wipe down & freshening up
- Deodorant – one quick swipe will help!
- Other items you may want: a small cosmetics bag, light scented body spray, dry socks & underwear just in case you sweat badly
Lunch on the Go
What if you only get 30 minutes and you want to walk and eat? There are grab and go items you can take on your power lunch walk! If you’re looking to make the most out of your lunchtime, maybe you can do both by packing:
- Meat sticks
- Veggie sticks
- Cheese sticks
- Small “sandwich” wraps
- Protein shake
Take an Officemate Along!
Taking a coworker along for the walk is an excellent accountability tactic. In addition to that, social walking is likely to keep your brain engaged and the time will fly!
Is Power Walking Better For You Than Running?
An often asked question, there isn’t a straight forward answer. For some people, the lesser impact of walking is a great choice. For others, running is what they need to relieve their stress and get the heart pumping.
The point is, deciding what kind of workout you want to do is very personal. What is important is movement on a consistent basis. If you are new to fitness, have bad knees or ankles, or concerns about impact, walking will be way better for you than running!
Even for avid runners, power walking can be a great way to mix up the fitness regiment.
What Gear Do I Need?
If you plan to start power walking you should definitely buy shoes specific to walking. Because you will impact the ground with your heel and flex all the way through the foot each time you step, you need flexible shoes. Ideally, walking shoes have excellent arch support and flat sole.
There are multiple types of walking shoes. They include stability shoes, cushion shoes and performance shoes. Try on the shoes, to find what you feel is most comfortable and will fit your needs.
Good Luck and Have Fun!
The excellent thing about walking is we all do it on a daily basis. If you are looking to start power walking, it is not a big transition and you will get exceptional results easily.
To get started, all you need is a positive attitude, about thirty minutes of time and some good shoes! Good luck and happy walking!