Walking is a great way to get and stay in shape, not to mention how easy it is—just tie your laces and go. But if you’re looking for a challenge, why not try speed walking?
What is speed walking?
Not to be confused with race walking, which involves a lot of pelvic movement, speed walking (also known as power walking or striding) refers to walking as fast as you can without breaking into a run or jog while swinging your arms to up the intensity. Speed walking is a low-impact aerobic activity, easy to start, and requiring no special equipment.
How many calories can I burn?
Speed walking at a brisk pace of about 4.5 mph on level terrain (no hills) burns roughly 440 calories per hour, if you weigh 150 pounds. You could burn about the same number of calories by running at a slow pace. Speed walking on hilly terrain or on an inclined treadmill increases the calories burned, as does increasing the duration of your workout.
The right technique
Posture is crucial. Keep your torso upright yet relaxed as you stride. Your head should be in a neutral position, not looking up or down. Keep your chin parallel to the ground, to avoid neck strain.
Keep one foot on the ground at all times, and follow this pattern:
*Stride forward with one foot, your heel striking the ground.
*Roll your foot forward and push off with your toes.
*Bring your other foot forward just as you are pushing off with the toes of the front foot.
Keep your elbows bent, close to your sides, your hands in a slightly curled position. Swing your arms forward, alternating with your step.
Most walkers keep a pace of 3.5 to 5.5 miles per hour.
Remember to warm up by starting at a slow, easy pace for five minutes. At the end of your workout cool down by slowing down your pace again for five minutes, then stretch your major muscle groups to avoid injury.