If you have seen some elderly walking at high speed at the park with some weird hand movements, don’t laugh at them. They are doing power walking. So, what so great about power walking (also known as speed walking) and what are the tips to get the most from it?
We walk everyday and based on the normal speed, most will walk about 5 km an hour. When we walk faster, we are able to walk as far as 8 km for the same period. This is what we call power walk which is actually an aerobic activity. The difference between jogging or power walking is that your foot is always in contact with the ground at all times if you are power walking.
Some do not like power walking because of few reasons:
- The fear of looking like an idiot with exaggerated arm movements during the walk.
- The fear of being perceived as weak because power walking is normally done by elderly.
Forget about the fear, some of the benefits of power walking are:
- Tones and strengthens muscles, particularly the legs [thighs, hamstrings, calves and even butts (glutes)] and even the abdominal.
- Helps build stamina, boost heart health and manage body weight as it is a cardiovascular exercise. Calorie burn for each walk is between 150 and 175 for 20 minutes.
- Some people prefer power walking over jogging because power walking is considered low to moderate exercise. What is more important is that it causes less impact to the joint.
12 Tips to Get Started:
- What you need is a good pair of walking shoes. Make sure it has supportive cushioned shoe. The shoe has to be soft and flexible. Walking boots, flit flops and sandals are definitely not suitable for power walking.
- Keep hydrated. Remember to drink water before you go.
- Warm up by spending five to ten minutes walking and stretching.
- If you prefer indoor power walking, you can do it on the treadmill in the gym. Do not incline the treadmill yet. If you are doing it outdoor, select a route with even ground.
- Start with a 20-minute walk, probably 3 times a week.
- Get someone to walk with you so that you will not feel bored.
- Once you get used to the exercise, you can try different route if you are doing outdoor. For people who prefer walk outdoor, if you cannot get to any hills, you can use stair climbs. As for indoor power walker, do it on the incline platform of the treadmill.
- You can also pick up the pace or even increase the walk to be 30 to 45 minutes.
- Try to avoid busy commercial streets. But, if you have to, always walk facing oncoming traffic.
- Walk at various times of the day, but not under the hot sun in the afternoon. The sights to see first thing in the morning are bound to be different to those of early evening.
- To add some spice, you can try overtake others. The faster you get, the fitter you will become.
- If you have extra money, consider buying a pedometer. You can key in you stride length and then calculate the distance covered and calories burned. Some people use it to keep track of their performance as motivation to walk further and faster.
Simple Power Walk Technique
- Focus your eyes 5 to 6 meters ahead and keep your shoulders relaxed.
- You do not have to clench your fists while walking. Loose fist and your thumbs up will do.
- Do not swing your arms from side to side rather move backwards and forwards. Do not do it with rigid arm. Not to worry too much about the form. Just walk naturally.
- For advanced users expecting more weight loss result, one of the ways is to wear weight vest. Theoretically, you burn more calories because you move more mass. Adding to your weight to your body is better than using weight gloves or adding weight at the calves which are exposed to joint injury. Start with light weight before adding more weights.
Hopefully, by now, you have better understanding on this exercise. If others stare at you with funny smile next time when they see you power walking, they most probably miss out the benefits of this affordable and joint-friendly workout.
Category: Other Fitness/Sports Articles
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