Benefits of power walking and how to get started
Experience the benefits of power walking almost immediately
Some of our beginner clients experience the benefits of power walking very quickly. For those unused to exercise and preferring to walk to lose weight rather than launch into running, power walking is a low-impact exercise that has a surprising effect on the heart rate both immediately and over the long term as you measure your average heart rate.
We don’t claim that power walking will burn as many calories like a high intensity interval circuit. However, for a wide range of clients – from pre/postnatal to obese to elderly, it’s an easy initial win when it comes to warming up the body and getting the heart rate to operate at higher levels in a very measured and safe style.
For clients who come to us carrying an injury – or concern over re-injuring themselves – especially around the lower body and back, focussing on improving walking fitness has real world benefits.
Some clients of ours receive a walking programme for them to perform by themselves, between one-to-one personal training sessions. This is after they’ve been taken through the basic techniques and tricks of peer walking by a personal training. We find prenatal and postnatal clients are particularly suited to this exercise. Both groups benefit greatly form exercise, but can be limited in what is safe for them to pursue.
Power walking isn’t the race walking you see in the Olympics – athletes wiggling their hips and butt. Yes, you can drive from the hips more than a regular walk, and set your elbows at 90 degrees when you increase your speed. But generally speaking your technique will not look ‘weird’ in a public park. You’ll just be moving quickly.
Below are three pieces of advice for someone looking to get the most from power walking.
Measure your progress
As with any endurance-based exercise, the key to maintaining your progress and results is in measuring at least one variable. It can be your distance, or speed, or overall time or heart rate. Or measure all of them. But by noting down some basic achievements, you have data to work on or take it to your trainer so he/she can re-write your walking programme. This is the most effective way to make the most of each and every time you go for a walk.
Learn basic power walking techniques
Knowing how to power walk will help avoid injuries, increase the physical demand of your walk and improve your performance and achieve as efficient and effective a walking session as possible. The use of your arms, bent at 90 degrees or slightly less, can make you feel a little bit self conscious. But this technique will propel you along faster, and the pumping of both arms and legs together will stimulate the heart to beat faster. Surprisingly so.
For a brief summary of technique, take a look at Luci Gabel’s YouTube video Your Power Walking Workout
Use your normal schedule to fit in a walk
Living Street’s National Walking Month may have ended recently for 2015, but you can still aim to walk to or from work or school (or even a section of your journey). Beats sitting on public transport in the heatwave that’s hitting the UK right now.