Power walking is making a comeback and we are here for it! This low-impact, high-value cardio exercise has recently regained popularity among athletes of all ages and skill levels.
Personally, we love power walking because it’s the great multitasker of workouts – you can knock out a walk while listening to your favorite podcast, or get outside with a friend and reap the mental health benefits of sunshine and nature!
Power walking can be underestimated and misunderstood, so we’re breaking down the top 7 questions we get about this underrated cardiovascular exercise.
What is Power Walking?
Power walking (also known as Speed Walking) is a low-impact workout that is straightforward, free, and great for your mental health. To power walk, simply walk at a speed faster than your typical walking pace, but decidedly slower than a jog. The exercise relies on arm motion to propel your body forward and utilizes a more upright posture than jogging or running.
What is Proper Power Walking Technique?
Shoulders back, head up, can’t lose. As a power walker, good posture will help you maintain speed and prevent injury in areas like your shoulders or neck. You want to maintain a more upright posture than a runner or jogger. Here are our top tips for maintaining proper power walking posture:
Keep your belly button pulled in towards your spine to engage your core, and look up instead of at the ground
Swing your arms gently at approximately a 90-degree angle
Land on your heel with every step
Move your hips forward (not side-to-side)
Aim for shorter, brisker strides
How Long Should You Power Walk For?
Studies show that even 10 minutes of brisk walking a day can increase cardiovascular health, joint health, and overall well-being. If running isn’t your jam and you want to make power walking part of your fitness routine, we recommend three 30-minute power walks per week. Power walkers don’t have to maintain the same pace for the entire duration of a walk; you can shake things up with intervals. Alternate shorter power walking “sprints” at 5.5mph with slower stints in between.
How Fast do Power Walkers Walk?
An effective power walking workout will differ depending on your current fitness level and experience with cardio workouts. But a good rule of thumb is to aim for 4 - 5.5 miles per hour.
If you’re going for a power walk outside, a fitness device can help you track your speed, but in general, you can aim for a brisk walk. Power walking is not for the faint of heart – your blood should be pumping!
As you become a more experienced power walker, you can focus on your stride instead of overall speed. Studies show that shorter, brisker steps (more steps per minute) can improve your insulin levels, body mass index, and weight.
What Muscles Does Power Walking Work?
Power walking activates more than just your legs. Consistent power walking will tone your glutes, core, and quads, too! Walking on an incline will take your calves and glutes to the next level, so consider power walking at an incline once a week on a neighborhood route with some hills.
Can Power Walking Replace Running?
Here’s a mind-blowing fact about power walking: It can burn the same amount of calories as running, with a fraction of the injury risks. Running has long been understood as one of the cheapest and most efficient cardiovascular workouts, but it comes with its share of potential injuries, including shin splints, stress fractures, knee injuries, and tendonitis. Power walking is a low-impact alternative to running that offers the same heart health benefits with minimal risk of injury. Power walking increases your heart rate the same way that running does, therefore burning the same number of calories. The main positive difference is that your joints don’t have to bear the brunt of the high impact that comes with running.
Is Power Walking Good for Weight Loss?
According to the Mayo Clinic, 30 minutes of brisk walking can burn 150 calories. So three to five power walking sessions a week can add up to considerable weight loss when paired with a healthy diet and strength training. One of the reasons power walking has experienced a resurgence in popularity is its sustainability. Power walking doesn’t require any equipment, and can be done almost anywhere, helping you lose weight and keep it off.
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