Power Walk Your Way To Great Health And Fitness
Exercise is extremely important for both your mental and physical health. It helps condition your lungs, heart, and metabolism to work with much more precision. Also, your body releases endorphins, burns fat, and muscles grow stronger.
There are countless individuals who choose to run for fitness and the health benefits. Yet, don’t be dismayed. If running is not for you (it’s not for me!), then begin to power walk down the path to amazing health and fitness. Even if you can only walk for 10 minutes at a time, at least it’s a start. Once you get more comfortable with regular walking, then begin to do some power walking.
First – What is Power Walking?
If you have never heard of power walking you may be surprised it really is a sport in it’s own right. Basically, it is walking very fast. On average one walks about 4.5 – 5.5 mph! This is much faster than strolling down the street.
In order to walk at this pace, power walkers need to acquire a different technique than your average pedestrian.
Usually, their arms will swing to help give them power. Their hips and how they form their
stride are very distinctive than a normal walker or runner. These movements seem like an exaggerated
version of ones walking style.
Why Choose to Power Walk?
Some people choose to power walk for the sheer enjoyment they find with this type of
exercise (sport). Others may want to power walk due to increased possibility for injury that running may present.
Things like: Foot problems, shin splints, knee trouble and bursitis. In general, the probability
for injury is not the same. Power walking has less impact on the joints, ligaments, and tendons
because they withstand and take on less of a beating.
There are many benefits of power walking such as:
- Muscle toning
- Boost your metabolism
- Weight loss
- Burn more fat & calories
- Sleep better
- Promote the immune system
- Release of healthy endorphins
- Gain vitamin D power walking outside
So let’s say you want to begin to add power walking to your exercise program. What are a few things you need to get started? The most important thing needed are good shoes. Once you find a good pair, you are good to go.
I recommend Ryka walking shoes or what I’m currently wearing, Fila Memory Cool walking shoes. I have also used Ryka’s cross trainers for walking and they were great. Do you have a favorite walking shoe?
A few more things you might need are:
- Good sports bra (women)
- Fitness watch (Here are the ones I recommend)
- A heart rate monitor
- Compression shorts (men)
- Safety gear
- Loose fitting and moisture wicking clothing
The best part – you can power walk alone, with friends, or in groups. Being outside is always good. Getting fresh air makes you happier. However, if you are not able to get outside then try the treadmill, that way you still get your fitness routine in for the day.
Once you have a good handle on power walking try to build up your speed. Below you’ll fine some power walking techniques.
Power Walking Techniques to help walk faster:
- Make sure to use good posture – look ahead, not down. Try not to walk in a slouched position.
- Try to tighten your butt & abs while you try to keep your back relaxed. Your shoulders shouldn’t be lifted.
- Your chest should be raised. Walk in a straight line while you take smaller, faster steps.
- Use your toes to push off and land on your heel. Reel through your step and then push off with your toes again. The natural strength of your calf will help you move forward.
- Keep your arms at a little less than a 90 degree angle. Your hands will be cupped slightly. Move your arms back and forth. Your arms should not swing side to side – Do not bring them across your body. The faster your arms go, the faster your feet will go as well.
- Don’t forget to breathe – take breaths that are deep and in a rhythm. Your walk should be fast enough to elevate your breathing, but not be out of breath.
Power Walking Do’s & Don’ts:
- Do not look at the ground while walking
- Do not crouch your shoulders
- Do not use hand or ankle weights
- Do not make strenuous arm motions
- Do not over extend your steps
Now that you have the basics of power walking you should be all set. Make it a point to have fun while you power walk. Grab a buddy and get walking!
If you aren’t quite ready to get outdoors to walk, then my recommendation is to start with Walk Away the Pounds.
Can you see how power walking can have many benefits?