Photo: dolgachov via 123RF

Power walking may seem a bit dramatic, but this exercise technique packs a punch for your health. Compared to strolling, power walking, or “speed walking,” improves cardiovascular health, burns more calories, and increases weight loss while strengthening your leg and abdominal muscles.  

As its name suggests, power walking is when a person walks at 4-5.5 miles per hour. The average person walks at a speed of 3-4 miles per hour. This can vary based on your age, overall health, and fitness level. 

Benefits of Walking 

Walking is an excellent way to get fit and improve your overall health and wellbeing. This means even power-walking newbies can reap the benefits of a quick, low-intensity stroll. You’ve got to start somewhere!

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular, brisk walking can improve your: 

  • Mood, memory, and sleep
  • Balance and coordination
  • Energy levels 
  • Muscle endurance 
  • Immune system 

Power walking may seem a bit dramatic, but this exercise technique packs a punch for your health. Compared to strolling, power walking, or “speed walking,” improves cardiovascular health, burns more calories, and increases weight loss while strengthening your leg and abdominal muscles.  

As its name suggests, power walking is when a person walks at 4-5.5 miles per hour. The average person walks at a speed of 3-4 miles per hour. This can vary based on your age, overall health, and fitness level. 

Benefits of Walking 

Walking is an excellent way to get fit and improve your overall health and wellbeing. This means even power-walking newbies can reap the benefits of a quick, low-intensity stroll. You’ve got to start somewhere!

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular, brisk walking can improve your: 

  • Mood, memory, and sleep
  • Balance and coordination
  • Energy levels 
  • Muscle endurance 
  • Immune system 

The farther (and faster!) you walk, the greater the benefits. This is particularly true for people who are walking to lose weight. Adding 30 minutes of brisk walking into your daily routine could help you burn up to 150 more calories per day.

Photo: andrii kobryn via 123RF
  1. Set realistic goals. Setting a realistic and achievable goal for yourself is a great way to stay motivated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends logging 150 minutes of physical activity each week (that’s 30 minutes per day, five days per week). If you’re unable to commit to 150 minutes, that’s OK! Even short spurts of physical activity can positively affect your overall health. 
  2. Make a plan. Now that you’ve decided on a goal, it’s time to make a plan. Get yourself a pair of comfortable and supportive shoes, choose your route (be sure to factor in any sidewalk cracks, winding paths, or potholes), and decide on a schedule that works for you. Tip: If a set schedule isn’t ideal, feel free to get creative. This could mean walking instead of driving to the store or dinner or inviting friends over for a walk instead of lunch (no one said you can’t have coffee and walk simultaneously!).
  3. Get started. Setting a goal and putting a plan in place to achieve that goal are the first two steps of any workout routine. Once you have a clear vision of what you want and how you’re going to get it, it’s time to get started! Remember to start slow, listen to your body, and be kind to yourself. 
  4. Focus on your technique. Having a technique in place is essential if you want to maximize the benefits of your power walk. The Mayo Clinic recommends keeping your head up and neck, shoulders, and back relaxed. You should also incorporate gentle arm swinging into the mix to help you walk faster (“gentle” is the keyword here). Exaggerated movements will slow you down, but a little pumping of the arms is OK. 
  5. Track your progress. Tracking your progress is an excellent way to keep yourself motivated. Who knows, you may find that you need to increase your time and speed a few weeks down the road. Or, you may find that your plan is just right. Ultimately, the result is up to you! 

Deciding to change or create a new habit is the first step to improving your health, happiness, and overall wellbeing. So get out there, and start walking!