What do you think of when you hear "Power Walking"?
90's cheezy TV Shows?
Hot pink spandex tights?
Well, power walking is coming back, but this time without the strange fad-like image. And it's coming back for good reason. Power walking bridges the gap between easy fitness, and intense workouts. Power walkers can tailor their speed and intensity directly to what is doable. More fun than exercises in a gym. And best of all; it's free.
What is Power walking? Power walking is essentially fast walking. While the normal walking speed is 2.5 - 3 miles per hour, power walking typically requires you to move your speed to about 4.5 miles per hour or more. Power walking is still walking as there is always one foot on the ground. Walking in general has so many health benefits, it is said to be one of the most underrated activities of all. ( https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/walking-your-steps-to-health)
That small extra bump in speed encourages greater arm movement and wider stride. This leads to a much higher metabolic burn (e.g. burning through much more calories). The average person can burn over 200 calories in 30 minutes (https://www.livestrong.com/article/525564-how-many-calories-does-one-hour-of-power-walking-jogging-burn/).
A recent observation is showing the benefits and resurgence of speed walking. Also called aerobic or fitness walking. It's even an olympic sport! 1
Health Benefits of Power Walking
- More intensity can lead to higher calorie burn in a shorter period of time
- Greater arm and torso movement compared with standard walking
- Higher breathing rates to get your heart and lungs pumping
- Doable; Let's face it . . . Running and jogging are simply out of the question for many of us. Too difficult and too much impact on knees and joints. Power walking brings the benefits of jogging with the ease of walking.
Nearly anyone can do it
- Time and schedule, no need for gym memberships
- Park trails, malls, city streets, or even mountain trail hiking can all be great places for power walking
- No need for special equipment, or practice or skill
Power Walking compared with other fitness techniques
- Low impact: unlike intense workout regimes like crossfit, or heavy exercises like running; Power walking is easier on the body and joints
- Not confined to stationary position like treadmills
- Can be done in groups or individually
Ways to help your power walking
- Make it fun! Bring your dog, or grandchild stroller, or friends
- Consider flat surfaces at first, then gradually try mountainous trails
- Consider using nordic trekking poles: These hiking poles for walking add stability and support to your power walking. Consider folding collapsible ones like this one from EarthTrek Gear, or others, so you can keep it handy when ready to power walk.
- Avoid ankle and wrist weights. Just pure walking will make for the least amount of joint impact (https://www.paloaltoonline.com/blogs/p/2017/07/25/beyond-the-nightly-walk--power-walking)
- While 30 minutes or more is recommended, start with shorter more doable lengths of 15 minutes and progress from there. https://www.theactivetimes.com/fitness/technique/how-get-shape-just-walking
With the added health benefits and comeback in popularity, now is the time to try power walking for yourself.
- Mike Cutler is an avid trekker and passionate about trail hiking. His family lives in Reno, Nevada near California's Sierra mountains. He is a trail blogger and product tester for EarthTrek Gear.