By Rachel Joy
You may not think of walking as a tough workout. But power walking has several benefits for maintaining physical health now and as you get older. As a walking technique, power walking emphasizes speed and arm motion. Its characteristic speed and accentuated arms motion make it a great exercise for cardiovascular and joint health. In addition, it can help burn calories, improve your mood, and keep your heart strong and healthy.
Is Walking Cardio?
As you adapt to training in power walking, your cardiovascular system will improve. Your blood pressure will also improve as more peripheral capillaries open up to blood flow. The load put on your skeletal system while power walking contributes to maintaining strong and healthy bones. As a result, power walking helps to decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
It’s crucial to maintain proper form to get the most out of power walking and avoid injuries. Eyes should point forward, shoulders back, and head upright. It’s also important to engage your core to safeguard your lower back, helping you avoid back injuries.
For most people, walking is too simple to be a killer workout. But the truth is, for many walking is as effective if not better than running. The best cardio exercises are the ones that get your heart pumping; when your heart is racing, blood flow to the muscles and organs increases.
Walking is a moderate-intensity exercise, while running is a vigorous-intensity workout. An American Heart Association journal shows that running and walking have similar benefits. Both workout routines reduce your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Since walking is not as vigorous, you will need to walk a longer distance to burn more calories. But unlike running, walking puts less strain on your feet and joints. It’s a great option if you suffer from back pain, knee, and joint problems or simply fancy a lighter workout.
Should You Do Cardio Before or After Weights?
By Ana Snyder, M.S., Exercise Physiology; CPT, FNS
Power Walking Vs. Running
Power walking and running affect the body the same way. The biggest difference comes in the movement, speed, and intensity of both workouts. So how fast does the average person walk when power walking? The average power walking speed is three to five miles per hour, although some people reach seven to ten miles per hour. For instance, if you power walk at four and a half miles per hour, you will burn the same number of calories you would burn jogging at a similar speed for an hour.
Running is high intensity, while power walking is a more moderate workout. With the higher intensity of running, there’s also a higher risk of injury. Running strains your joints while power walking is gentler since you don’t bounce as much. Also, power walking can be a great warm-up exercise or cardio before or after weights. Choosing between power walking and running will depend on your fitness goals and fitness levels. Running or power walking can even be your go-to morning exercise.
Power Walking Techniques That Work
The technique makes all the difference in your power walking exercise. At the same time, doing it right minimizes your risk of injuries.
It’s all in the Posture
Like with any other exercise, good posture will help you make use of the right muscles. With power walking, your eyes should always face forward, head upright, and shoulders back. Tuck in your abs so that you engage your core. If you notice that you are slouching forward, stop and correct your posture. When power walking, relax your neck and shoulders. Maintaining this posture will help you stick to your speed to reap the most benefits.
Keep your Arms Swinging
With power walking, you can burn more calories if you maintain good motion. Your arms should bend at an angle of ninety degrees. The elbows should be close to your body and relax the fists. When you are moving, move the arms forward rather than diagonally and not past your collarbone. So how do you do the actual power walk? When your right foot steps forward, your left arm should reach forward as well. Adding the arm motion helps you walk faster and burn more calories. Remember to keep the movements right, as exaggerating movements could slow you down or lead to injuries. If you want to make the workout more intense, you can add weights.
Power walking means that the legs and feet do most of the work. The correct technique is to step from your heel to toe rolling all the way. When landing, land on your heel and then roll the foot forward towards the toe. When doing so, make sure that your hips are moving forward rather than from side to side. Also, keep your strides short and maintain control rather than long.
Pace and Distance
If you want to burn more calories, maintain a brisk pace and aim for short strides. Studies show that taking extra steps per minute is better for your waist circumference, insulin level, and body mass index. If you are a beginner, start with a healthy pace that is comfortable for you. Over time, you can increase the pace and distance.
Making the Most of Your Power Walking Exercise Session
Power walking is great if you want to burn calories without running. However, to maximize benefits and lower the risk of strain and injury, you’ll want to consider a few more preparations.
Do Some Stretches
Power walking may not be as vigorous as walking, but it’s still a strenuous exercise. Begin with a few stretches of the feet and calves since the legs will be doing most of the work. Flex the muscles until you feel warmed up and ready to go.
To reduce your risk of injury, perform a warm-up. Begin at a slow, easy pace as you warm up your body. This is also the right time to master the power walking technique. Warm up for about five minutes and then gradually increase the speed.
When you are power walking, sometimes, you might slip into a moderate or slow pace. To make sure that doesn’t happen, introduce intervals into your workout. If, for instance, you are power walking for thirty minutes, try and push your speed to the fastest you can manage for thirty seconds. When doing that, make sure that you don’t increase your speed so much that you are jogging. As your fitness improves, you can add ten to twenty seconds to every interval. Do this until you can walk at that fast speed for a few minutes.
Wear the Right Shoes
The correct footwear is vital when power walking. Your shoes should be flexible, light, and flat to maintain the right speed and foot motions. The Vionic women’s brisk Aimmy walking shoes, for instance, are stylish and comfortable for walking.
Power Walking: An Effective Health and Fitness Routine
Power walking boosts your heart rate without straining your connective tissue and joints. Depending on your speed, you can burn between two and four-hundred calories every hour you power walk. It’s a great workout regardless of your age, size, gender, or fitness level. It’s also a good exercise routine for those with joint problems or who want a lighter workout. With power walking, you choose your speed and terrain that’s right for you. The bottom line is that power walking is a simple yet effective exercise that supports your overall health and wellness.
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