The Power of Power Walking
By Karrie Billets, Certified Personal Trainer, Functional Nutrition Health Coach
If you are very serious about physical fitness and staying in shape then you need to be well aware of the huge number of benefits that power walks bring. Sometimes known as speed walking, power walking is something of a halfway in between walking and jogging. Power walks occur at a fast speed – the kind of speed that you would usually associate with jogging.
It is a great way to stay in shape and enhance your overall health. Power walking is a great aerobic activity that burns calories but can also strengthen and firm your muscles, especially in the upper region of the body.
Regular walking and power walking are the most natural form of exercise, done on a regular basis, they can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, reduce body fat, tone muscle, and increase overall stamina. Not only that, but because it’s low impact, risk of injury is also low. You also need little in the way of equipment so you can exercise wherever you go.
Tip: Always warm up with a three-minute slow walk followed by some light stretching. Drink water before, during, and after walking.
In any effective workout, using the proper form is going to be absolutely key for making the most of it and doing it healthily. Power walks are relatively straightforward and most people would not think that there is a certain form to uphold, but the reality is that there is. Think of any type of workout and you can guarantee it will be more effective when it is completed correctly, whether they are simple or easy to execute.
The perfect ideal for the power walk is to have your chin up, your chest raised and your shoulders relaxed. At the start, don’t try to over-work yourself as you are only going to be putting yourself at more risk of injury. Start at a steady, walking pace then slowly increase your speed and use your arms to pump yourself forward. You should take smaller steps in the beginning and as you get into it and your muscles relax, you can slowly increase your stride.
Make sure to stretch at the end of your walking workout to prevent tightness and injuries. Make sure to stretch both muscles of the calf complex – stretch with a straight leg then with a bent leg – as well as your hamstrings and low back. Lastly, with your hands on your lower back, engage your glutes and gently press your hips forward to stretch the hip flexors. Try to hold each stretch for 30 seconds while taking deep breaths to help slow down your heart rate and relax your muscles. Grab your shoes and power your way to a healthier you!