If you have been walking to focus and destress for a while and are wondering what the next step up is, I’m here to tell you about power-walking. Power-walking requires a higher fitness level to begin with, and has a much more specific form that your body must follow. For your first couple power-walking sessions aim for 20-30 minutes, but gradually increase your endurance until you can do a 45-60 minute session.
Proper power-walking form:
With each step, roll your feet in a heel-ball-toe motion. Don’t try to add speed to your pace by lengthening your strides, but rather, keep them short and quick. Keeping your elbows at a 90 degree angle and swinging your arms is key. A little known fact is that your pace automatically adjusts to how quickly you are swinging your arms, so power-walking is a whole-body activity, not just for the legs. As with your usual walk, always keep your back straight and head held high.
Power walking speed:
An essential part of power-walking is your speed. A normal walk’s pace could be described as “brisk”, but for power-walking you should be aiming for 4.5 mph, or a 13-minute mile. You can easily get a feel for this pace by using a treadmill’s speedometer, or by going to a local high school track and timing yourself as you do four laps. An easy way to achieve this speed is to walk as if you are late for something important, and hover at the point right before you are about to break into a jog.
To start with, you should always have a timer to keep track of your progress. This will help you notice at what point you begin to feel exhausted, how long your sessions are, and set your goal time to be reached. As you begin to feel comfortable with power-walking, you can hold three to five pound dumbbells in your hands to enhance your upper-body workout. If building leg strength is what you are after, then invest in ankle weights and wear them as you walk.
Where to power-walk:
The easiest way to ensure that you are achieving a power-walk pace and distance is definitely the treadmill. However, if you prefer walking outdoors, then pick a track, park, or other route with minimal traffic to avoid interruptions in your workout. Begin your power-walks on a flat, paved surface, and then upgrade to a route with more inclines as you feel ready for the challenge.