Some fitness methods never fade away and fast-paced walking is a classic example. For decades it has provided many women the way to better health and fitness. Research reveals that fast walking has many more health and fitness benefits than previously thought possible. “Wait a minute – fitness!” I hear you say….Yes, fast walking can help women tone up and get back into shape, is extremely beneficial for raising HDL our ‘good’ cholesterol, and improving cardiovascular health. Fast paced walking is seeing a resurgence of interest among many who are overweight and seeking to be healthier. The nature of fast walking – low impact yet challenging activity that elevates the heart rate – makes it a practical and cheaper alternative form of fitness when high impact exercise is not possible for health reasons.

Some Facts About Walking:

1. Calorie Burning Activity Every step you take when walking creates 20 watts of power. That may not appear to be much on its own, but converted into a fast-paced 30-60 minute walking session and you have used up a lot of calories. For all math buffs out there, here’s the equation: CB = [0.0215 x KPH3 - 0.1765 x KPH2 + 0.8710 x KPH + 1.4577] x WKG x T What that means is that essentially, the total calorie burn while walking depends not only on the distance, but the speed of your walk. In fact, fast paced walking is being researched to help power personal electronics such as smartphones. You can read the details of the research here. 2. Pace Is Everything Research now proves beyond doubt that intensity of exercise is more important than duration or distance. A team of Danish scientists found that people who went for a daily fast-paced walk halved their risk of cardiovascular disease. Study participants who walked for an hour at a leisurely pace had the same risk of heart disease as those who were inactive. In other words, in order to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle fast-paced walking delivers significantly more positive results than a leisurely walk in the park. 3. The Right Way To Walk Learning how to walk may seem silly, but in fact if you can teach yourself to walk firm and fast, it is possible to reach your fitness goals. It’s all about better posture while you walk. * Lengthen Your Spine – we all catch ourselves out slumping our shoulders throughout the day. But when walking (or for any physical activity for that matter) it is important to hold your spine upright, open your chest by holding the shoulders evenly but not stiff. * The Right Foot Action – Avoid ‘slapping’ your foot down on the pavement with every stride. Instead, place your heel down first and then roll your weight along the sole of the foot and finish the stride with a push off the toes. This allows the body weight to be evenly distributed along the entire foot preventing injuries to ligaments and the joints of the foot. It also provides for a more fluid, steady tempo when walking. * Stable Hips – When walking, tighten the lower abdominals to stabilize the hips with each leg stride. When you walk with an upright posture and the abs contracted, the glutes (your butt cheeks) will tighten slightly adding to hip stability. These muscles protect the hip girdle, help to lengthen the leg stride creating strength and power in your walking pace. The end result – you burn more calories and tone muscle. To lose some weight though, you must walk at least 10,000 steps daily. Anything less is considered sedentary. Anything more than 10,000 is considered an effective weight loss/fitness activity. When performed consistently and regularly, walking at a challenging pace is an effective healthy activity to pursue. It is effective for anyone suffering pelvic floor issues, for mild joint conditions where high impact activity is not an option. It is also extremely beneficial for people recovering from cardiovascular conditions, for diabetic sufferers, the overweight, and for people recovering from sports injuries. Fast paced walking is not about clenching your butt, raising your elbows and shoulders and “going for broke” as seen by professional walkers at the Olympic Games. Fast paced walking is about walking with correct posture to activate the smaller, deep stabilizing muscles of your body. This develops not only a better calorie burn, but also improves posture, protects against joint/muscular injuries and quite simply, is a thoroughly enjoyable activity for many.