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Yes, there are real benefits of walking fast — an experts’ guide

Your guide to getting the most out of your walks

It is often thought of as basic or even taken for granted, but there are many benefits of walking. Taking time out for these steps each day can help you reach and maintain your weight goals, balance your mood, and promote a great night of sleep. 

Don’t underestimate the power of walking because it provides a great foundation for aerobic exercises. This will get your heart rate pumping and get oxygen circulating. As a result, you’ll have upgraded endurance and maximize your overall wellness.

Be mindful that it’s not enough to just get your steps in because the walking pace can make a difference in your health conditions. Research has shown that walking at a faster pace can be beneficial for the outcomes of heart disease, cancer, and death. We will address the health benefits associated with walking fast, how to develop a routine, and how to maximize effects.

Two men hiking.
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4 benefits of getting in your steps every day

Improves cardiovascular health

Taking up to 10,000 steps a day has been linked to decreased risk of premature death due to cardiovascular-related events. A faster pace of walking can be a great addition to your aerobic activities and boosts your cardiovascular fitness. With improved heart health, your blood pressure can be reduced and stabilized.

Walking is a great form of stress relief, and this can benefit various aspects of life, like sleep. As you sleep, the heart muscle can relax, and the immune system is refreshed. During this time, the arterial tension is relieved, and circulation is improved. 

Adequate stress management can reduce blood pressure and ultimately bring balance to cholesterol and blood sugar. This is critical for preventing Diabetes as well as alleviating any strain on the kidneys and other organs.

Neurological and emotional enhancement

Brisk walking can benefit your brain function, which is good news for your mood, memory, and sleep. As previously mentioned, walking offers an aerobic foundation that boosts cardiovascular health and supports the connection between the heart and brain, as the vessels pump blood to the brain. 

When there is strain impacting the heart and blood vessels, there is a greater risk of stroke or dementia. Note that taking more steps and walking faster has been linked to decreased risk of all-cause dementia.

Going for brisk walks enhances your heart health and encourages healthy neurological function. This results in a stronger attention span and serves as an asset for greater performance. This lifts your mood and can help to alleviate stress and fatigue. With brisk walking in your arsenal and neurological health boosted, any potentially mounting feelings of anxiety and troubled sleep are thwarted. 

Optimizes fitness and wellness

Speed walking is also advantageous for increasing muscular strength, especially in the lower body. You’ll be able to notice the improved flexibility and endurance. As you advance in your workouts, you’ll be able to achieve more thorough muscle repair, which can protect you from muscle tears and strains. Consider that speed walking is good for improved body composition. One such method is inclined walking on a treadmill.

According to Cherie Hollins, the owner of Workout Anytime Fitness Center and a Silver Sneaker personal trainer, incline walking helps to “shape your body and burn fat.” Power walking and incline walking can intensify the workout and increase muscle strength

Her client Kiki McClellan, an IFBB pro athlete, shared that incline walking can enhance muscle activation and toning because different groups are targeted, like the hamstrings and glutes. It also reduces your risk for injury as the joints undergo less stress. 

Calorie burning and weight management

Going for brisk walks can help you lose body fat and maintain the healthy weight you desire. We’re susceptible to gaining weight when we consume more calories than we burn. One way to increase the calories you burn is to engage in inclined walking exercises. 

Kiki McClellan shared that incline walking is a greater challenge compared to flat surfaces and subsequently leads to higher calorie burn. As blood pressure regulation helps to balance blood sugar, this can help to keep weight under control.

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Why does your walking pace matter?

Walking pace 100% matters regarding our fitness and health. Deciding what pace will be most effective depends on what goals you have set. Michael Hamlin, personal trainer and founder of Everflex Fitness, has said that increasing your walking pace can benefit aerobic fitness. He explained that faster walking helps with calorie burning and weight loss.

Calvin J. Martin, NYC personal trainer and fitness industry expert, shared further insight. With knowledge about your heart rate, you can gauge how long or intense the walks should be. Additionally, he said, “A quick or brisk pace can make your breathing harder than usual and your heart rate elevated.”

Again, cardiovascular wellness is at the heart of this issue! Jarrod Nobbe, head weightlifting coach for the Athletic Lab Weightlifting Team, emphasized the heart-healthy nature of a brisk walk. The heart pumps faster when you step up your speed. You can maximize the benefits by putting greater effort into your activity. It’s important to note that slower walking can also be advantageous for blood pressure and weight maintenance, which ultimately gives your body the balance it needs. 

Man walking in city.
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5 tips for optimizing your walking routine

1. Posture and form

The first step in your walking journey is to establish good posture and form. When you’re standing straight and upright, your muscles move with more ease and a better range of motion. Standing upright can also alleviate any pains or aches that may develop. Posture affects the way you breathe, and deep breaths can be achieved more thoroughly when standing erect.

Michael Julom, the founder of thisiswhyimfit.com, has provided tips to support posture and improve your walking experience. Keeping your shoulders relaxed can improve your breathing while pumping your arms during the walk “increases your speed and engages the upper body.”

Calvin J. Martin suggests walking with your head up and shoulders back to avoid strain. If you wear comfortable shoes during your walk, you’ll be less likely to feel strain and aches. 

2. Start gradually

Once you’ve got good form, you should slowly ease into a groove that works for you! Cherie Hollins, owner of Workout Anytime Fitness Center, recommends maintaining a constant rhythm and stride. The feedback from Michael Hamlin of Everflex Fitness was consistent with this. He attested to the notion that starting slowly allows your body to adjust and cuts down on the fatigue that can set in if you begin the exercise too intensely.  

In addition to this, your walking regimen can include intervals. Going back and forth between a slower pace and a brisk pace can be a good balance for your heart rate and stamina. With each walk, as you become accustomed to your pace and build stamina, you can elevate from a five-minute walk to a twenty-minute walk. 

3. Variety

Walking doesn’t have to become monotonous! You can take different routes and walk in different environments. One positive suggestion from Michael Julom is to walk in different neighborhoods and areas while also traveling a new path. Exploring different settings for your walks can offer you new challenges, like terrains or inclines.

Jarrod Nobbe expounded on variety within your walking regimen. To intensify your walk, you can utilize dumbbells or weighted vests. Walking on an incline can help with sparing muscles while easing your joints as well. 

4. Track progress

You’ll want to have a way to measure your results, and for many people, this means a way to track heart rate. For Kiki McClellan, the heart rate is very important. Staying within the fat-burning zone enables fat to be used first as the primary source of fuel. 

You can guide the heart to stay within this fat-burning zone by going for high-intensity walks and also taking time for recovery. A monitor can give you a picture of which zones you’re in during your walk. It would also be beneficial to track not only your heart rate but also your steps and the distance you walked.

5. Stay safe

Above all things, stay safe! One way to do this is to stay hydrated and stretch before walking. When you stretch before doing any physical activity, you lower the risk of cramping and straining your muscles. 

As previously mentioned, gradually setting the pace for your walk can help protect you from overexerting yourself, having aches and pains, and feeling fatigued. You can also boost your safety by exercising in reflective clothing. Michael Julom suggests walking in pairs or groups can also be a safety precaution, as well as a motivation booster.

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Christine VanDoren
Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her…
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