You may think walking faster it is easy. But you must improve your speed walking form to make it easy for long periods and decreasing any risk of injury. Think about it. If it was all that easy, then everybody on the street would be walking in a fast mode. Imagine that for a moment. To be able to walk faster than your normal walk, you must practice and have some strategies for you to follow.
If you want to get more out of your fitness walking program you must increase your walking speed? The faster you walk the more calories you burn. What is it more important is the ability to turn on the speed. And you can cover more miles in the same amount of time. However, increasing your speed can be a real challenge. Here are a few tips and strategies to help you increase your walking speed and fitness.
It is Better To Walk Faster?
A recent study looked at the impact that walking pace has on our body and our health specifically focused on the association of the walking pace and premature all-cause mortality and those with cancer and cardiovascular disease.
50225 walkers participated in this research and the results showed that an average or brisk/fast pace walking helps greatly to reduce the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality for those over 50 years old, but there was no association seen between cancer and pace walking. Also, as a result of the study, it remained unclear whether the pace of walking is independent or not of the total volume of physical activity, therefore more research is needed to determine that.
Nevertheless, although a higher speed of walking would probably benefit you more and quicker do not get hung up on that. Use the pace that makes you feel comfortable and motivated to want and do more instead of trying to speed up only to quit after a couple of times because you are out of breath and lose confidence.
The best way is to start at your natural pace and gradually increase so you will enjoy your walks. This is a great way because your body will get used to the exercise, will get stronger and therefore you will walk faster in no time.
Remember: listen to your body and have faith. Practise and perseverance will help you build up the necessary strength to be able to walk at a fast pace.
#1 Walking Intervals
What is walking intervals?
That is a good question. Walking intervals is the change between an easy walking with an intense walking/fast walking or power walking. For example, walk at your normal pace for five minutes. Then increase your pace for one minute. Repeat until you’ve covered your normal distance. This seems to be easy to follow but they are meant to be hard and quick. The switch between the interval must be precise and not too long.
Walking fast for 1 or 2 minutes and then switching back to slower walk will give you some break and also it is an easy way to recover before you are starting your next fast walk. Not to forget that this helps strengthen your muscles and it gets your body used to walking at faster speeds. You can gradually lengthen the interval time until you’re walking at a faster pace throughout your workout.
This is not about the right speed. It is more switching between power/fast walking with an easy/moderate walking. Some people may have a regular speed walking different form other people. For me, it is very hard to walk slowly while my friend loves it because that is their moderate speed. For me, the moderate speed is a bit faster. So, when I switch to a faster/intense speed, it is quite fast. Almost as a power walking speed.
These intervals will push your body to build strength faster than walking at a moderate speed. These intervals are a great way to burn more calories in a short amount of time spent out walking. If you are short of your time, to use intervals is the best way to achieve your goals of losing weight. Do not forget to have with you a watch to keep track of your time.
Planning and making a goal
If you worry about getting started to use intervals, don’t be. To start is easy, all you have to do start is to plan your walking workout exercise and stick to it. Before you start, put the timer on your phone or watch and try to see how fast you can walk for 2 min.
An example of the plan
If you are a beginner, try to start with a 30 min a day walking workout. If you are doing this for a month, then you can do a plan for 1 hour a day walking workout.
- 5 min – warm-up at your moderate walking speed
- 5 to 10 min – walk as fast as you can
- 2 to 5 min – walk as your moderate walking speed
- 5 to 15 min – walk as fast as you can
….. and so on.
In the end, walk for 5 to 10 min your moderate speed to cool down.
Walking up the hill is a challenging but effective way to increase your walking fitness. You may find it to be difficult at first but think about the benefits you will get and keep going. You will increase the intensity of your walks and also this will help you to strengthen your muscles and build your endurance. It is much quicker to improve your fitness and to increase the number of calories burned. Walking uphill will increase your heart rate, and will shape your entire body.
You will find when you are walking on a flat surface that you can walk much faster. When you are walking hills, approach them as you would an interval training program. Rotate walking uphill with walking on a flat surface. This is easily accomplished on a treadmill. If you are walking outside you might want to find a loop to walk that includes a hill.
Practice more walking uphill and you will be able to walk faster on the flat terrain.
#3 Body Positioning
While you are out there for your walk, remember to maintain a good posture. As you are walking you might notice that if you lean forward a bit at the hips that momentum carries you forward. Probably you may know already that with a good posture you will be able to breathe properly and in this way, you will avoid any injury and any back pain.
How you may hold your body it is very important in your walking workout. This subtle change in your posture can help you walk faster. Sometimes we may have easily been distracted from our posture, so make sure that you follow the posture tips in here.
Additionally, race walking or power walking also embraces a different walking posture. Both are designed for fast-paced walking.
Make sure that you stop and take a break or reduce your speed if you feel that you are not able to maintain your proper posture.
#4 Swinging your arms
Swinging your arms is another subtle body position change that can help you walk a bit faster. When you swing your arms it is in response to your feet hitting the ground. Swinging your arms just a touch faster will thus prompt your feet to move more quickly.
Bend your arms at 90 degrees as you swing them forward and back. You must do this swinging in a proper form. If you are swinging your arms wrong will mess with your strides and you will lose energy fast.
I have found that one of my mistakes as a walker is not using my arms enough because swinging my arms helps to generate more power and in this way helps to boost my walking speed.
Starting working and improving your arms movement will help you to deal with the physical effort that you put between your legs and your upper body.
Use your movements of arms to walk and move more quickly and this will improve your body muscle tone.
#5 Shorten your stride
Sounds contradictory, right? You’d think that shortening your stride would make you walk slower. However, shortening your stride makes it easier to take more steps. It is in your nature to increase your strides when you are walking faster but the length of your legs also plays a big part in stride length.
However, the length of your strides can be influenced by other factors, such as your height, your walking speed, your weight. Those factors also will influence your number of steps per mile. Do you know how many steps you are doing per mile? When you are calculating your steps per mile, you must take into consideration those factors that are influencing your number. Usually, average steps per mile are somewhere between 2000 and 2500 step/mile.
Once you know your steps per mile, you will know how far you need to go and how you can add to your walking speed, being able to cut the time shorter.
It is easier on your body to take more steps than it is to take longer steps. And you’ll cover more ground with shorter, faster, steps. Try it the next time you’re out walking. Shorten your stride and take more steps. Swing your arms to help keep your pace. See for yourself the difference.
There are many ways to increase your speed and walking fitness. Before you choose a strategy to consider what your goals are. Choose a strategy that fits your needs, personality and fitness walking goals. Pay close attention to your body and the subtle changes you can make to increase your speed. After all, you are the best judge of what works for you and what doesn’t.
Please take time to analyse your body posture, your arm motion technique, work on your intervals, improve your walking endurance by using the hills and shorten your strides.
Give it a go, try different strategies mentioned above and stick to what works best for you, what helps you not only achieve your goals but also, what makes you enjoy the walking exercise.
At the end of the day, what is most important is for us to be happy while working to stay healthy and fit.
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Until next time,
Oana and Paula