Strut your stuff to get fit and free your mind. Power walking is free, easy, requires little kit and is a wonderful way to get out and explore the great outdoors or your local park. When done correctly, power walking is good for your cardiovascular health, joint health, and emotional well-being. All you need to do is correct your technique, walk faster and for longer, and you will notice a difference right away. So many powerful health benefits and all it takes is putting one foot in front of the other. Read on to discover the many benefits, as well as tips on how to get your power walking waltz on.
The benefits of power walking
It’s like walking on sunshine, it really is. Exercising helps keep your stress levels down – we know that – but the added benefit of power walking is that it is fun! It looks silly too, so you’re guaranteed a few laughs. Read on to find out what other benefits can be gained from speeding up your stroll.
1. A power walking high
Just like getting a runner’s high, power walking releases endorphins, helps ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, plus it boosts your self-esteem.
2. Give your creativity some legs
A 2014 Stanford study found that “walking boosts creative inspiration. They examined creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat. A person's creative output increased by an average of 60 per cent when walking.” And best of all, it's not your surroundings that create this effect, it's the act of walking (or exercise) itself. So, don't despair if you're not living near picturesque scenery that looks like it should be on the cover of National Geographic.
3. Walking for weight loss
Maintain your weight or even help lose some weight (if that’s your goal), in combination with the right diet, of course, and improve your fitness and endurance. Keeping your heart rate up with a powerful walk will also help strengthen your abdominal muscles.
4. Limber and flexible with walking
Your muscles and joints become more flexible, and the stress on your knees is significantly less than when you're pounding the pavements during a run. Walking may also increase your range of motion and shift pressure from your joints to your muscles.
5. Improve heart health
That elevated heart rate we mentioned will also help improve your cardiovascular health.
6. Easy does it
It’s easy, requires no special equipment, no experience and no specific fitness level. It’s an activity that’s suitable for all ages and skill levels.
Power walking: How to do it
To maximise the results and get the most out of your power walking, here’s what the experts recommend:
As with any exercise, warming up is key to preventing injuries, and lengthening and loosening your muscles and connective tissue. Try some stretches and slow walking before speeding things up.
2. Watch your posture
Strut your stuff like you’re on the catwalk baby! Proper posture is critical when it comes to power walking – it may look a little silly, but there's no need to feel embarrassed. Stand up straight, keep your eyes forward and your shoulders back, pull in your belly button to engage your core and squeeze your glutes.
3. Swing your arms and lift those knees
To make sure every movement burns as many calories as possible, move your arms back and forth at a 90˚ angle to raise your heart rate. Also, lift your knees with every step to make your body work harder.
4. Ready, set, GO
Stick to your natural walking pattern and speed up the process. Remember to keep your core engaged to stop your upper body from rotating too much, as this will expend too much energy. With every step, land on your heel and roll your foot forward toward your toe.