Are You Ready to Power-Walk?

The benefits of walking cannot be stressed enough. Walking is one of the easiest ways to lose weight, improve your overall level of fitness and it’s fun. You don’t need fancy equipment to exercise by walking. You need only don a good supportive pair of walking shoes, some comfortable clothing and a safe place to walk. In addition to losing weight and burning body fat, walking can help you reduce your bad LDL cholesterol level and increase your good  HDL cholesterol. You may see your blood pressure lowered and by losing body fat you reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Walking is a low-impact exercise that works the whole body with minimal risk of injury. For those who want to take their walking exercise to the next level, power-walking may be the answer. Power-walking is a type of brisk walking with a technique to get the most from each stride. The goal of a power-walking exercise is not speed but power and technique. 

Photo Credit: Escuela Virtual de Deportes CC-BY-SA-2.5-CO 2010
Begin your power-walk by concentrating on pushing off from the back foot as your front foot lands on the ground. Walk heel to toe. The front foot should contact the ground heel first and roll across the ground toward the toe as you push off with your back foot using your toes. Allow your hips to rotate forward and backward and your waist to twist naturally while walking. Avoid the urge to lean forward as you power-walk. Keep your upper body upright and look straight ahead. People naturally swing their arms when casually walking. For the power-walk, bend your elbows and keep your arms close to your body. Allow your elbows to swing back and forth with your gait, but don’t pump your arms. Try to keep your upper body and arms as relaxed as possible while you push off during a power-walk. 
If you’ve been walking at a normal gait for 30 minutes or more without becoming fatigued, introduce power-walking in 5 minute intervals. Interval training can help improve your stamina, cardiovascular and respiratory health. You’ll burn more calories by interval training. Walk at a normal gait for 10 minutes and then power-walk for at least 5 minutes. Cool down by returning to a normal walking pace and repeat 5 minutes of power-walking. Beginners may want to power-walk for 2 to 3 minutes and gradually build up to the full 5 minutes of power-walking. As your stamina increases, increase the amount of time for each interval of power-walking until you can power-walk for 10 minutes followed by 5 minutes of normal walking pace. 

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