We all know that exercise is important. Did you know that a simple walk around the neighborhood provides many health benefits? Strong bones, less anxiety, and lymphatic cleansing are just a few of the many benefits of walking. Understanding how to increase your walking speed and implement these tips will help push your body into moderate aerobic exercise. Let’s look at more reasons why increasing your walking speed is beneficial to your health.
There are so many great reasons why you should increase your walking speed over time. Walking faster increases heart rate, and that offers health benefits such as:
We all can use more energy, and simply increasing your walking speed can help. Not only does walking increase metabolism, but it also helps you sleep better at night, which improves energy levels during the day.
The distance that you walk each day is, of course, a significant factor in how many calories one may burn by taking a stroll. But, increasing your walking speed increases how many calories per hour you burn. Not only that, as your heart rate increases, you burn additional calories as well.
Walking is one of the safest exercises that you can do. It doesn’t require any equipment or a gym membership, and with a pair of good shoes, you can increase your daily exercise and prevent obesity and disease.
An article on the effects of physical activity on adult obesity published by The National Library of Medicine states: “Our key results show that participation in leisure-time physical activity exceeding 1.5 kcal/kg per day (i.e., at least 30 min of walking) reduces BMI by about 0.11-0.14 points in males and 0.20 points in females relative to physically inactive counterparts.”
As mentioned early, walking briskly increases heart rate, strengthening the heart, which lowers your risk of heart disease. Walking has been shown to help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and prevent diabetes.
A two-year study conducted by The Honolulu Heart Program to determine the effects of walking on coronary heart disease in older men found that men who walked less than .25 miles per day had a two-fold increased risk of developing coronary heart disease versus those who walked more than 1.25 miles per day.
We are all aware of bone health as we age, but did you know that walking can improve bone health? A study determining risk factors for hip fracture in women found that maintaining body weight and walking for exercise were two factors that helped in reducing hip fractures.
So, we now know that increasing your walking speed increases energy, improves heart health, burns calories, prevents obesity, and improves bone health. But, you may be wondering how to increase walking speed. Here are a few tips for safely increasing your pace a little at a time.
Flexibility significantly affects stride length. There are multiple stretches that help increase flexibility and improve your walking speed. Some great stretches to include are:
How often were we told to “sit up straight” by our mothers? As always, Mom knows best! If you have ever participated in power walking, you know that good posture is a deal-breaker. Keep your shoulders pulled back, pull your belly button in towards your spine, and hold your head upright. This will help engage your core muscles, protect you from injury, and help increase speed.
Our 5-Minute Barre series on YouTube can help you with your posture! Watch below and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more fitness videos.
How you hold your arms during a walk has a huge impact on your speed. Focus on holding your arms at a 90-degree angle and then slightly pumping them as you walk will help increase speed and improve muscle tone.
As you walk and concentrate on your posture, also be aware of your heels. Make sure that you land on your heel and then roll your foot forward with each step.
Finding a lightweight shoe with adequate cushion is important when choosing a shoe for brisk walking. Also, look for one that provides adequate flexibility. Balance is key here, though, because a shoe that is too stiff may cause foot pain and lack of mobility, but a shoe that bends too much may not provide the support that you need. Visiting a knowledgeable shoe department can be very beneficial.
Walking is a simple and safe exercise for people of any age; however, there is always a risk of injury in any exercise. Building lower body strength, achieving good balance, and proper stretching are all important factors when walking, especially if you are on uneven terrain or hills. Common walking injuries include lower back strain, hip flexor strain, hamstring strain, and plantar fasciitis. Simple steps to ensure success include:
Remember that regular exercise is good, and increasing your walking speed may take some time. Don’t rush yourself and think that it must be done overnight. Implement these steps a little at a time, and you will find success in your walking exercise routine.
This post is for informational purposes only. Please consult a doctor or physician before starting a new exercise routine.