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What is Fitness Walking?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Fitness walking is a type of exercise where one is walking regularly for the purposes of increasing physical fitness and/or encouraging weight loss. It is also sometimes referred to as power walking, speed walking, or aerobic walking. Fitness walking is an excellent activity because it can be done by virtually anyone, regardless of their existing physical fitness level. In addition, it puts less impact on the body than running, but walkers who maintain a brisk pace for a set period of time burn a similar amount of calories as joggers.

To begin a new fitness walking workout program, it is recommended to start slowly. Begin by walking for approximately ten minutes per day at a slightly faster pace than normal walking speed. Be sure to have comfortable, supportive sneakers on, along with comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing. Reflector strips should be added to the clothes if walking at night or along a street. Practice good posture while walking: the back should be straight, shoulders down, and abdominal muscles tightened.

It is important to warm up and cool down before and after a fitness walking workout; this can be accomplished by walking at a slightly slower pace. In addition, at the end of the workout, it is a good idea to do some simple muscle stretches. As physical fitness increases, the time spent walking can be increased, as well as the walking pace. It is generally recommended that people walk from between 30 and 60 minutes per day at a brisk pace, both to improve physical fitness and to lose weight.

In fitness walking, do not place weights on the wrists. This can stretch the tendons and increase blood pressure without providing any real benefits. Instead, swing arms in a controlled way to engage the muscles; do not swing the arms too vigorously, which can lead to muscle pulls and injury, and do not hunch the shoulders forward to look at the ground. Do not take large, exaggerated strides while walking, for similar reasons.

Another type of fitness walking is Nordic walking. In this exercise, one carries two Nordic walking poles and uses them to strike the ground during each stride while walking; the poles appear similar to ski poles. It is very important to maintain proper form when practicing this type of walking, so it may be helpful to watch an instructional video first. For anyone who wants to increase their levels of cardiovascular fitness or to lose weight, incorporating fitness walking into a daily routine is an excellent way to accomplish those goals.

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Discussion Comments

By Ivan83 — On May 10, 2012

Is there anyone who fitness walking would not be appropriate for? What kind of health conditions would prevent you from walking even a moderate distance?

By truman12 — On May 10, 2012
One tip I have for any fitness walker is to walk to music. This is true for any kind of exercise but it really helps over the course of a long and potentially very boring walk.

I have an Ipod that straps to my arm. It does not jostle around even when I am walking quickly and the ear buds stay captured in my ear. I will usually make a specialized mix for each walk. It keeps you motivated and if it is energetic music it might just get you moving faster.

By nextcorrea — On May 09, 2012

I have recently started walking for fitness and I have a few questions. First, how fast do I need to be walking? I am not totally out of shape and I can exert myself by walking faster than my normal stride would call for. How fast do I need to go?

Second, how long do I need to walk for at each session? I have been going for 15 to 20 minutes but I am not sure this is enough. My goal is to loose at least a few pounds. Are my walks long enough to start dropping weight?

By tigers88 — On May 08, 2012

Walking is one of the most effective forms of exercise that you can do. It engages the entire body and it is very low impact. It is a great place to start for people who are easing back into exercise. For these individuals, running or lifting weights can be too much physical exertion too fast.

But a walk around the block, or even to the end of the street, can provide ample, effective exercise to even the biggest couch potato.

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