Speed Walking Tips

Kaleena Lawless

Personal Training Specialist

During the past week, I have been speed walking hills, instead of the usual morning jog. The first difference I noticed was that while I did not sweat nearly as much as running, my heart rate soars out of control! To give you an idea of the difference, my jogs take my heart rate to a max of 130, whereas the walks were measuring in between 150 and 160!

It is amazing how easy it is to believe you are well conditioned in all areas of fitness, and then do something your body is not quite used to, just to see where your training weaknesses lie. I walk all of the time, but never up a hill, at over 4 miles/per/hour for 30 minutes straight!

Not to mention how tired it made me. You know that feeling after a day long hike? That is how I felt after my first speed walking workout. Considering I walked for less time than my usual runs (and they do not tire me at all!) I think these walks should be a part of my regular fitness rotation.

Here are some speed walking tips:

1. Concentrate movement from the core.

Keep your back straight, your abs tight and imagine your legs and arm are being propelled by your midsection. This means that every movement is very intentional. Your body is moving like a machine. When the left leg is out the right arm is out and vice versa. It is important to keep this form for the most effective workout possible, core strengthening, and injury prevention.

2. Swing your arms.

Speed walkers swing their arms for extra cardiovascular conditioning, and balance. Using your arms allows more blood to be pumped into the heart. Using light 1 or 2 lbs is debatable. Some people believe it will give you a repetitive strain injury. For the most part, I believe this too. Using weights should be strictly for strength training, not cardio. However, using very light 1lb weights when speed walking does help you to keep your arms swinging, and to stay sweating. There is no doubt about that. Using them sparingly, every few workouts will do no harm.

3. Use an incline.

Walking up hills, or on an incline is more challenging, and helps to cushion impact. Walking on flat terrain, or even worse, downhill is extremely hard on the joints. If you are walking downhill, swivel your hips and bend your knees. This will help to strengthen the lower back and prevent shin splints.

Speed walking is fantastic for people who cannot run due to injuries, obesity or weak leg muscles. It is also a great way to cross train, to switch up your running routine periodically for better overall results.

Try It!

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  • coco says
    I would never of guessed that walking up hill would raise your heart more than running? Definitely going to try this.
  • KH says
    I guess I should be glad to live in a hilly suburb after all!
  • coco says
    I have been doing the speed walking but have been getting sore shins ... Maybe too much too soon?
  • flowery3 says
    Hmm the trouble is that walking uphill is good for us, and walking down hill is bad - yet the two usually come as a pair! Perhaps we should have a bike or a scooter, and walk up, then roll down?
  • Mellow says
    Be aware of the 'speed humps', bad for the hips
  • Lauren says
    I'm glad walking up hill is better than running, I'd rather walk over run anyday!
  • Anna says
    i always feel funny speed walking.... it looks... silly....
  • Cinty says
    Speed walking is jogging slowed down. ! I'd feel silly doing it and I'm pretty sure that there was a TV show that had a speed walking competition. And there were specific rules and everything. Made me really laugh.
    • Anna says
      totally agree!!! it just looks funny with the hip swaying thing....
      • Cinty says
        The hip swaying really helps you get in to it. Not to mention it gets the guys attention! :p
      • KH says
        I've always called this power walking. I would feel a little bit self conscious doing this, I admit.
      • Soland says
        Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be quite expensive and challenging. Its very important that we keep track of our food intake and choose the right fitness experts to give us on our journey. We can read useful fitness top services reviews & articles online and start from there.

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