A power walking program is a great starting point to achieving your weight loss and fitness goals. Bob's favorite exercise for fitness beginners—that they can do forever, and whenever—is power walking. You can do anywhere, anytime, and the risk of injury is low. You can perform it outside or on a treadmill where you also have the advantage of controlling the grade to make your workout more challenging. Stride right!
Keep in mind, we're talking about power walking, not casual strolling. For optimum calorie burning, you need to walk at about a 4.5 mph pace. Fitness scientists at Washington University in St. Louis found if you walk at this pace, you can burn almost as many calories (201 per 30 minutes, based on a 140-pound woman) as someone jogging at about the same speed (223 calories per 30 minutes).
Of course, 4.5 mph is a fast walk. You shouldn't expect to hit that speed right away. Begin at a slower pace and gradually work up to this speed. How do you find your beginning pace? Measure a mile around your neighborhood with your car's odometer, then walk it and time yourself. If it takes 20 minutes, that's approximately 3 mph; 15 minutes is 4 mph; 13 minutes is 4.5 mph; and 12 minutes is 5 mph. Another way to measure your pace while walking: Try to maintain the point where you're just about ready to break into a jog.
Beginners should aim for a minimum of five, 10 to 30-minute power walks a week. Try to add two minutes to your sessions each week. Remember your walking time should also include a few minutes to warm up, cool down and stretch. Don't worry if you can only manage a 10-minute walk at first. Your pace and endurance increases the more you walk.
Walk This Way
To properly perform power walking, you need to practice sound body mechanics.
Published on January 01, 2006