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Power Walking tips for beginners

You've probably heard of power walking, but you may not be quite sure what it actually is and how it can help improve your fitness. Our beginner's guide to power walking will teach you about technique, benefits and how to get started.

What is power walking?
So, what's the difference between a normal walk through the park and a purposeful power walk? Power walking requires a fast pace and a certain technique to get the blood pumping, and is an excellent form of aerobic exercise. In fact, power walking is considered to be just as efficient as jogging, but with less impact on your joints – if your power walking technique is perfect, you can even burn the same amount of calories as jogging for the same distance.

How fast is a power walk?

A running pace is often classified as starting at 8 km/h, so a power walk is often thought of as being slightly below that speed (somewhere between 6 and 8 km/h). However, if you're just starting out trying power walking, you don't necessarily need to hit 6 mph at the beginning. But that doesn't mean you don't do power walking! Walk at a brisk pace that works for you. You will quickly notice that your pace gets faster as your training progresses.

How do you do power walking?

• Don't forget to warm up † You won't start running at full speed, but it's still important to start with a slow warm-up. Walk at a slow pace to start for about 10 minutes. This warms your muscles and reduces the risk of injury.
• Pay close attention to your posture. Make sure you stand up straight for a full body workout. Pull your abs in to train your core, relax your shoulders and keep your back straight for an effective power walking posture.
• Take natural steps. Rotate your heel toward your toe and thrust forward as you lift off your toes. Most people tend to lengthen their stride as they increase their pace, but this will make your running technique less effective.
• Squeeze your glutes. This puts some spring into your steps, adds more power for walking and makes your muscles work overtime as you move.
• Use your hips. Rotating your hips forward as you move should extend the front leg as your foot bends and your heel touches the floor. This increases flexibility in the hips and helps you accelerate your pace without straining your lower back.
• Keep your arms active too. Activate your arm muscles and swing them purposefully. Bend each elbow slightly and wave your hands into relaxed fists as you walk. This will help build your upper body strength, and as you continue with your power walking regimen you may even want to add some small weights.

How to walk to lose weight Once you have the technique and the right walking speed, you will quickly see the benefits of power walking for weight loss. If you can keep up with a speed of 6-8 km/h, you can burn about 560 calories per hour. And if you're on the right track, you can start walking with weights. Try to walk 4-6 times a week. As a beginner, start with 20-30 minute sessions. If you feel you can do it, increase this to anywhere from 45-60 minutes. As you increase the time, you will begin to notice changes in your fitness and stamina.