Step Up a Notch: Ways to Increase Walking Speed

Step Up a Notch: Ways to Increase Walking Speed

Step Up a Notch: Ways to Increase Walking Speed

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Contrary to common misconceptions, physical activity need not be intense or prolonged to yield significant health improvements. 

13th May 2024

By Sukhmani Kooner 

Incorporating walking into your daily routine is a highly effective strategy for enhancing and sustaining your overall health. Just dedicating 30 minutes each day to this simple activity can lead to a multitude of benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness, strengthened bones, reduced body fat and increased muscle power and endurance.

Moreover, regular walking has been shown to decrease the risk of developing serious health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain forms of cancer. Its accessibility and affordability render it a standout choice among various forms of exercise, as it requires no special equipment or training.

Contrary to common misconceptions, physical activity need not be intense or prolonged to yield significant health improvements. The beauty of walking lies in its low-impact nature, minimal equipment requirements, and flexibility regarding timing and pace. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a brisk walk, the benefits remain tangible, with the added advantage of mitigating the risks associated with more strenuous forms of exercise.

Furthermore, walking serves as an excellent option for individuals across different demographics, including those who are overweight, elderly or have been inactive for extended periods. Its gentle yet effective nature makes it accessible to a wide range of individuals seeking to improve their fitness levels and overall well-being.

Beyond its health merits, walking also presents opportunities for social engagement and enjoyment. From joining walking clubs to exploring scenic venues, there are numerous avenues to integrate walking into your lifestyle in a fun and sociable manner.

As Vasudha Mathur, a senior dietician, explains, “Walking is the best solution for us to stay fit. Walking and any kind of an aerobic activity helps in losing stored fat. It helps with cholesterol, diabetes and is quite beneficial. Intensity and speed at which you walk is most important if you are looking for results. A brisk walk is recommended. No age group specification is there and I believe walking should be encouraged from childhood.

“For general activity and mobility, walking 10k steps in a day is beneficial, however, if the focus is weight loss, at a stretch walking for 40-50 mins at a fast pace will reap you benefits.” She explained that while walking, the heart rate increases. This increased heart rate should be maintained for a continuous 30 minutes minimum for optimal results. 

Additionally, ensuring proper posture is crucial for effective walking. Stand upright with your head held high, shoulders pulled back and stomach muscles activated. Maintain a 90-degree bend in your arms and let them swing naturally as you walk. Steer clear of slouching or leaning forward, as these actions can impede your pace and cause muscle tension.

Boosting your walking speed can be achieved easily by adopting shorter, faster steps. Concentrate on reducing your stride length and upping your cadence, which refers to the number of steps taken per minute. By shortening your strides, you can enhance your movement efficiency and lower the likelihood of sustaining injuries.

It’s important to note that your core muscles are essential for stabilising your body while walking. By activating your abdominal muscles and keeping your core strong throughout your walk, you can enhance balance, posture and power generation with each step, ultimately resulting in a quicker walking pace.

Your arms serve as counterbalances during walking, aiding in maintaining momentum and rhythm. Amplify the motion of your arms by swinging them with greater vigour from front to back. The increased arm swing translates to heightened power generation, propelling you forward with increased speed.

Also focus on the landing of your feet during each step. Strive to make initial contact with the ground using your heel, then smoothly transition through the midfoot to propel off with your toes. This rolling movement facilitates a fluid and effective stride, aiding in sustaining a swiffer walking pace.

Adding inclines or hills to your walking route can enhance both strength and speed. Walking uphill demands greater exertion and activates more muscles, resulting in elevated calorie expenditure and enhanced cardiovascular advantages. Strive to sustain a brisk pace during uphill segments, utilising downhill sections as opportunities for recovery.

Don’t forget to check your footwear! Investing in quality walking shoes is crucial, ensuring they offer ample support, cushioning and stability. Optimal footwear can enhance comfort, diminish fatigue and elevate your walking capabilities. Select shoes that fit properly and are tailored for walking, maximising both your speed and efficiency.