Plan Your Ideal Walking Workout
Routine: Speed-walking means setting about a 12-minute-mile pace. Racewalking, an Olympic sport, is even more challenging. Both take concentration. Unless you continually remind your feet to move unnaturally fast, you'll slow down.
- To visualize racewalking, think of children running around a pool and being told by the lifeguard to walk, not run, says Fenton: "Imagine their upright posture, quick steps, fairly straight legs, and bent arms."
- Take fast steps: World-class female racewalkers maintain a blistering 200-steps-per-minute pace (or a 7- to 7.5-minute mile) for 12 miles.
Goal: You could walk two miles in 25 minutes at this pace. Or you could keep your workout interesting by following these two strategies:
- Intersperse 10 one-minute bursts of speed-walking or racewalking throughout a moderately fast 45-minute walk.
- Become a hiker. "Going up hills is the best intensifier," says author Mark Fenton. Even though you may not walk as fast as you could on flat ground, you'll boost your workout substantially. According to experts, you expend significantly more energy hiking up a 10 percent incline than walking at the same pace on level ground. And because you're moving up and down in addition to forward, your calf and thigh muscles will develop more tone.