“If you want to feel amazing, step back into the 80s with power walking!”
Meeting Your Summer Fitness Goals
Having a strategy for meeting athletic goals, increases the likelihood of long range success. Power walking is an effective way of incorporating exercise into your fitness focused lifestyle, whether you are preparing for an upcoming race, or getting started with fitness for the first time in your adult life. You will quickly reap the physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Power walking allows you to step into lifelong physical wellness while preventing injury and burnout.
What Is Power Walking?
Simply put, power walking is a natural way moving your body with focused effort on distance and duration. It is also low impact, meaning that your muscles and joints will escape excessive wear and tare from pounding down the pavement over long periods of time. While simply walking is a rather unconscious motion as you move forward, power walking is deliberate with focused attention to form and effort.
6am…..yep “Rise and Grind” smashing out our fitness goals. How did you start your day #trekking #powerwalking #walkforhealth #kentgreyhoundrescue #trekpoles #bostallwoods #outdoorfitness #wearebexleyfit #bexley #belvedereplodders #ourgym #canicross #canisnacks #personaltrainer pic.twitter.com/1L6V5WR6oh
— Belvedere Plodders (@ibuildrunners) May 24, 2018
Two Types Of Power Walkers
While there is no such thing as the, ‘typical power walker,’ there does appear to be two clear motivating factors, or fitness approaches. Each is committed to improved health and wellness:
- Weight Loss and Overall Fitness: Are you a weight conscious, ‘gym bunny‘ enthusiast? We get it! Most individuals fall into this category. Dropping weight is very difficult! If you are attempting to decrease your waistline, walking with focused intention for fitness, is a great strategy. Along with an adaptive diet plan, walking can help you burn extra calories while increasing your metabolism.
- Athletes – Post Injury: The second category is for those that have extensive experience as athletes. Many are runners recovering from injury (e.g.; IT Band Syndrome, stress fractures, or plantar fasciitis). Power walking offers a low impact alternative and increases blood flow to the injured area while healing. With mindfulness, the athlete can return to their sport, while retaining some degree of fitness (VO2Max).
Proper Form (Suggestions Only)
The folks at, “The Walking Site,” recommend the following for walking fast. We are including them here with our own interpretation of each item. (If you want them in their purest form, visit their site):
- Walk tall with good posture – Avoid slouching forward in the direction you are walking.
- Keep your chest out front with your shoulders back, while remaining relaxed.
- Remember the 90 degree rule with your arms. Bend at the elbows in natural fashion.
- Tighten your abs and bum. It helps you focus your attention and stand up tall.
- Walk naturally. Avoid long strides.
- Focus on the push off from your tows. Land on your heel while avoiding heavy impact.
- Breath naturally – Count breaths for increased focus.
Finally! Ten Compulsory Power Walking Tips
We now have arrived at the ten tips strongly suggested by our team at Finding My Psych. It is critical that you approach power walking with mindfulness. The fitness obsessed tend to make every activity complicated. If you are looking to incorporate walking as part of a lifelong approach to improved health, we believe the following is predictive of success, while keeping you on the road injury free:
- See Your Doctor: As usual, this should go without saying. Countless people start exercise programs every day, unaware of potential health considerations. If you believe in the power of Dr. Google, you are grotesquely wrong in your approach.
- Pick Your Ideal Time: Whether you are an early riser, or a late night toe-tapping street trotter, pick the time of day that both feels good, and predicts success. Never feel as if you are fitting fitness into your day. Go with what feels natural.
- Consider the Walk-Commute: One easy method for getting time in to exercise, is the walk (or run) commute. If you are regularly pressed for time, using all or part of your commute to work will help you stay focused on a solid walking routine.
- Walk with Friends/Mutt: Companionship makes every step easier. Having a friend and/or fur companion helps pass the time, especially during long endeavours. It also improves motivation while building commitment on days that feel tough.
- Buy Amazing Shoes: If you have the money, see a podiatrist for suggestions on proper shoes base on gate and injury history. Specialists come with a hefty price tag – Don’t feel awkward about getting sound shoe advice from your favourite pro-running store. Those gals know their stuff.
- Wear Appropriate Outdoor Gear: Summer fitness challenges are a great excuse to shop for proper walking gear, other than shoes of course (discussed above). Learning to dress for walking is trickier than you might think. We strongly suggest learning how to buy for layers, especially if you live in a rainy climate like ours (Vancouver, BC). The materials you choose are also important – Avoid cotton.
- Count Your Steps: Data is critical for measuring effort to outcome. The popular 10k step rule is one such data driven goal. Knowing how far you walk during your sessions is one important metric. Knowing the steps you walk throughout the day, including both your power walking sessions, and steps as you move about the world, will inform you about your overall efforts.
- Measure Your Heart Rate: For the athletic nerd at heart, gathering information about heart rate, and heart rate zones, provides data about your cardiac fitness. As your V02Max increases, your average heart rate during sustained effort decreases, an indication of improved cardiac capacity. Once established, you can add challenges to bring your heart rate up during workouts, such as power walking long slope hills.
- Commit to a Plan: It helps to have a documented plan that includes the exact days you will walk, and how long. If you own a Garmin product, Garmin Connect is a great way to add activities to your calendar while syncing your wearable. If your tech includes reminders, even better. When we create a plan, we are likely to stick to our fitness goals.
- Celebrate Your Success: Never forget to celebrate your success. You work hard! We suggest that you set achievable power walking goals with periodic rewards and reasonable intervals. In other words, find a way to reward yourself every week. Don’t wait until after the marathon!
Something Spiritual This Way Comes
Holism states that, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Being outdoors, away from your home and the gym, connects you with fresh air, beautiful scenery, and other people you pass along the way. At Finding My Psych, we like to say that exercise, being one part of the bio-psycho-social whole, connects us with our spiritual nature. We are all on this accelerated path of life. The very act of engaging with living itself, is far more healing than any other act you will complete today. A life closed in among four walls, is a life not lived.
Launch your summer fitness program with power walking!
If you need a good read over the next week, check out this beginners guide to power walking. It is a tool you will return to for motivation and support as you launch your fitness adventure: