Many doctors and fitness experts consider power walking to be the perfect way to stay fit. They consider it the perfect exercise because anyone can do it, it doesn’t cause trauma to your joints like running does, and injuries from doing it are extremely rare. They also point out that the human body was designed more for walking than running or jogging.
There are other benefits too. Walking exercise doesn’t require any special equipment, it can be done almost anywhere, you can do it throughout your life, and the outdoor scenery and fresh air can be invigorating.
I power walk for several miles 6-7 days a week. Sometimes twice a day if I want to think, get a lift, or lose a few extra pounds. Power walking is just a more aggressive and intense style of walking exercise as I see it. I chose this style so that I get the full aerobic benefits. I power walk at a fast pace with an erect posture and a firm muscle activating stride. I also try to pick routes that have gradual inclines or hills. This enhances the aerobic benefits and it strengthens a wider range of muscles.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your power walking.
- Select a route that takes you through a scenic area and/or attractive neighborhood(s). Even if this represents only a portion of your route, the destination will motivate you and you’ll be inspired as you pass through.
- For maximum aerobic and muscle conditioning, pick a route that has a few gradual inclines or hills.
- Listen to your favorite music on an MP3 player or smartphone. Or listen to your favorite station(s) on a tiny FM stereo radio. I use music to enhance my walking pace and rhythm.
- Listen to personal development audio books using a CD or MP3 player. I recently started doing this. I’ve been amazed at how many books I’ve completed and how much I’ve learned.
- Carry some filtered water to keep yourself hydrated, especially during hot weather.
- Select a route that has the least amount of vehicle traffic. Exhaust fumes are bad for your health, especially in highly concentrated amounts, and the noise takes away from the pleasures of walking.
- Avoid routes that cross high traffic streets or boulevards. Drivers have a hard time seeing people on foot at sunset, after dark, and at sunrise. Vehicle headlights and direct sun can temporarily block their vision. Take this advice very seriously. I’ve been nearly hit many times!
- Avoid neglected or unattractive neighborhoods. They can lower your spirits.
- Avoid neighborhoods that may contain criminal activities, loose dogs, or unwelcoming residents.
- Carry a cell phone and/or pepper spray the first few times you walk through an unfamiliar neighborhood if you have any concerns whatsoever.
What clothes should you wear?
During warm weather months, it’s best to wear walking or athletic shorts, T-shirt or tank top, 100% cotton socks, and comfortable walking shoes.
During cold weather months, it’s best to wear sweatpants and long underwear, sweatshirt and jacket, knit hat/cap, gloves, 100% cotton socks, and comfortable walking shoes.
I started power walking around the time that I built my home gym. Since I wasn’t going to a health club anymore, I needed to find a replacement for the aerobic exercise that I had got on the treadmill and Stairmaster machines. Power walking satisfied my requirements and I found that I enjoyed it a lot more. This was particularly true for me since there was often a maintenance person vacuuming around the machines during the time I regularly went to the club. This was one of those old upright vacuums without any HEPA filters. A vacuum like this one pumps out a hideous mixture of toxic particles and dust into the air. When you’re breathing hard, like you would on the machines, all those poisons are drawn deep into your lungs at a very high rate. I pointed these things out to the management but nothing ever changed. As you can imagine, I really appreciated the fresh air once I switched to power walking.
If you’re interested in more information about my home gym, read this article entitled, “How to Build a Simple & Inexpensive Home Gym.”
There are several good books on power walking if you want to learn more. One of them that I read a number of a few years ago got me interested in walking exercise. In fact, I credit this book for my easy transition from machines to sidewalks. The book is “The Complete Guide to Walking: For Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness” by Mark Fenton.
If you’re new to exercise, just returning, or looking to add a new aerobic component to your program, power walking is an excellent choice. Give it try!
To your health and fitness.