Do you speed walk? Do you take family walks? Do you take neighborhood walks? Do you go on sip’n’strolls? I’m betting that majority of you answered yes to one of those questions. With our extended stays at home it seems that so many more people are out walking more than normal. I know for a fact that I have never walked more than the past couple of months; and I love it!
If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve seen my daily stories showing my morning walks. As walking has become a big part of my lifestyle, I have continued to get so many questions and DMs about why I’m walking, what is a good walking pace, can you lose weight from walking, etc. Because it’s such a frequent topic on Instagram, I thought I’d write out a post here on how walking has transformed my health both mentally and physically.
Before I share the details though, I’ll back up a bit and explain how I got into speed walking. Back in February I went on my first ever ski trip and it was on that trip that I ended up partially tearing my ACL and bruising my meniscus. Before I was able to get an MRI to confirm my injury, COVID happened and so did shelter-in-place. Luckily, my neighbor is a physical therapist and immediately recommended I lay off weights and running and limit my activity to walking.
I’m not going to lie, I was not thrilled at first. I’m not a crazy fast runner by any means, but I so enjoy running. I’ve run 5 half marathons and get such a high from running whether it’s 2 miles or 7 miles. So, learning that all I could do was walk really bummed me out. However, one of the biggest reasons I loved running was for the mental clarity and release and so I knew walking would be of benefit to me both mentally and physically.
At first I started out doing leisurely walks, but then I started researching the benefits of walking both mentally and physically and it’s hard to deny how good it is for you! So without further ado, let’s get down to the nitty gritty!
- exercise – my initial WHY was exercise. I felt very limited from not being able to run or lift weights, so if walking was the only form of cardio I could do, I was going to take it.
- health benefits – there are lots of health benefits that result from daily walks, but the number one was heart health – walking daily actually reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
- mental health – this is a big one for me. I, like most women, wear many hats during the day, and creating time to be alone in my thoughts and away from other humans is huge for my mental stability and clarity. Walking is when I pray, when I sing, when I listen to podcasts and learn, and when I just zone out. It’s essential for my mental health.
- no equipment – this is huge! Not only do you not have to lug around any equipment, but you don’t have to spend any money on equipment! You just need yourself and a good pair of shoes!
- no joint stress – as I get older I am realizing how important this benefit is. Walking does not put any stress on your joints, unlike running. It’s a great activity that you can start now and do the rest of your life!
- works for any age – as I mentioned above, this is a form of physical acitivity that you can do anywhere and at any age!
- indoor or outdoor – whether you prefer to workout in a gym or be outdoors, walking is a form of physical activity than can be done anywhere. Walk on the treadmill from the comfort of your home, walk with a friend in your neighborhood, or walk around a nearby lake.
HOW TO SPEED WALK FOR WEIGHT LOSS:
TIPS BEFORE YOU GET STARTED:
- get good shoes – this is so key and is just as important if you’re walking as if you’re running. I recommend going somewhere like Run On! where they can watch you walk and run and study your gait and then recommend the best shoe for you.
- drink your water – stay hydrated! This will affect anything you do. The rule of thumb seems to be to drink at least half of your body weight each day. My favorite water bottle to help get the job done is this one from Amazon.
- track your mileage/steps – whether you decide to speed walk or take leisurely strolls through your neighborhood, I highly recommend getting a device that will track your steps. Your daily goal should be 10,000 steps. I used to use my phone, but it’s not 100% accurate. I bit the bullet this year though and got an apple watch and I’ll never not have one. It’s amazing!
- get an accountability partner – one of the best things to keep you on your game is to get an accountability partner. I have a dear friend that walks with me almost every day. It’s helpful to have someone to either walk with you or ask you how you are doing at achieving your goals.
- walk before breakfast – your body is already at a calorie deficit so you’ll end up burning more fat this way!
SPEED WALKING FOR WEIGHT LOSS:
- walk briskly – leisurely walking is so good for the soul, but walking briskly will bump you over into weight loss zone. Start by timing yourself to figure our your average pace. Do this for a week or so and determine your true comfort zone. Then gradually start working your pace down. For example, if I’m walking an average of a 17 minute mile, I might set a goal to walk a 16:45 minute pace the next week. You can do it!
- alternate your walking pace – mixing in periods that are faster and periods that are slower will ultimately help you increase your overall pace. This also mimics interval training and will help you lose weight faster.
- swing your arms – this feels so awkward when you’re alone, but swinging your arms helps you increase your pace and in turn you’ll also burn more calories.
- hand weights – this is something I haven’t explored, but have read a lot about and even seen! Walking weight hand weights or ankle weights adds weight (obviously) and in turn will help you burn more calories and lose more weight.
- walk uphill – interval training is really great in regards to strengthening your muscles, increasing your pace, and fat burning. I typically try to challenge myself an maintain my pace even when walking uphill.
- make it a routine – if you make it a routine you won’t make up excuses to not do it and you’ll start to see real results. I’ve found that for me that means walking before everyone else in my house wakes up. So, every morning at 6:20 I leave my house for an hour walk. It’s simply part of my daily routine now.
- find your “thing” – for me I find that if I listen to a podcast and allow myself to zone out, I can really pick up my pace. I have other friends that recommend listening to fast-paced music to help increase their pace. Find what works for you!
HOW TO SPEED WALK:
- start with a warmup pace and ease into a brisk walk and then into a power walk
- attempt for 3 miles per hour (1.5 miles/30 minutes)
- time your first walk then work each time to get your pace down (shoot for 10 seconds faster each time)
- what you listen to matters – if I listen to a faster pace playlist or a podcast I’m invested in, I’ll walk faster
HOW MUCH YOU’LL BURN BASED ON WEIGHT:
One of the things I was interested in when I first started speed walking was how much weight I was losing. This article breaks down the amount of calories you’ll burn based on your current weight.
I have also used this walking calculator to help determine what I am currently burning and how much weight I am predicted to lost. I also use this calculator to determine the pace I need to work toward to lose weight.
If you’re anything like me, cute or new workout clothes are a huge motivator! Over the past year I have really loved Fabletics as a go-to brand for activewear. Their clothes are really reasonably priced, super cute, and most importantly, they are very well made. They wash well, have the perfect amount of stretch, and are super flattering. You can get 2 pairs of leggings for $24 here or simply check out all they have to offer!