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What is Power Walking?

Power Walking a marathon, half marathon or ultra-challenge? Carry on reading… we want everyone to walk regularly as it holds so many benefits, whatever the speed, it’s good for the mind, body and soul!

We often get asked "what is Power Walking?"

Power Walking is walking with a speed at the upper end of the natural range for walking. Typically this is around 4 to 5.5 mph (15 – 13 minute mile). For Power Walking you must have at least one foot in contact with the ground at all times.

If you're thinking calories, a 126lb person (9 stone) can burn approx 120 calories in 30-minutes, walking at 3.5 mph… increase that to 4.5 mph and you are looking at approx 180 calories. So over the course of a marathon that is.... 1,796 or 2,096 calories. 

Why is Power Walking so good for you?

  • Low-impact, low risk of injury and walking can help develop and keep bones strong - Walking is one of the few sports that use the whole body, the more you do, the more you will improve your muscle tone and the stronger you will become.
  • Walking gives you a boost - There is strong scientific evidence that physical activity and specifically walking, reduces the risk of breast cancer. Walking can easily be incorporated into your daily life and can boost your immune system.
  • Improve your general health - Power Walking can help raise good cholesterol levels and decrease bad cholesterol levels and help to lower high blood pressure, therefore will help lessen the risks of illnesses like type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers and strokes.
  • Relieving Stress - Regular Power Walking helps redirect your focus and concentration away from stressful environments and situations and release tension. Endorphins released in the brain through exercise result in a more relaxed disposition and calmer state of mind and can help reduce symptoms associated with depression, anxiety and self-esteem. Try taking a 15 minute walk every day in your lunchtime. Switch off your phone (We know that might feel scary) and just enjoy wherever you are walking. You will feel a great sense of freedom to be off the main grid even for a short while, we guarantee you will want to extend that time… just be in the moment and enjoy!
  • Walking off the weight - Scientists now say that after giving up smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the next most important thing you can do for cancer prevention. Combining a healthier diet and walking is a guaranteed way to lose weight, get good muscle tone and keep it that way! Tests have shown that if you walk 4 times a week for 45 minutes at a pace that increases your heart rate, you could lose up to 18lb without changing your diet.
  • Walk away PMS - Regular walking will minimise bloating and reduce fluid retention. Due to the release of endorphins caused by increasing your heart rate, you will find you have a calmer perspective on life and more able to cope.
  • Take control of the menopause - Women who do aerobic exercise (i.e. walking at a pace that increases heart rate) 3 -4 times a week, report fewer hot flushes and say it improves their quality of life by helping them both in body and mind.
  • Power Walking is cheap - It needs no expensive equipment, accessible to everyone and no gym membership… just take a step to the big outdoors!
  • Make it social - Spend special time with your friends and family whilst reaching your walking goals and having the best laughs along the way.

Power Walking Techniques and Tips

It’s all in the technique!

With some simple technique changes, you can move from being a walker towards becoming a power walker.

Good posture is everything… so before you start, stand tall with feet together, shoulders relaxed and down, abdominals pulled in without being tense, bottom tucked under, pelvis slightly forward and square to the direction you’re walking. Hold your arms comfortably by your side at 90 degrees with softly cupped hands…. and you’re ready to go!

Making small adjustments to your walking can really help your pace and keep those niggles away… so here are some top tips on what NOT to do!

  1. Don't let your arms dangle by your sides… always keep them at 90° to your side and really pump them backwards and forwards as you walk… give it a try and watch your feet pick up the pace.
  2. Don't lean forward as you walk… you won't get there any faster and worse still, this position can give you lower back pain… think about holding good posture at all times.
  3. Don't over stride… you might feel you are going to speed up but actually, it's the opposite, to go faster you need to take smaller steps.

So there you have it… 3 tips that can have quite a radical effect on the way you walk… try them and see what happens but as we say, The MoonWalks are not races and we will be there until the last Walker crosses the Finish Line!

Like any other exercise, it's important to warm-up and cool down and stretch before setting off, after 5-10 minutes walking and finally, when you finish.

Shoes and kit for safe walking!

If you are buying new shoes, check out our information page so that you know exactly what to look for. We recommend a Gortex or similar trail shoe that will be waterproof and comfortable so make sure when you try shoes that they tick all the boxes.

Of course, if you already have shoes, just note that it is estimated trainers or sports shoes need replacing after 500 miles of wear. After this mileage, the support can go and they then begin to cause problems to your feet… so worth checking that they are suitable for the training and the challenge itself!

What to wear for cold and wet walking

'There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes'… so don't let the bad weather keep you from getting out and doing a few miles, all you need is the right clothing and you can feel warm, dry and comfortable. Hopefully, you can find the following in your wardrobe, but if not, visit our online Walk the Walk Shop for any walk specific clothing.

  • Lightweight waterproof and breathable jacket preferably with a peaked hood – this helps to keep the rain off your face as you walk
  • Leggings or high wicking jog pants, avoid jeans or anything loose as the seams can cause rubbing
  • Wicking T-shirt or training top
  • Waterproof Gortex or similar shoes
  • Pull on Beanie  
  • Neck buff to keep out the cold and rain drips
  • Gloves a must
  • Bumbag and water bottle holder – always carry water even on short walks
  • Hi-Viz items to make sure you are seen – make sure you tell someone your planned route and when you will be due back and take a fully charged mobile with you (just to be safe).

Take a look at Nina's Book

This is a book about discovering how to Power Walk and the astounding number of benefits that come with it. It is not only learning how our bodies work, but also realising that our attitudes and beliefs, what we eat and drink and even how we breathe all create who we are. You will find out how small and simple changes can ultimately have a huge impact on your health, fitness, and quality of life. It was written by Walk the Walk's founder Nina Barough. 

As you can see, Power Walking is good for you in so many ways and has so many benefits, so why wouldn’t you start walking regularly!

Don’t just stop there… the best way to keep motivated is to join The MoonWalk London or MoonWalk Scotland or one of our other Walking Challenges…. the walking world is your oyster!

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