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Power walking: 5 powerful health benefits and how to do it right

Walking is a great way to stay fit. Give it a boost and try power walking, which can help you lose weight. Here’s how to do power walking for weight loss.

Walking is excellent for good health. But it can take more than a casual and plain Jane walking for weight loss. The speed of your walk and the time you put into it will help you more in your weight-loss journey. That is why power walking may be the way to go for you! It is a form of exercise that focuses on speed and the way you move your arms, helping you to burn more calories and sweat it out as you walk vigorously. You can reap many more more health benefits of power walking once you add it to your fitness routine.

What is power walking?

Power walking is a form of aerobic exercise that involves walking at a brisk pace. It is typically faster than a casual stroll but not as fast as jogging or running, shares fitness expert Yash Agarwal. It is characterised by exaggerated arm movements and a deliberate stride to increase cardiovascular benefits. The walking speed depends on how comfortable you are, but ideally, it should be about 3 miles per hour (4.83 km per hour).

A woman engaged in power walking
Power walking is great for cardiovascular fitness. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the health benefits of power walking?

Here are solid reasons why you should go for power walking, according to the fitness expert:

1. May improve cardiovascular fitness

It can improve heart and lung function. When you engage in power walking, it increases your heart rate and breathing. This helps strengthen your heart and lungs, and in turn, enhances your cardiovascular fitness.

2. Weight loss

Power walking can help you lose weight, especially belly fat, according to research published in the Physical Activity and Nutrition journal in 2014. It can help in weight loss by burning calories. On an average, power walking can help you burn approximately 560 calories an hour.

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3. Muscle toning

Power walking engages the quads, calf muscles, hamstrings, calf muscles, glutes and hip abductors. Apart from these, even your shoulders and upper back get toned, as they are used while power walking.

4. Mental well-being

It reduces stress and improves mood due to release of endorphins, says the expert. Power walking can improve anxiety, and depression, as per a 2006 research published in The Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

5. May reduce risk of diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a major health concern, and you may reduce its risk with the help of power walking. During a 2023 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that risk of type 2 diabetes decreased at a walking speed of 4 km per hour and above.

Power walking: Tips to do it right

Follow these steps to do power walking the correct way:

  • Maintain an upright posture with your shoulders relaxed. But don’t slouch, as it can cause strain on the back and reduce breathing efficiency, says Agarwal.
  • Swing your arms naturally, with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Incorrect arm movement, which means exaggerated or stiff arm movements, will only waste energy.
  • Take long, and purposeful strides without overstriding, which can lead to inefficient movement and potential injury.
  • Walk at a pace that is challenging, but sustainable for at least 30 minutes.

Also, wear comfortable, and supportive shoes suitable for walking to avoid discomfort or injury. Stay hydrated as well otherwise dehydration will affect your performance. You can walk for an hour, but if you are a beginner, aim for at least 30 minutes per session to achieve cardiovascular benefits. Ideally, walk 3 to 5 times per week for consistent health benefits, suggests the expert. Adjust your pace to ensure you are slightly out of breath, but can still hold a conversation while walking.

A woman engaged in power walking
Power walking for at least 30 minutes will help you to stay healthy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Who should avoid power walking?

If you have the following health issues, check with your doctor before trying power walking:

  • People with severe arthritis or joint pain should avoid it if it exacerbates discomfort.
  • If you are recovering from leg or back injuries, consult a doctor before starting.
  • Individuals with uncontrolled hypertension or heart problems should seek medical advice before beginning any exercise program, including power walking.

Power walking is moving at a fast pace while engaging multiple muscles. It can help with weight loss and toning your body. It is generally safe and beneficial for most people, but people with certain health issues need to be careful.

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