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The best speed for walking


How often you walk? If you’re reading this, we reckon that you walk pretty often. Even if you say not much, we STILL think you do. As a lot of us walk unintentionally going to the kitchen, office, bedroom, school and lots more places.

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not walking is part of our daily life.

Have you ever wondered though, why many of us LOVE to walk?

Walking is an activity most of us can participate in. Some people walk, simply because they have to, do be able to go somewhere. Others, do it as a way to destress and increase their mental well being. Some people walk so they can be outside in nature and socialise with friends and others walk to get fit.

What is the best speed for walking?

Depending on your purpose for walking, you may want to know what is the best speed to walk. Well, look no further here at Walkathon, we’ve covered some general points to help you with what speed you should be walking.

1. Heart Rate

Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body, which you should not neglect! If you are walking for exercise purposes, you will want to pay attention to your heart and not neglect your heart rate. One good way of checking your heart rate is by wearing a smart fitness watch. 

As they use a sensor which is close to your skin which absorbs your pulse. As a result, they provide you with an accurate estimate of how many beats per minute and can show you a comparison graph. Similar to this, there are also pulsometers you can strap onto your chest underneath your clothing which also record your heart rate during exercise.

However, due to different factors such as age, gender, BMI and others, can vary what walking speed is right for you. As a general guidance you will be want to be walking at the following types of heart rate:

Vigorous exercise

If you are wanting to power walk excessively, then you will want to walk at a pace which is 77%-93% of your maximum heart rate. This speed of walking will make you breathe very hard and sweat a lot. You won’t be able to speak.

Fitness

If you are walking for exercise, you will want to walk at 64%-76% more of your resting heart rate. Don’t over do it on the speed, as at this percentage you should still be able to hold short conversations and work up some sweat.

Light exercise

If you are wanting to walk and do some gentle exercise, it’s suggested you should walk for around 77-93% of your maximum heart rate. At this ability you should be able to still have conversations and shouldn’t be too much out of breath.

2. Age

Depending on your age, the best walking speeds vary a great deal. A study was run which showed different speeds across different ages. This study took place in 2011 and involved 358 participants of many different ages using accelerometers which helped predicted their average walking speed. This was done over a 7 day period and participants had to wear a motion belt.  They discovered the following:

  • 20-29 years: 3.00 mph 
  • 30-39 years: 2.82 mph
  • 40-49 years: 2.82 mph 
  • 50-59 years: 2.75 mph 
  • 60 years and over: 2.71 mph

3. Sex

On another note, the best speed for walking can vary based on your gender. Healthline mentions on average, men walk faster than women. However the general best speed for walking is consistent up until your 60s. Here is the rate based on gender and best speed for walking per hour. 

  • 20-29 years female: 3.00 mph
  • 20-29 years male: 3.04 mph
  • 30-39 years female: 3.00 mph
  • 30-39 years male: 3.20 mph
  • 40-49 years female: 3.11mph
  • 40-49 years male: 3.20 mph
  • 50-59 years female: 2.93 mph
  • 50-59 years male: 3.20 mph
  • 60-69 years female: 2.77 mph
  • 60-69 years male: 3.00 mph
  • 70-79 years female: 2.53 mph
  • 70-79 years male: 2.82 mph
  • 80-89 years female: 2.10 mph
  • 80-89 years male: 2.17 mph

How can I walk at a quicker pace?

If you are not satisfied with your current walking pace, you can implement a number of techniques to increase your walking speed. The techniques are:

1. Walk upright

To walk at a faster pace, you will want to improve your walking posture. First of all, to do this, make sure you walk upright and don’t lean forward or backward while walking.

Also, you will want to keep your head up with your eyes looking forward. If you look down, you will drag your body forwards. As your head is the heaviest part of your body and you will make yourself walk with your body closer to the floor, slowing you down.

2. Don’t tense

Walking is a fun exercise to do and you will want to be as relaxed as possible to increase your speed. Therefore don’t arch your back and shoulders. Take a deep breath, let your shoulders sink down and keep your spine in line.

Another great way to do this is to shrug your shoulders so they droop down. If you’re unsure, you can practice this in the mirror before you begin walking.

Make sure to also keep your jaw relaxed, because if you have a tight jaw while walking, it can also add tension to your neck muscles. Which could cause a strain and make you slow down.

3. Breathe

This is another important point, if you want to walk faster. When we breathe during exercise we allow more oxygen to be inhaled and get to our muscles. As a result, more energy can be accessed and we can burn into more energy stores to walk. Therefore you’ll want to engage your core muscles but not too tightly.

4. Have nothing in your hands

Unless you have poles for nordic walking which attach to your wrist, we suggest you have nothing in your hands while walking. When you hold something in your hands, it can slow you down as you will be constantly tightening your grip so you don’t lose that object. If you require water or snacks, wear a backpack or a belt where you can carry them.

5. Make sure your arms move the right way

Remember when walking you will want to hold your arms in a 90-degree motion. As well as making sure they swing forward and not diagonally. This is so you can use your arms to propel you and gain momentum. You will also want to keep your arms close to your body so you don’t use up extra energy trying to pull them back in. Moreover, make sure your arms move in sync with your foot movements.

6. Walk your natural stride

Remember, walking is an exercise which suits your height and weight. It’s not an exercise where you want to copy of others. If you overstride and take longer stretches walking, this may slow you down and tire you out easily. Remember to walk at your own length and gradually you will pick up your walking pace over time.

7. Brisk/power walk

Just like runners when they do their sprints, there are walks which you will want to walk at a much faster pace. At first, when you walk this pace may seem unnatural to you and it may be weird. However, over time this will increase your natural walking pace and you will be able to walk faster.

Now before you begin walking faster than your average pace, we suggest you consult expert medical advice from your local physician. This is even more important if you have certain medical conditions, family history or taking any medications.

Doctors serve as a great expert to give you guidance and tips on how fast you should be walking and the frequency of your walks. Likewise, their advice prevents you from injuring yourself further.

At Walkathon, we want you to know that walking is an exercise that should be enjoyed. You don’t have to walk the top speed to reap its benefits, but now and again, you may want to challenge yourself. Instead of focusing on speed, you should focus on the frequency and how often you walk.

After all, walking speeds are entirely different and depend on an individual’s gender, age, and BMI.

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