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The Effects of Speed in Walking Fast

For years I had simply been walking my own pace or the pace of my walking buddies. Often that was slow. Then when I went walking with a faster friend, I had no technique to speed myself up.

That changed when I went to a walking clinic held by Rhonda Gates at the Seaside Wellness Conference. Her tips had me walking faster in no time, trimming minutes from my miles. That helped me greatly in walking the Portland to Coast Relay Walk.

How to Walk Faster

Walking faster FEELS better - it feels good to be going aerobic. I still walk the same 10K walking events, only faster. What are the real benefits, if any, if you still just walk the same distance? James Sundquist, Director of Medical & Sports Music Institute provides this answer:

Increased speed does the following:
1. Puts you in a higher Target Heart Rate
2. Shifts goal from weight loss to increased fitness and endurance
3. Increases flexibility of muscles and joints
4. Changes weight loss goal
5. Enables you to finish same distance in less time
6. Tones muscles
7. Increases impact (This is a two-edged sword. Can introduce or aggravate injuries. On the plus side, can build stronger bones, slow down osteoperosis.)

Calories burned per mile by walking

Walking Calorie Calculator: Use this calculator based on MET research measuring and comparing calories burned in hundreds of different activities.

The following chart was built with numbers for walking up to 5 mph comes from Gary Yankers in Complete Book of Exercise Walking. Numbers for walking over 5 mph come from Howard Jacobson in Racewalk to Fitness.The numbers given were for a 150 lb. person. To extrapolate to other weights, an increase/decrease of 10% for every 15 pounds was used.

lbs 100 120 140 160 180 200 220
2.0 mph 65 80 93 105 120 133 145
2.5 mph 62 74 88 100 112 124 138
3.0 mph 60 72 83 95 108 120 132
3.5 mph 59 71 83 93 107 119 130
4.0 mph 59 70 81 94 105 118 129
4.5 mph 69 82 97 110 122 138 151
5.0 mph 77 92 108 123 138 154 169
6.0 mph 86 99 114 130 147 167 190
7.0 mph 96 111 128 146 165 187 212

What if I decide to start running instead? Maximum efficiency for walking is around 4 mph. Further speed leads to less efficiency and more calories burned. For runners, maximum efficiency is around 6 mph. At speeds less than 5 mph, runners burn more calories than walkers. At 5 mph, the caloric burn is nearly the same. At speeds greater than 5 mph, racewalkers burn 20% to 30% more calories.

f my main goal was to lose weight, I would be better off walking an easy pace, one where I would have no difficulty carrying on a conversation. An easy pace gives the body time to release and burn stored sugar and fat, rather than switching to anaerobic metabolism and burning only available sugars and muscle. Walking and Weight Control.

Personally, I'll keep with the walking and try to do it more frequently and further. See you on the trail!

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