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Do Stops and Starts Affect my Walking Workout?


Updated June 12, 2014

Walk Sign

Walk Sign

Wendy Bumgardner © 2012

Question: Do Stops and Starts Affect my Walking Workout?

I walk my dog for 60 minutes 4-5x a week. We walk at a pretty good pace most of the time, but there are times he stops to sniff or tinkle (within the hour he probably stops a total of 10 minutes). Am I still getting a good workout? Should I be leaving my dog at home and walking at a good pace the whole time?

Answer: For a fitness walk, stops and starts should not greatly affect your workout. There are two factors you are looking for:

Burning Calories:: Calories burned depends mostly on the distance you walk, and very little on speed. In fact, you burn a few more calories by stopping and starting, as the body has to expend a little more effort to get moving once it stops.
Walking Calorie Calculators

Heart Rate: Second, if you are aiming to improve your aerobic fitness, you want to keep your heart rate within your chosen zone. Stops and starts can affect that if you stop for more than a few seconds each time. Do as you see runners do - when you are delayed by a doggie detour or a traffic crossing, keep moving. March in place, pace in small circles, etc. This will keep your heart rate above your resting rate and it will swiftly return to your chose rate once you resume your pace.
Target Heart Rate Calculator
Walking Workouts

Pace Training: If you are training for a walking event where you want to set a consistent pace, then leave your canine companion at home one workout each week and use that day to concentrate on your chosen pace. If your workout normally has you pause at traffic signals, find a track or other unobstructed route for one workout per week.
Walking Pace Calculator

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