Why It’s Worth Walking Faster
Walking really is a winning exercise on every front, and new research shows that by simply walking faster, you can reap extra benefits. We’re not talking just a bigger calorie burn (350 compared with 250 per hour) and improved fitness. Faster walkers have lower rates of death than slower walkers from causes including heart disease and dementia, according to a review of the National Walkers’ Health Study. If you reach a pace that’s almostrunning, you’ll burn more calories than running at that exact speed. A brisk walk also reduces the risk of heart disease more effectively than a run that burns the same number of calories. So lace up those sneakers—here’s everything you need to know, step by step.
Form That Helps You Go Faster
You can speed up easier if your body is properly aligned. Here’s how to find your form.
1. Stand tall, with your shoulders back and a natural arch in your lower back. This helps prevent unnecessary (and tiring) stress on your upper body.
2. Bend your arms at 90 degrees, imagining your elbows are in a cast as your arms swing. The faster you swing them, the faster you’ll go, because your legs naturally want to stay in sync with your arms. Just don’t be a chicken-winger: If your elbows flap out, it could slow you down.
3. Contract your abs, but without hunching or bending at the waist—which would close up your diaphragm and make your breathing inefficient.
4. Roll off each foot and push off from your toes at the end of every stride, as if you’re showing someone behind you the soles of your shoes. This technique keeps your foot on the ground a tad longer, ultimately making for shorter but stronger and faster steps.