Already a hit with celebrities such as Cameron Diaz, Teri Hatcher and Nicole Kidman, who have all been spotted Power Walking their way to an A-list body, one of the many benefits of the sport is that anyone can do it, from mums with buggies to fitness fanatics.
Described by experts as the “nearest activity to perfect exercise”, those in the know have long used their daily stroll to improve fitness, tone up and lose weight. And if you take the speed up a notch or two, and start Power Walking, there are even more rewards to be seen. Power Walkers can burn up to 300 calories an hour, and mile for mile, walking at a minimum pace of 4 miles an hour, use the same amount of energy as runners.
Nina Barough (pictured right), Founder and Chief Executive of breast cancer charity Walk the Walk, which organises Power Walking challenges across the country including the Playtex MoonWalk London, explains: “Power Walking is one of the few activities that really does work on almost every part of your body from your posture to your muscle tone.
“It works wonders on defining the shape your legs, lifting your bum and flattening your stomach by strengthening your core muscles, and you can expect to start seeing an improvement to your body profile after just two weeks of walking a minimum of three times a week.”
There are longer term benefits associated with taking up the sport too, including reducing the risk of coronary disease, strokes and certain cancers, helping to prevent osteoporosis, and helping to strengthen your immune system if you can find the time to walk for 30 minutes a day.
Nina continues: “At Walk the Walk, not only are we passionate about raising funds for vital breast cancer causes, we are also committed to encouraging men and women to become fitter and healthier by taking part in our challenges, as we believe that taking more responsibility for your own wellbeing is a vital part of prevention.”
*Sportsister writer Amy Swan is going to be taking part in this year’s Moonwalk. You can follow her progress from the event via Twitter and we’ll post her event review on Sportsister.com shortly afterwards.*
Top Power Walking tips
Use your Arms!
Your arms control your speed. To go faster, hold them at a right angle and move them backwards and forwards from the shoulders, so that your upper body gets a workout too; keep your hands lightly cupped, not clenched, to ease tension. As you step on to your right foot, the left arm should move forward – so that the arms are always swinging in opposition to your feet.
Get the Right Footwear
Ensure you wear the correct shoes and make sure you wear them in properly before participating in a big event. Choose a shoe that is roomy enough so you can wiggle your toes easily, this will ensure your toes are protected and also those that are flexible (so don’t wear hiking boots) supportive and well cushioned.
Keep the Challenge Up
If you start to get bored, increase your speed or the distance you’re walking. Your body can quickly become used to exercise and begin to plateau.
Wear a Pedometer
This will help you monitor your progress so that you know whether you’re improving or whether you need to step up the effort.
Find a Friend
Walk with someone else. You can take it and turns to be the pace setter so that you are always progressing and motivating each other.
If none of your friends are keen, find a partner at www.walkthewalk.org/GetWalking/WalkingPalsSearch
For more information on Walk the Walk visit www.walkthewalk.org
Louise Hudson, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine