The Ultimate Guide to Power Walking: Everything You Need To Know

Walking is a popular form of exercise that is accessible to anyone: it doesn’t require any special equipment or skills, and you can take it at your own pace. But did you know walking at a vigorous pace, also known as power walking, can have powerful effects on your health?

Let’s step into the world of power walking and explore the numerous health advantages that walking offers to support your overall well-being. We’ll also discuss how to choose the right walking sneakers for you.


What is Power Walking and How Does It Differ from Regular Walking?

Implementing a walk into your daily routine is an effective way to improve your physical and mental health. You can further enhance these benefits by power walking. But what is power walking, and how does it differ from regular walking? 

The answer: Power walking prioritizes speed.

Power walking or speed walking is faster than regular walking but slower than jogging or running. A brisk pace averages around 3 mph. But while power walking, when done correctly, you can complete a mile in 13 to 15 minutes (that’s about a pace of 4 mph to 5.5 mph.)


The Benefits of Power Walking

This simple form of exercise is jam-packed with benefits for both your body and mind. Some benefits of power walking include: 


#1. It’s Higher-Intensity

When you power walk, you’re engaging your upper and lower body as you pump your arms and take quicker steps to pick up speed. Power walks can range in intensity from moderate to vigorous, transforming your casual walk in the park into a challenging exercise that involves your entire body. 

Power walking engages a variety of muscles:

  • Quadriceps
  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Abdomen 
  • Chest
  • Shoulders
  • Glutes

Plus, because power walking is a low-impact exercise, it creates an accessible high-intensity alternative to workouts like running that can be harder on your knees or joints.


#2 It’s Gentle on the Joints

Power walking is a low-impact activity that’s gentle on the joints, making it suitable for more people and fitness levels. There are many reasons this type of exercise may be beneficial for you:

  • Injury recovery – Because power walking is lower-impact, it is a great exercise for people recovering from injuries. Try this alternative to running or jogging to lower your risk of injury and improve your walking gait.
  • Reduce joint pain – Exercise, like walking, can help strengthen the muscles around the joints, maintain bone strength, lessen joint stiffness, and improve range of motion. These factors can lessen the stress on your joints to alleviate pain from conditions like arthritis.
  • Prevent disability – One study has shown that engaging in vigorous physical activity like power walking for just an hour a week may help prevent disability in adults with lower extremity joint symptoms.

Of course, you should always consult your doctor or healthcare provider when considering a new form of exercise to be sure that you find movement that supports your unique body and needs. 


#3 It Supports Cardiovascular Health

Power walking gets your heart rate up and your blood flowing, which may have a positive effect on your cardiovascular (or heart) health. When you increase the intensity of your walking workout, it makes your lungs, heart, and large muscle groups work harder. 

Beyond your cardiovascular system, power walking may also help: 

  • Improve circulation – Power walking increases your heart rate, which causes your blood vessels to expand so blood constantly circulates throughout the body. A greater inflow of blood carries the necessary oxygen and nutrients to ensure functioning muscles and organs.
  • Regulate cholesterol levels – Cholesterol is necessary to build healthy cells in the body, but high levels can create fatty deposits that clog the arteries, which can prevent efficient blood flow. Physical activity like power walking can help regulate the cholesterol levels in your body to support the balance your body needs.
  • Lower blood pressure – Exercising regularly with movement like power walking can help strengthen the heart. A stronger heart means less force is required to pump blood through the arteries, which can help lower blood pressure. 


Supporting Heart Longevity 

The potential health benefits of power walking like lowered blood pressure and regulated cholesterol may also contribute to improved heart health and longevity. And that’s certainly no small feat, as Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the highest contributor to mortality worldwide.

Some of the most common cardiovascular diseases, also called heart diseases, include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Arrhythmia

Power walking may be an effective solution to protecting your heart health. Research shows that increasing your pace can reduce your risk of heart disease by half, compared to those who walk at a slower pace. Another study showed a relationship between faster walking speed and a decreased risk of heart failure. 


#4 It Supports Mental Health 

Walking has incredibly positive potential effects on the body, but did you know power walking can benefit your mind as well? Research suggests that a brisk walk may improve your mental functioning, and even potentially stave off symptoms of anxiety and depression. 


Cognitive Function

Walking increases blood flow to the brain, releasing hormones that promote and strengthen neurons to improve brain connectivity. This suggests that a brisk walking pace may support your cognitive function, which includes functionality such as: 

  • Decision-making 
  • Problem-solving
  • Memory
  • Focus
  • Concentration

A faster walking pace may have positive long-term effects as well, potentially contributing to a reduced cognitive decline. Research shows that regular exercise may reduce the risk of conditions like Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.


Mental Health

Aerobic exercise like walking has been linked to improving mental and emotional health by reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is because exercise helps replenish your energy levels by delivering oxygen to your brain and other organs and releasing “happy chemicals” like endorphins.

In addition to simply releasing endorphins, integrating power walking into your routine prompts lifestyle changes that may promote physical and mental well-being. In power walking regularly, you may find that you experience:

  • Improved sleep
  • Stress relief
  • More energy throughout the day
  • Boosted self-esteem

By taking steps to quicken your walking pace, you’re taking steps to enhance your every day.


Techniques to Boost Your Power Walking Experience

Proper power walking technique is essential to maximizing the benefits this workout offers. Follow these tips on how to power walk to improve your power walking experience:


#1: Pump Your Arms

Your arms are an essential factor that influences your walking speed. Keeping your arms bent at about a 90-degree angle, swing your arms back and forth to maintain a brisk pace that syncs naturally with your stride. 

The key here is to utilize controlled arm movements, as exaggerated, free-swinging arm movements can slow you down. Control your range of motion and use your arms to propel you forward.


#2: Relax Your Hips

One effective method to increase your walking speed is to relax your hips while you walk. They should rotate front to back with each stride to maintain a consistent, fluid motion that may improve the power of your walk. 


#3: Maintain an Upright Posture

Your posture can have a major effect on your walking speed. As you walk, maintain a tall posture: keep your head up, looking forward. If you find yourself slouching, straighten your back and relax your shoulders, keeping them back slightly. 

Engage your core muscles, as this can help with stability, balance, and maintaining the correct posture. 


#4: Land On Your Heels

With each step, land on your heel and roll your feet toward the toes. Try to keep your footsteps quick and light. Remember: Unlike jogging, you should always have one foot on the ground as a power walker.


How To Incorporate Power Walking into Your Fitness Routine

Incorporating power walking into your fitness routine can seem daunting, so here are some insights into making power walking a one of those healthy lifestyle habits you actually look forward to. 

  • Walk with a friend – Being a power walker can be a social experience. Walking with friends can make your daily walks more fun, offering the perfect opportunity to exercise while catching up with friends, family, or colleagues you haven’t seen in a while. 
  • Walk in intervals – As you get started, try speed walking in intervals. For example, walk as fast as you can for 1 minute, rest for 2 minutes, then repeat. Continue this for as long as you can safely, and increase the intervals as your fitness level and confidence increase. 
  • Warm up and cool down – To prevent injuries, incorporate a 5-minute warm-up and cool-down into your power walking routine. These may include dynamic movements before your walk and static stretches afterward.


Choosing the Right Shoes for Power Walking

While the proper technique can enhance your power walking routine, the right shoes for power walking are essential to keeping yourself safe and comfortable as you stride.

For optimal results, select power walking shoes that will best support your arches and heels as you’ll extend and use both while you power through each step. You may also want to choose walking shoes with extra cushioning if you plan to walk longer distances. 

For firm cushioning, superior anti-roll, and balanced stability, try the Walk Strider Sneaker. If you’re looking for a shoe with plenty of arch support and cushioning to last all day, then the Walk Max Lace Up Sneaker is made for you. If you need the corrective support of a deep heel cup and superior flexibility, try the classic 23Walk 2.0 Sneaker.


Feel the Power Walk with Vionic

Power walking is an accessible and promising exercise that’s easy on your body, good for your heart, and nourishing for your mind. Incorporate 30 minutes of vigorous power walking into your day, and watch how your mind and body thrive as a result. 

Propel yourself forward with Vionic’s extensive collection of sneakers that will support and enhance your power walking journey. Whether it’s ample cushioning for all-day comfort or foot alignment with arch support and deep heel cups, Vionic has orthotic shoes to fit all your foot health needs. 




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ER of Texas. Walking for Brain Health: 8 Ways to Boost Cognitive Function and Mental Well-Being.

GoodRx Health. Can Power Walking Supercharge Your Cardio Routine?

Healthline. Power Walking: The Whys and Hows of a Life-Changing Exercise Technique.

Henry Ford Health. How To Boost Your Circulation (And Why It’s Important!)

Mayo Clinic. Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms.

Mayo Clinic. Exercise: A drug-free approach to lowering high blood pressure.

Mayo Clinic. Exercise helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness.

Mayo Clinic. High cholesterol.

PLOS One. Speed and Duration of Walking and Other Leisure Time Physical Activity and the Risk of Heart Failure: A Prospective Cohort Study from the Copenhagen City Heart Study.

Sports Health. Keep on Walking.

UCLA Health. Walk this way: How to make walking all the cardiovascular exercise you need.

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