Gait training | Time, distance and speed

Walking can be a real sport, capable of improving physical condition, losing weight, toning muscles and instilling an overall feeling of well-being. But to get there you need real walking training. That is to know that walking does not mean walking in the sense of fitness walking, and therefore requires commitment and perseverance. In addition to following a training program for walking, which even without tables, however, involves following certain principles.

Walking exercise: how to do it right

There are 3 fixed points to keep in mind if you want to do real training with fitness walking: time, speed and distance. You would think that the 3 things are related to each other, and it is true but only when it comes to good physical condition and training. At the beginning, however, it will have to be done in stages and with the right priorities.
The advantage of walking as a workout is that compared to other sports, such as running or cycling, it is less traumatic both from a muscular and articular point of view: there are no flight phases, there are no excessive muscular thrusts, and therefore not only is it accessible to all but also allows it to be practiced more frequently, even every day.
Once you reach the level where you can vary the time, speed and distance according to your goals, it will also mean that you are ready for almost any sport cardio or endurance, like running or even cycling. Which obviously does not exclude that walking cannot be used as the only sport.

Gait training: how much to walk

As mentioned, the first parameter to consider is time, i.e. how long to walk. If you are starting from zero, that is to say from a condition of total sedentarity, the goal is to be able to walk without interruption for 1 hour. It is not only a symbolic objective but it is the time it usually takes for our body to start reacting from a physiological point of view and then implementing all the adaptations that allow an improvement in physical condition: of greater resistance, ie breath, muscle toning and up to the consumption of calories according to weight loss.
How to manage to walk 1 hour without interruption? start doing it walk at a pace that allows you to speak without difficulty, but also without slowing down. Then, with the right regularity – at least 3 times a week, but even more, or every other day – increase active time by 10% – 15% each time. For example, if on the first outing you can walk 20′, the next could be 22 or 23 minutes, or even 25, and so on up to 1 hour without interruption of walking at a constant pace.

Walking for training: how fast

When you have walked at a brisk pace for 1 hour you can start increasing the speed. Reasonably, more or less, so far the speed will have been around 5 km/h, which is normally the pace at which you can walk and talk without getting out of breath. In terms of distance, this means that you cover 1 km in 12′. The objective of a training walk is to maintain 7 km/h for 1 hour, i.e. cover 1 km in approximately 8.5 minutes.
How to do? Obviously gradually. To do it right, you might need a sports watch or a GPS watch with the most basic fitness features that show time and distance, as well as speed obviously.
At first it will be it is almost impossible to be able to walk for 1 hour at a pace that puts you in difficulty, makes you breathe more frequently and prevents you from carrying on a conversation. Then, you have to do it in intervals: for example, you try to walk at 6 km/h for 500 meters, then you slow down to recover for the next 500 meters, then you accelerate again and so on until hour. When you are able to walk for 1 hour at 6 km/h, you repeat the method but increasing the most intense fractions to 7 km/h, and trying to keep a speed as close as possible to 6 km/h in the phases of recovery .
The beauty of walking, like all cardio or endurance sports, is that the improvements are not linear but exponentialand therefore in less time than you think you can walk for 1 hour, continuously, at a speed of 7 km/h.

At this point you are at a crossroads: you are also ready to start running, otherwise walking can be used as a real workout then increase the distance. Which, at this point, will also have to do with time and speed.

Walking training: along

As in running, even in gait training, you can insert the so-called “long” once a week. In other words, when you have a little more time available, for example on weekends, you can try to do something more. A good progression could be that of increase by about 20% each week, up to walking once a week for 2 hours in 1 month, always at constant speed, always at a speed of 7 km/h. At this point, and starting from scratch, which could take a few months, you will find that you feel fit, your breathing and endurance are well trained, your muscles toned and your body composition much more balanced.

Walking training: time, distance and speed to do it right

How then to ask for more from our walking workout? Enter slope changes. That is, ups and downs.

Walking exercise: the fartlek

Running it would be called fartlek, which is a training method that is now known all over the world and which you can read more about here. The principle is to play in a non-systematic way with variations of rhythm and speed, and to do so by exploiting the climbs and the descents. Obviously, if you live in a lowland town it will be more difficult and you will have to do your best by studying routes that include viaducts or underpasses. But if you live in the hills or have the possibility in your free time to move in a hilly region, or even to walk on medium mountain paths, this continuous alternation of ascents and descents, and therefore different rhythmsdifferent speeds and different cardiovascular and muscular engagement, it really is the best walking workout you can think of.

Photo by Matt Bango on StockSnap

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