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walk slow or fast
Old 03-21-2013, 06:36 AM   #1
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walk slow or fast

I walk about one hour 4 days a week plus go up and down a couple of sets of steps while walking. my question is would it be better to walk at a fast pace, moderate pace, or slow pace in order to keep fit? I am not looking to get ready for a marathon or anything. I just want to keep in shape. I also do other excercises, but I read some people think that you need to walk at a fast pace while others think you can achieve the same results by just walking at a regular walking pace.

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Old 03-21-2013, 06:41 AM   #2
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I don't think you can get the same results by slow walking vs. fast walking. Back when I used to walk a lot (before I started running) I wore a HRM and could see a big difference in calorie burn from slow walking to fast walking. I typically walk a 4 mph pace now as a warm up/cool down for running.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:47 AM   #3
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I think you need to ask yourself what your goals are. My mom's goal was to keep up with the european walking tours she had booked, and be able to do a few light climbs that she had planned. So she worked up to that and held there until her trip. And now enjoys keeping that same level of endurance.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:21 AM   #4
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My Fitness Pal says one hour at 4mph burns 396 calories , but at a slow 2mph only 198. I don't think you will get fit or lose much weight walking at only 2mph.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:38 AM   #5
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Actually, if you look at cardude's numbers you will realize its the miles that burn the calories, not the speed (1 hour at 4mph = 2 hours at 2 mph). The big issue is the more you walk, the faster pace you will walk at naturally. So you might start slow but end up walking fast after awhile.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:56 AM   #6
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Do what you enjoy! I formerly walked at 4.3 miles per hour.....10 years ago. Today, I walk at 3.8 because I'm older. I walk 2 miles so now I walk 40 minutes instead of 30 minutes. Another consideration is how high of a grade you walk. I walk at a grade of either 3 or 4 on my treadmill. The higher the grade the better the workout.

The most important to me is that I enjoy my walk enough to do it every day. ....and, I do. I average, overall about 4 to 5 hours a week....every week. And, my Doc tells me that it's keeping me healthy.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:19 AM   #7
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Treadmill 'calories burned' readings are notoriously inaccurate, using them as a basis for anything is likely a mistake. It is not true that walking the same distance no matter what the pace is all the same, the pace/calorie/distance/HR relationship is not linear. Go walk a mile, then sprint all out for a mile and decide for yourself.

While you can find a "study" to support almost anything on the internet, walking at a brisk pace is more effective than a slow pace over the same time period or distance. What's brisk varies for each of us, but whatever it takes to elevate your heart rate. You don't need a HR monitor, walking at a pace that makes conversation difficult/impossible is more effective exercise than walking at a pace that allows for relaxed conversation (ever see people wearing fancy exercise clothes walking and talking on their cell phones ).

However, walking at a slow pace is world's better than not walking at all. Even if you're out there for fresh air, socializing, even talking on your cell phone - it beats sitting on the couch by a mile (pun intended).

Walking Speed - Should I Go Slow or Fast to Burn More Fat? | Adventure Network® + Total Fitness Network
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:35 AM   #8
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I think it depends on your age, fitness level, and what you are comfortable with. Even at a relatively slow pace, walking for one hour four times a week should give you a good enough aerobic workout to keep you in shape.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:46 AM   #9
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According to the Verizon commercials I see about every ten minutes on television, faster is aways better than slower.

Push it a little, but above all, stretch well and avoid injury.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:56 AM   #10
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However, walking at a slow pace is world's better than not walking at all.
This ^

Walking and other physical activities are for fitness; diet is the big knob for weight management.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:25 AM   #11
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It's really up to my dog. Sometimes she sniffs and sometimes she trots.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:53 AM   #12
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Faster is better....at least up to the point of killing yourself. Walking is better than nothing...but as a former runner (back problems) the only way I can get my heart rate up at all walking is to get on the treadmill and walk (4.3-4.5mph) uphill (6-10%) fairly quickly. I usually do 5 miles outside in the morning....but my heart rate is barely up to 100 doing that. I'll be back on the bike (recumbent) any time now for better workouts. Now...if your heart rate is WAY over 100 and you are walking gently....you have other issues you need to deal with.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:24 AM   #13
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For me, I cannot walk slow for my exercise and expect it to keep me healthy. Why? If I walk 2-3 mph, I do not even break into the "aerobic zone" heartrate. If I walk at about 3.8-4.2 for an hour, I will almost always break into aerobic near the end of my walk. I don't claim to be much of an athlete, but for me, getting the HR up to the aerobic zone now takes more effort than when I started running in 2008...I used to get huffed and puffed with a brisk walk.

So, I think it really depends on the person...what level of fitness you have, your resting heartrate (I check every morning along with BP - 100/60 and 45bpm this morning), your lung health and capacity, and what you want to get out of it.

Here is my non-qualified opinion, based on my own research for my own health purposes: If you are not an experienced or avid walker, I would start slower/less mileage. No more often than once per week, add 10% to your mileage (i.e., go from 2 miles to 2.2 miles) and try to do it within the same time limit as before. Keep tabs on your heartrate. You want to get it into your aerobic zone for about 30 minutes each time, if you are doing this for your health. Once you have mastered each level, move up to the next level. You can tell you have mastered the level by your HR. If you begin finding that it is taking you longer to get into the aerobic zone, you know it is time to go up a notch.

Hope this helps. As always, YMMV, and remember, I am not a certified coach, nor am I a doctor. The above is only my opinion based on my own research into my own and my family members' fitness and is not intended to be medical advice, and cannot be taken as such. If you have not talked to a doctor, health coach, or other medical professional, you should do so before beginning any new fitness program. Only they can provide a QUALIFIED opinion on your readiness to exercise at any given level.

Good luck!

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Old 03-21-2013, 10:59 AM   #14
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Mix it up.
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:42 AM   #15
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Do what you enjoy and will sustain. If you don't enjoy your walks you may be tempted to give them up and then there is no benefit.
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Old 03-21-2013, 01:21 PM   #16
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About 14 years ago, (before I was run over, and when I was 14 years younger), I regularly walked a measured 5 mile course in Texas in 58-62 minutes........sweated like the proverbial pig and it still wasn't as good as running.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:03 PM   #17
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About 14 years ago, (before I was run over, and when I was 14 years younger), I regularly walked a measured 5 mile course in Texas in 58-62 minutes........sweated like the proverbial pig and it still wasn't as good as running.
I can imagine, that's very fast walking! I know people who call themselves runners who do 12-minute miles and IIRC the "official" threshold between running and walking is around 5 mph.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that brisk walking is at a pace of three miles per hour or more (but not racewalking) or roughly 20 minutes per mile.

However, fitter people still will not be in a moderately intense exercise zone at that pace. A pace of 15 minutes per mile, or four miles per hour, is more likely to put fitter people into a moderately intense exercise zone.
I always considered anything under 15-16 minutes per miles as "brisk," but HR is the best measure.
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Old 03-21-2013, 03:51 PM   #18
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Back in Toronto in the 1970s, when I did most of my running, I recall a very tall Australian racewalker who stayed right on my heels around a track, and I was doing just over 7 minute miles...........I tried it when I was doing my timed distance at an RV park near Riviera, TX, when a racewalker from Minnesota stayed at the park for a few days.......the stride/posture improves your speed but you feel/look like such a dweeb doing it.
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Old 03-21-2013, 04:37 PM   #19
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Walk at the speed that is most likely to make you want to do it again. Over time you may well find your natural pace increases significantly.

Last Friday DW and I walked 3 miles to a french cafe for breakfast. We maintained a 3.8 mph pace each way. I'm 6' 1.5" and she is 5' 1". When we first used to go out for walks I felt like I was walking backwards but never suggested she should speed up.
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:08 PM   #20
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Pace and time are important, but just "doing something" is the most important. I've read several studies suggesting it's the first bit of walking that is the most important to health. IOW, walking normally for half an hour is dramatically better than not walking at all. Picking up the pace and going longer is "better", but not as dramatically so as the difference between nothing and just going for a walk. If it means you will continue to do it, "just a walk" is probably better than aerobic training or any other "goal". I'm not a doc, so YMMV.
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