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Question
Posted by: Angie | 2010/10/06

Making a walk more effective

Hi, how does one make a walk more effective? Walking fast and far, or slow and not far (over the same time period)? Will ankle weights also make a difference? I walk to work, 20 minutes, fast, during my break, 30 minutes, intensity varies, and home 20 minutes, medium (downhill).

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Angie

It depends what "effective" means. If it's to maximize calories burned, then the further you walk, the better. So if you have 40 minutes, then walk 5 km, not 4km, for example. Obviously, as you increase intensity, you increase the risk of overdoing it, picking up little injuries, so you can't just hammer it all the time. You have to mix the days - some are faster, others slower.

Same goes for weights. Using ankle weights will make the walk much tougher (try it and see!), but you have to be careful because if you aren't, you stress the joints a little too much. So alternate days - one day hard (either fast or weighted), then a slower day.

It sounds as though you're accumulating good overall time and so now it's a question of adding that intensity - if you do that systematically, then you'll adapt and benefit, so give it a try!

Ross

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Our users say:
Posted by: fitnessdoc | 2010/10/18

Hi Angie

It depends what "effective" means. If it's to maximize calories burned, then the further you walk, the better. So if you have 40 minutes, then walk 5 km, not 4km, for example. Obviously, as you increase intensity, you increase the risk of overdoing it, picking up little injuries, so you can't just hammer it all the time. You have to mix the days - some are faster, others slower.

Same goes for weights. Using ankle weights will make the walk much tougher (try it and see!), but you have to be careful because if you aren't, you stress the joints a little too much. So alternate days - one day hard (either fast or weighted), then a slower day.

It sounds as though you're accumulating good overall time and so now it's a question of adding that intensity - if you do that systematically, then you'll adapt and benefit, so give it a try!

Ross

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