Are You Walking Fast Enough for Health Benefits?

Unless you have been hiding under a rock somewhere you would probably know that adults need to engage in at least 30 minutes of ‘moderate’ intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. In addition to this you should try to participate in ‘vigorous’ exercise as much as possible. Many Australians have taken to walking at a ‘moderate’ pace in order to achieve this recommended minimum. But how do you really know how fast to go to achieve a ‘moderate’ intensity?

A recent study published by Sports Medicine Australia investigated how accurately people determine the intensity of their physical activity. Interestingly the authors fond that:Walk Park

  • regular walkers tend to walk at an intensity that actually is moderate
  • regular walkers often perceive their walking intensity to be too low to be beneficial, even though it is not
  • when walkers are told to exercise at a moderate intensity they actually walk faster than they need to!

Interesting? Remember that this study only looked at whether or not walkers are achieving moderate intensity walking pace as that is what is recommended for health benefits. So this is a good thing! It means that for those of you out there walking, you can probably afford to put in more effort to get even more health benefits. Walk a little faster, burn a little more energy, and get more fit and healthy!

Walking tips:

  • Walk everyday, for at least 30 minutes
  • Walk at a pace where you can just maintain a conversation
  • Walk with a friend – being accountable makes you more reliable!
  • Include hills in your shorter walks so that the intensity increases
  • Plan out an array of different walking routes to add variety to your sessions!
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed and tummy pulled in tight to help promote a healthy walking posture!
Reference: Brahahm, R., Rosenberg, M., and Begley, B. (2012). Can we teach moderate intensity activity? Adult perception of moderate intensity walking. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 15: 322-326. 

Related posts