Which part of the body is used the most when walking?

When it comes to fitness walking, it's often thought that only the lower body muscles are used. Although these are the main muscles involved in walking, other muscle groups are also used, in particular the heart, abdominal muscles, the arms and the back. So it's fair to say that fitness walking is a comprehensive sport that uses a wide variety of muscles.

Walk to boost your muscles

Walking, especially fast walking, is a comprehensive activity that gently works out your muscles, by stretching them and improving your general posture. As it also promotes relaxation and sleep, and releases endorphins, walking doesn't just tone up muscles all over your body, but it also boosts your energy levels.


Legs and thighs on the front line

Fitness walking predominantly uses the muscles in the lower body and allows you to strengthen your gluteal, thigh and calf muscles.

How do these muscles work?
At the front of the thigh, the quadriceps is used to straighten your leg and flex the thigh at the hip. At the back, the hamstrings ensure knee flexion and rotation and the extension of the femur: they contract every time you bend your legs. 
The glutes are the most powerful muscles in the body. They work to stabilise the body, and allow you to stand up, and therefore help prevent falls in the long term! They work particularly hard when you walk, especially at fast speeds. If you start climbing a hill, your glutes contract intensively and become gradually toned.         
As for calves, these help to extend your ankles and play a role in the forward propulsion.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't just use your legs and thighs when you walk!


Your abdominals, the silent workers

Firstly, when you start walking quickly, your increased heart rate will make your breathing faster, which will, in turn, naturally strengthen your abdominal muscles without your even realising it. What's more, your abdominal muscles are real body stabilisers and are constantly working when you walk to keep your body balanced.


Walking for your heart

The effort made by your heart is proportional to your walking speed. Fitness walking requires a moderate, safe effort, and will strengthen your heart muscles just as it does for the rest of your body... gently!


The upper body plays its part

Finally, the elongation and acceleration of your steps during fitness walking (from 100-120 steps per minute) will make your arms swing. This natural movement strengthens the muscles in your upper body and therefore all the muscles in your back. When you do it regularly and at a sustained speed, fitness or Nordic walking creates natural core strength that will help to prevent backaches.

Put your best foot forward and build your body's muscles gently - walk yourself to a stronger body!