Which part of the body is worked the most when you walk?

When we talk of fitness walking, there is a tendency to think that only your leg muscles are worked. Although they are certainly key, other muscle groups get a workout too, especially the heart, the abdominals, the arms and the back. I'm sure you've got it by now: fitness walking is a complete sport with more than one muscle to its bow.

Walking to build muscles

Walking, especially at a brisk speed, is a complete exercise which gently works your muscles, enabling them to stretch, while improving overall posture. Since it also helps with relaxation, sleep and the release of endorphins, walking not only improves the muscle tone of your whole body, but also gives you an energy boost.

First of all, your legs and thighs

Fitness walking is first and foremost a workout for your legs and helps strengthen your thighs, glutes and calves.

How do these muscles work? At the front of the thigh, the quadriceps stretches the leg and bends the thigh at the hip. At the rear, the hamstrings enable the knee to bend and rotate and the femur to extend: they contract each time you fold your legs.   
Glutes are the most powerful muscles in the body. Genuine stabilisers, they enable us to stand upright and thus prevent falling! They are particularly worked when walking, especially at a brisk pace. When going uphill, your glutes contract intensely and gradually become toned.           
Your calves help extend the ankles and play a role in generating momentum.

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

Abdominals: the silent workers

Firstly, as you accelerate, your heart rate changes your breathing and this effort strengthens your abdominals naturally, without your realising. In addition, your abdominals act as 'stabilisers' for the body and are worked constantly while walking to keep your body balanced.

The heart of the matter

The effort put in by your heart is proportional to your walking speed. Fitness walking requires moderate effort which is risk-free and will gently help your heart as much as your other muscles!

Your upper body also has a part to play

Lastly, lengthening your stride and increasing your pace when walking briskly (from 100-120 steps per minute) will result in swinging your arms. The effect of this natural movement is to strengthen the muscles in your upper body and therefore all the muscles in your back. When practised regularly at a brisk pace, fitness walking will provide a natural defence against back pain.

Make the leap and strengthen your muscles naturally - you will see the benefits!


Une séance de marche nordique (ou sportive) dure en moyenne 1 à 2 heures : échauffement, marche et étirements compris. Pas question de faire l’impasse sur l’échauffement qui vous évite de vous blesser, ou sur les étirements qui limitent les courbatures. Mais entre le travail, les enfants, la maison et les transports... c’est un casse-tête de caser les sorties marche. Voici quelques astuces pour vous permettre de pratiquer plus souvent votre sport favori !