Learning to walk properly... To start fast walking on the right foot!

Have you decided to start fast walking? Excellent choice! Fitness walking – aka power walking – is one of the most easily accessible physical activities that is also very gentle for the body.

Put on your walking shoes and check out our practical advice to take full advantage of your first walking sessions!


What equipment do you need for fitness walking?

One of the advantages of fitness walking is that it can be practised at any time during the day and almost anywhere: in the city as well as out in the countryside.

The equipment needed for fast walking is simple. T-shirt or sweatshirt, shorts and trousers: everything depends on season. Above all, your clothing must be breathable and loose-fitting, so that your movements are not restricted in any way.

Your main accessories? Fitness walking shoes that provide the cushioning you need for walking comfortably and relieving the pressure on your joints.

What is the ideal posture for fast walking?

• The correct positioning of each element, from head to toe

The first rule in fitness walking: maintain an upright posture to avoid any pain at the end of your first session.

Your shoulders must be held low and relaxed with your body weight well distributed between both feet and your hips tilted forwards and buttocks tucked in. Finally, your chin should be parallel with the ground and your eyes should be looking towards the horizon.

Are you in position? Start by walking without hurrying, at your usual place.


• The correct way to use your arms in fitness walking

With your arms held close to the body, gradually increase your walking speed. Your arms will naturally match with the movements of your legs creating a pendulum motion that counterbalances your steps.

They are bent at right angles at the elbows and your fists are clenched. This entire motion must be relaxed at all times! 

In order to achieve this, try out the following tip of Jeanick Landormy, a coach in fitness walking and getting back into shape with walking.

"With each arm movement, imagine that you are pulling on a rope with your arms. Start by trying to move your arms for a few minutes while standing on the spot with your legs straight and upper body straight." 


• The correct foot motion with each step

Second rule of fitness walking: use your entire foot! You should feel as if the foot is rolling through from the heel right to the toes.

This movement finishes with your toes propelling you forwards, as explained by Jeanick Landormy.

"Keep in mind that this push-off phase must be in a forwards direction, not an upwards direction. To achieve this, you must push off with the toes using the calf muscles."


What is the right fitness walking pace?

The fitness walking pace depends on your physical condition and level of ability: there is no point in pushing yourself too hard. The primary objective is to enjoy yourself!

You can start with 20 to 30 minutes of  fitness walking, extending up to 1 hour if you are following a specific training scheme.

However, if you are fast walking to lose weight or slim your figure, bear in mind that the benefits are proportional to your speed.

This is when the third rule of fitness walking comes into play: To speed up you need to increase the number of steps rather than lengthening your stride! This will make your workout more effective and avoid any risk of injury.

For your information, the average fitness walking speed fluctuates between 5 and 8 km/h.


What exercises can be used to improve fitness walking technique?

Once you feel comfortable, you can optimise your fitness walking by working on coordinating your movements better.

Jeanick Landormy suggest the following exercise that should be broken down into four or five series of 20 repetitions.

"Every 3 or 5 paces, rotate the upper body to the left or right without stopping the walking motion. During this rotation, stretch out your arms to form a cross. Return to the initial position, continue walking and perform the same exercise in the other direction." 

Another exercise: Walk as quickly as you can for 30 seconds and recover for 2 minutes by walking at your usual place. Repeat this 5 to 10 times depending on your level of fitness. 

Always finish your walking session with five minutes of slow walking. After a few weeks of training, you will naturally incorporate all of these ideas and your speed will improve. Ready to take the plunge?