Maximise the health benefits of fitness walking, a classic endurance sport

It's medically proven: practising a physical activity regularly keeps you fit. As a "fitness sport", fitness walking stands out for the benefits you get from endurance. Here's a description of how it affects your body, depending on your average walking speed!


The "health" benefits of fitness walking when done with endurance

We all have our own reasons to do sport! Some do fitness walking to lose weight, others to get rid of stress, or just to take a break from the day-to-day and have a good time.

But all fitness walkers, whether they know it not, are doing their health a world of good!

As Charles Aisenberg, sports consultant affiliated with the National Institute for Sport, Expertise and Performance reveals, fitness walking does us good on several levels:

"Practising a sports activity protects us from the high blood pressure and excess weight that are precursors to cardiovascular illnesses. It also strengthens immunity and helps to fight against osteoporosis".

These many benefits are increased further when you practice endurance-level active walking, that is, when you walk for longer than 30 minutes.

Endurance sport or resistance sport :different health benefits

Charles Aisenberg distinguishes between the effects of endurance sports and those of resistance sports. So how do they differ?

In endurance: your cardiac effort is sustained over a long period of time. When you do 45 minutes of fitness walking, your body gets a regular intake of oxygen. This exertion works your heart muscles and clears out your arteries .Better still, it also uses up fats to fuel your muscles and help you endure for longer.

In resistance: your exertion is a short, violent burst. When you run the 400m, for instance, your muscles are more or less working without oxygen, so you don't get the oxygen boost that fast walking gives you.

You will notice: To improve your health, ideally you need to practice an endurance sport regularly. Fitness walking, this gentle sport which is easy on your joints, has all the benefits of long-distance running and none of the drawbacks.

Endurance or resistance: Which one should be worked during active walking

To know whether you are working at endurance or resistance level when you're walking, observe your heart rate. "And, more specifically, the percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR) during exertion", explains Charles Aisenberg.

• Endurance work is at between 60 and 75 % of MHR

• Resistance work is at between 75 and 95 % of MHR

To reap the benefits of both types of exertion, intersperse your endurance sessions with a few bursts of resistance work. You'll soon notice the positive effects fitness walking has on your body, both in the short and the long term. This should help you to stay motivated, whatever the season!