By Gill Stewart at
We always get asked this and the answer is YES YES YES!
Just going for a walk is a fabulous way to calm the mind and work the body but you can up the ante and make it as effective as running and swimming too?
By doing it WELL and making it TOTAL BODY, that’s how!
Step one – Pardon the Pun, is to learn to walk PROPERLY using the whole foot, good posture, the correct arm swing and a perfect stride will add a huge amount to any walk when it comes to toning or calorie count. see how below
Step two – is to add PROGRESSION or you will hit a’ plateau’ where you stop noticing the fitness improvements.
The reason people tend to think they need to break into a run is because they think that the only way to make walking more effective is to go FASTER or stay out for LONGER but that’s simply not the case. Let’s explore each one in turn
Longer walks are great for you but who has the time to meander all day? A lot of people also struggle to find suitable routes or don’t enjoy the solitude and would prefer to be with a sociable group.
There is plenty of research out there about the effectiveness of a BRISK pace and how effective it is for overall health but again, motivating yourself to manage this is not always so simple, we have put some tips below but as you will see later in this article – our total body WALX have these elements built in so you don’t have to think about it!
Tip one – talk test- our experienced Instructors are trained to use this method along with something called the rate of perceived exertion RPE which sounds simple but when used well is a great way to boost fitness but keep people at a safe level. Essentially if you are able to chat comfortably or recite a poem, you are not walking briskly enough! Try to aim for a pace where you can still talk but there is some breathlessness – this is a MODERATE to BRISK pace and ideal if you are new to fitness walking. The next stage is to aim for more vigorous bursts of a BRISK pace which is where, ideally you can only utter a couple of words.
Tip two – Count your steps per minute – Aim for at least 100 per minute (if you can of course) which is the pace identified as optimum in this review British Journal of Sports medicine Maybe use an APP like this one produced by Public Health England – The Active 10 App
So, our experts use a range of methods to help make even short walks effective because they include bursts of brisk pace via effective drills. They also make sure you never get bored and have a lot of fun but what’s the whole body bit all about?
Aha! That’s where the WALX magic comes in, our WALX Masters are all trained in anatomy, physiology and the principles of fitness, they are able to teach you to WALK WELL, up the intensity safely and motivate you to add whole body exercises to your walks
Effective walking is actually the opposite of the race walker or people you see marching along with tight shoulders and a furious arms wing. You can gain much more from a measured pace which flows and yet engages all of the major muscles. We call it rolling through foot rather than plonking it down – try it and see just how much it works the legs. Moving on to the arms, short movements with a bent arm may feel like a workout but in essence, it’s just targeting a few muscles. Our structured walking plan literally unfurls all of the tightness and develops a walking pattern that incorporates the core, the shoulders and …….whole body! It feels good too
Why is whole body exercise important ?- apart from the obvious toning effects on upper and lower body, using more major muscles also increases the CV effect and that in turn means MORE CALORIES ARE BURNED! It also helps with general mobility, balance and strength which are key ways to reduce the effects of ageing on the Body
Finally, Whilst we do have a range of fitness drills that work the whole body with no kit as outlined above, our TOTAL BODY WALKING sessions often also include the use of innovative equipment such as Smoveys, Exercise bands and fitness walking poles. Add the that the innovative use of steps, park benches and your body weight and you will know why our strapline is turn your WALX into a WORKOUT!
In fact, if you join a TOTAL BODY WALKING SESSION – you will never want to just walk again!
Just browse the WALX website to find a TOTAL BODY WALX session near you – Oh and if there isn’t anything yet, there soon will be. In the meantime…….you can join us ‘virtually’ by watching our free videos or even joining the WALX team from the comfort of you own home via our VIRTUAL WALX