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What type of walking is better for health?

Q: What is better for good health, walking slow for longer time or walking fast for shorter time?

A:Walking fast for shorter periods will work on different energy systems in the body as would walking slow for longer periods. Both can have benefits, really depending on what your goals are and how you want to go about achieving them. Although brisk walking would mean different paces for different people, depending on their age, level of fitness and their health conditions, one way to quantify it technically is to walk with your heart rate showing a reading of between 65-85% of your maximum heart rate. (To calculate your maximum heart rate or max HR: minus your age from 220 to get the theoretical max HR). Very fit men should be able to cover a distance of 6-8 km walking for an hour that is about 120 steps a minute. For women make that approximately 140 steps walking at the speed of 6-8 km/hour. You have to remember that you need to build up your pace over a period of time, to avoid injury and bringing on adverse health reactions. Give yourself a goal to work towards and try and achieve it within a specified period but take note of the difficulties you are facing. Maybe you could start off by attempting to finish 6 km in an hour. Then within the next month, work yourself to try and do another 1/2 km. One tip to help you achieve this is to walk with a streamlined body - i.e. arms close to your body, preferably bent at the elbows (at right angles) and moves them forward and back to help you gain momentum in your stride. Remember, do not push your self too hard and the benefits will be yours!

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