How to Speed Walk and the Benefits Of Speed Walking

How to Speed Walk and the Benefits Of Speed Walking

Let’s Go for a Walk

It’s like some friends set off for a walk, noticing things around them and chatting as they go. Then, they suddenly start to increase the pace until they’re walking so fast all they can do is breathe and walk and listen to the sound of their hearts beating faster and faster.

Soon, your muscles are stronger, your heart beats faster, your lungs aren’t gasping for breath. You feel fitter, you’ve lost weight, and you’re looking and feeling good. You don’t want to stop, you’re having too much fun and enjoying the health benefits. You’re healthily hooked!

A Happy Habit

The bug got us all, and we continued for ten years. We would leave our houses every morning at 04h40. By before 05h00, we’d stretched, warmed up, and hit our pace. It felt terrific, bliss. The benefits were too many to count.

Get Into Your Stride

Eventually, you get into your stride, find your pace, and settle down to walking and breathing. Your hips are moving to keep pace, and your arms are working like the pistons on a train.

Almost There

About a third of the way from home, you begin to think your legs might become unscrewed and go rolling down the road.  You start to feel that parts of you will fall off and, just as you can’t take it anymore, you’re home.

No Sudden Stops

Don’t stop suddenly. Keep walking even if on the spot, and wind it down to a gradual halt.

Loose Clothing

Wear loose clothes when speed walking, say, an old t-shirt and an open zip-up track top, which you can take off and wrap around your waist if needed. Wear short

or baggy long track pants, socks, and the best pair of sneakers you can afford.

Outside is Undulated

Walking outside means your path will be undulated – goes up and down – which is useful because as you walk uphill and downhill, it strengthens different muscles.

The first few days, up to about a week or more, you will feel pain in your joints, but after that, you begin to hurt less until one day there’s no pain, and you begin to enjoy it.

Find the Right Path for You

If you live in a completely flat area, you can walk to a place nearby where there are more ups and downs. Or even a five-minute drive will be worth it.

Think about it and drive around and spend a day or two until you find the right path for you.

Having chosen that your speed walking will be done outside, please find some people or at least one person one to go with you.

Several people out on the road are much, much safer than one person.

Safe and Flat

If you speed walk on your treadmill inside your house, it’s much safer and, you can set the controls precisely to your needs.

Music or Silence

Whatever your decision, you’re walking too fast to talk, so you could do this in silence or listen to music.

I went speed walking with a few friends for about ten years outside on the road, and I discovered that music, when you’re walking outside, is not a good idea as you cannot hear traffic or dogs or anything else on the road at that hour.

In the early days, that was when we were all listening to music, an incident occurred, which made us rethink.

An angry dog was running around on the roads and ran at us, growling with fangs showing.

We somehow managed to deal with that but two of us got bitten and had to go for  tetanus shots. After that we decided to make a better plan.

I contented myself thinking about things and got a lot of work done in my head by planning things. My friends, therefore, could listen to their music if they chose.

However, they all chose not, and, like myself elected to do various work in their heads – so a lot of silence but a lot of work done and we all remained vigilant.

After A While

Eventually, your muscles are more robust, your heart beats faster, your lungs don’t start gasping five meters down the road, you feel fitter, you’ve lost weight, and you’re looking and feeling good.

Don’t Want to Stop

However, now for the other wrinkle, you didn’t expect. We used to do this every day except Sunday (actually we often went on a Sunday!), so eventually, Sundays were officially included. After about a month or so, I couldn’t give it up and neither could the rest of us. We were enjoying it so much that we didn’t want to stop.

A Happy Habit

The bug got us all, and we continued for ten years. We would leave our houses every morning at 04h40. By before 05h00, we’d stretched, warmed up, and hit our pace. It felt terrific, bliss. The benefits were too many to count.

Two Routes

We eventually had two routes, one of 8 km and another more difficult path of 6.5 km. Not far, but those short routes got the job done. We mainly used the long way, but occasionally if we were in a hurry to return, we’d use the shorter of the two.

In high winds, or light rain, we’d go, and only storms or severe rain would prevent us from getting our ‘fix.’

Always Walk With a Partner or a Group

Walking outside makes the bodywork harder and so burns more calories. It might feel like a schlepp at first but stay with it because its rewards are enormous.

Walking with a partner or in a group, is brilliant because if you don’t want to go, you will go because your partner or the group will be waiting for you – little things like that get you going.

There was the odd occasion where only one person went – once myself and on another occasion a friend, but we both agreed it wasn’t a safe thing to do.

Tips for Speed Walking

  • No-one can be too tired to walk because walking wakens you up.
  • You can alter what you wear according to the weather.
  • Don’t eat anything before you leave, no matter how early it is, drink some water. Take water with you if you need to.
  • When planning your walking path, try not to walk on the main roads. Look for something in the back and side road areas or even a little bit of country.
  • If you’re going to be walking in the dark, it’s best to take a neon armband with you even for a few minutes.
  • You can wear it if you like so you can be easily identified by the passing traffic.
  • Please always walk on the same side of the road as oncoming traffic, i.e., stepping into the face of the traffic.
  • This is so you’re facing them and can make a plan rather than them coming up behind you, and you cannot see or hear them.
  • It’s OK to stop for a few minutes to catch your breath; keep walking on the spot as you do this.
  • Start slowly, and increase your speed as and when it feels comfortable to do so.
  • The first time we (a small group of us at work) went, we got back an hour and 20 minutes later.
  • After a few months, we were returning in less than an hour – that’s why they call it speed-walking

Benefits of Speed Walking.

  • It boosts your mood and leaves you feeling great all-day.
  • It tones your whole body and mind.
  • Strengthens the muscles and gives the heart a workout
  • It blitzes stress in a big way. After a workout on the road for an hour or so, you don’t have anxiety.
  • It helps you sleep. You’ll find yourself sidling off to bed much earlier and having an excellent sleep.
  • Sometimes you’ll be setting out just as the dark is lifting, and you get to see the night open up to the morning – it’s a great feeling.
  • By the time you return, you’re happy, stress-free, singing in the shower, and ready to start the day.
  • Oh, yes, you also look younger and healthier.
  • We learn from Experts that you can burn away between 150 to 200 calories in about 30 mins, of brisk walking.
  • A study by the Harvard Medical School tells us that if you go walking or speed walking for just 2.5 hours a week (21 mins per day), your risk of heart disease drops by 30 %.
  • It helps to lower blood pressure.
  • Even Diabetics (type 2) can make a significant and positive change to better their situation by starting at between three to five mins slow pace walking and gradually bringing up the speed just a little.
  • Remember to keep the spine straight and your chin up, and don’t forget to stretch.
  • Harvard University Women’s Health Study shows us that walking for one to three hours a week can reduce the risk of death from breast and uterine cancer by almost 19%.
  • If you push yourself a bit further by walking between three to five hours per week. That risk has been reduced to nearly 54%!
  • Did you know that walking can boost your memory? Yes, walking for 40 mins for three times per week will increase your memory by 2%.
  • Walking can boost your immunity.
  • It raises the heart rate to a high heart rate zone and thus causes you to lose weight.
  • Walking is excellent for old age – after walking for about 2.5 years, seniors aged over 65 as less likely to become disabled by 28%!
  • Walking has been proved to cut out stress eating as it cuts out stress.
  • Running and Jogging for anyone after the age of 30 is not good. It puts too much stress on your joints and can cause problems.
  • Yet, walking is natural and doesn’t injure the joints.


If you happen to have a treadmill and it’s easier for you, then use your treadmill.

You don’t have to care about what to wear, or who to go with, or the weather, or any of those things like being out on a road where you might not feel so safe.

Just get on your treadmill and start walking.

Of course, depending on the type of treadmill you have, you might be walking entirely on the flat without so much as a blade of grass to step on.

That means you’ll have to work harder to lose the same number of calories and put in the same amount of km.

However if your treadmill has the facility for it, you can reset your treadmill to make your walking undulated.

Sure, it’s still not the same because you’re not battling with the elements of the weather, and that makes a big difference.

However, you could make up those lost benefits by learning to walk on your treadmill without holding the handrails.

They say that makes a huge difference and give you a better workout.

The convenience of Treadmills is fantastic, and there are so many settings you can try that it’s quite the adventure in the beginning.

But, none of that matters as long as you’re getting that ever so vital exercise that we all need, and many ignore.


There are many alternative ways to lose weight, but that’s not our purpose here. We want to do what people were intended to do – walk.

People have been walking for millenniums – it’s the natural way to transport yourself from one place to another and back again.

Speed walking is where you find your peace and lose your stress. You should find a smile and lose a frown.

It brought us bliss and joy. Our brains were sharper, and our tongues were not because it had brought us to a place of contentment.

It costs you nothing but a decent pair of kicks/ sneakers and gives you so much back.

While some of us have continued, some of us, discussing this today (decades later) still have that extraordinary longing to go speed walking again.

It’s like an old friend – you always want to see them and are always glad that you did.

What Will You Do?

While some of us are wondering about regrouping and Speed Walking again, I have to wonder what any of you who are reading this will do.

Both outside and on the Treadmill have their benefits, and it can’t be said which is best because it’s a matter of what you can arrange and how you think of it.

Whatever you do, at least do something. It will make you feel so good about yourself, and even if you take your time and dawdle to experiment initially, that’s OK because this is all about you.

What you want, what suits you, what makes you feel comfortable, what makes you feel safe.

Please make your choice then stick to it. Start walking. If you’re anything like me or the group – you might never stop!

Ann Roberts

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