Types of Walking
1) Continuous Walking
This is the most popular type of training since it involves walking at an even pace
over a sustained period. It can be done at different intensities - Leisure, Steady,
Brisk or Power.
The pace you chose will depend on your specific training requirements.
This form of training offers good cardio-vascular benefits and if carried out regularly
will also lead to body fat reduction and improved stamina.
Continuous Walking is useful for both beginners and more experienced walkers and
it is less stressful on the body than jogging, running and many other forms of exercise.
- Leisure Walking - this is the slowest type of walking and can be likened to a stroll
around the park or local shopping centre. The pace should be the most comfortable
level you can walk at over a sustained distance without any effect on your breathing
or general stamina. Leisure Walking pace ranges from 2 to 2.5mph / 3.2 to 4kph;
- Steady Walking - from Leisure pace you gradually increase your effort up to Steady.
Steady Walking pace ranges from 2.5 to 3mph / 4 to 4.8kph;
- Brisk Walking - this is the next step up in pace. Brisk Walking ranges from 3 to
3.5mph / 4.8 to 5.6kph;
- Power Walking - the quickest sustained pace you can manage is Power. Many walking
training plans will require you to at least do some Power Walking as part of your
schedule, though it is intermingled with less intense periods of walking too. For
most walkers, Power Walking will be done over relatively short distances or timescales
– though several miles in 30 minutes or so would not be uncommon even in the later
stages of a beginner's plan. However, power walking can put more stress on your
body and so it's important to be ever watchful for signs of injury or illness –
listen to your body and never try to push yourself harder than is realistic. Power
Walking ranges from 3.5 to 4.5mph / 5.6 to 7.2kph - above 4.5mph most people will
break into a jog.
2) Interval Walking
This type of walking consists of a short period of fast walking followed by a less
intense phase, followed by another powerful burst and then more of a rest stage
and so on (the process being repeated perhaps ten times).
In essence, Interval Walking requires an easy walking pace (for say 400 metres),
then a brisk pace (for 400m), then an easy pace again (for 400m), then another brisk
pace ((400m) etc. An alternative to this approach is to base Interval Walking on
time rather than distance – for instance, each section of activity could last for
Interval Walking is a more intense form of exercise than Continuous Walking and
requires greater levels of concentration, determination and cardio-vascular fitness.
3) Hill Walking
This is one of the most intense forms of walking since it involves going up and
down hills, sometimes over a long distance.
Hill Walking, especially if done in high country that can be both rugged and remote,
requires high levels of stamina together. For most people, Hill Walking will mean
tackling gradients in urban and semi-rural settings as part of walking plans that
may combine different types of walking.
Hill Walking in remote. semi-mountainous terrain requires pre-planning. Always let
someone else know your planned route, ensure you have good wet weather kit as well
as some food and drink supplies and, importantly, a map and compass (with the knowledge
of how to use them).
Remember weather conditions can change swiftly and dramatically on higher ground,
so it is also always advisable to check local weather forecasts as near to setting
off as possible. And it is always best to try remote Hill Walking with at least
one other person.
This intense form of activity was invented by the Swedish training expert Gösta
Holmér in the 1930s.
Fartlek sessions are composed of sections of differing intensity.
An example session might be constructed like this:
- Start with an easy, warm-up walk of 5 minutes;
- Follow this with a more steady Continuous Walk (of perhaps 15 minutes);
- Continue with a shorter recovery phase (for example, a 5 minute walk at a slightly
less intense pace – if your Continuous Walk was at 'Power' intensity drop back to
- Move on to a "speed work" section, composed of easy walking interspersed with bursts
– over short distances – of very fast pace);
- Now do another session of easy walking, this time with three or four quick steps
worked in at regular intervals;
- At this point, where possible, walk uphill at fast pace (or a very quick walk);
- Conclude the session with a short very fast walk.
While the Fartlek sounds complicated to pull together, it is just a question of
getting used to a regime – and it's less intense than full-on Interval Walking.
It's a good form of walking for beginners and the more experienced and it's brilliant
for developing all-round fitness.
It's also a highly recommended form of exercise if you live, or have access to rolling
countryside with a variety of gradients.