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1. Sport walking: an endurance sport which has something for everyone!
Unlike everyday walking, which you do unconsciously, sport walking is done voluntarily and at an accelerated rhythm.
This sport, unlike hiking, is done on flat surfaces and therefore primarily in urban environments: in parks, on seawalls, in stadiums or even on running machines.
Sport walking can be done at variable speeds according to your personal objectives. Walking speed can therefore vary between 5 and 10kmph (around 3-6mph).
Sport walkers carry out sessions that last between half an hour and several hours. How often you walk also depends on the objectives you have set for yourself; some sport walkers go out up to several times a week.
2. What's the Point of Sport Walking?
Sport walkers have two main objectives:
to feel good about their body and stay in shape. -to participate in competitions. The first objective allows walkers to get out and about in the fresh air and look after their body and their health. Walkers with this objective in mind might go for a long walk at a moderate speed in the evening or at the weekend in order to get some fresh air and stay in shape.
The second objective requires a more extensive workout: you walk on a regular basis at a faster speed in order to burn calories, exert yourself, build up your muscles and especially, take pride in the fact that you are surpassing yourself and performing to the very best of your abilities!
3. What are the Advantages of Sport Walking?
One of the main advantages of sport walking is that it can be done almost anywhere, any time, and doesn't require a lot of expensive equipment: just get yourself some suitable shoes and you're away!
In terms of your body and health, fitness walking is a valuable physical activity as it works out many different muscles in your body. It has all the advantages of other sports such as running or cycling: preventing diabetes and heart disease, burning calories etc.
Walking has fewer drawbacks and more advantages than other sports too, as it is low-impact and accessible to everyone: effectively it's one of sports that is easiest on the body and your joints in particular, and your risk of injury is lowered.
With almost 300 calories burnt during an hour's walk at an average speed of 6.5kmph (4mph), walking allows you to stay in shape, and if you want to burn even more calories, you just have to speed up: 380 calories/hour when you go over 8kmph (5mph)*! In order to give you an idea of what this represents, it is the equivalent of the number of calories burnt when you run at the same speed or participate in a one-hour fast dance or aerobics lesson at the gym!
All you need to do now is make yourself a training schedule!
4. Choosing the Right Equipment for Sport Walking
When you go sport walking, your foot goes through three different phases
In sport walking, the movements are more intense than in everyday walking. Your gait is more forceful and you take long, quick strides. When you step forward, the heel strike needs cushioning to absorb the impact of your heel hitting the ground.
You will also notice a slight force pulling your foot backwards due to the speed.
Finally, your foot moves through the heel-to-toe transition while staying in permanent contact with the ground, and makes a sort of diagonal movement, from the heel through to the big toe, which pushes off again. Therefore you need stability all along the length of your shoe's sole. The requirements for sport walking are different from other sports, such as running for example.