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Walking FAQ, frequent questions

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How does walking compare to running?

Walking can provide the same benefits as a running program. General health benefits are aquired from any walking. For cardio benefits the key is walking fast enough to get your heart rate up. Walkers may miss fewer days due to injury than runners while achieving similar improvements in aerobic conditioning.


Should I use hand weights while walking?

No! The risk far out weigh the benefits. Hand weights can be a great part of your fitness routine, but use them separate from your walk. Carrying weights will not provide the resistance needed to tone your muscles; but can increase your blood pressure, place strain on ligaments and tendons and may contribute to joint problems. You will actually be able to walk faster without carrying the weights, therefore getting a better workout.


What should I look for in a walking shoe?

  • Low heel
  • Flexible sole
  • Lightweight and breathable fabric
  • GREAT fit - oops that's number one!

    More info here


    How often should I replace my walking shoes?

    Walking shoes should be replaced every 300 to 500 miles (or every 3 to 6 months). Replace your shoes when you can tell the difference between your old pair and a new pair. Do not go by their appearance. The inner support can be very worn while they still look ok on the outside. It is a good idea to rotate two pair of shoes if you walk daily, therefore they can bounce back between walks. Saving your walking shoes for walks (not everyday casual wear) will make them last longer.


    How can I prevent shin pain?

    Aching shins is very common for new walkers. It can also be a problem when increasing speed or distance.

    To avoid aching shins -
  • Increase speed and distance gradually
  • Wear good, flexible, walking shoes with a low heel
  • Perform ankle circles and toe points before and after your walks
  • Stretch your calves and shins well after you walk

    If you have shin pain now you may need to rest your shins by decreasing your mileage (and / or speed) for a few days. If it is very painful use the RICE method... rest, ice, compression, elevation (and ibuprofen works wonders).


    Why do my legs itch when I walk?

    There are several possible causes of itchy legs while walking. This seems to be a common complaint in new walkers and it has been suggested that the itching may be due to poor circulation. If this is the case the itching normally subsides as your body gets more activity.

    Of course the most common cause of itchy legs is dry skin. In the winter dry skin can really be a problem. You may itch when you're not exercising, but sweating intensifies the problem. Simply apply a moisturizer to your legs before exercising. Use products that are free of perfumes and dyes.

    Some soaps, detergents, fabrics, etc. can cause a slight allergic reaction. Once again you may not really notice this until you are walking and sweating. If you are using a new product (bath soap, lotion, laundry detergent, etc) that could be the culprit. Also be sure you are wearing breathable fabrics to reduce chances of a heat rash.

    If the itching persists, you develop a rash, or have additional symptoms you should contact a physician.


    Is it ok to walk when I have a head cold?

    There is not a definite yes or no answer to this question. If all of your symptoms are above the neck (runny nose, sore throat or sneezing), and you are feeling up to it, moderate exercise is usually safe.

    When should you skip your workout?

    1) If you are overly stressed, not getting enough rest, or not well hydrated correct these issues before exercising while you are ill.

    2) If you have additional symptoms (fever, body aches, upset stomach, chest congestion, swollen glands, etc), are pregnant, or have other health issues do not exercise until you are feeling better.


    How many calories do I need to burn to lose one pound?

    One pound of body fat is equal to 3500 calories.

    A healthy rate of weight loss is approximately one to two pounds per week. If you are losing faster than that you may be losing bone and muscle mass in addition to fat. In order to average one pound per week it would be necessary to burn an additional 500 calories per day. (7 days a week X 500 calories per day = 3500 calories.)

    If you do not have the time or energy to burn the additional 500 calories a day you can use a combination of calorie reduction and exercise. Such as burning 300 calories a day through exercise and reducing calorie intake by 200 calories.


    How many calories are burned walking one mile?

    This will vary depending on the individual, speed walked, terrain, etc. An average is 100 calories per mile.


    What should I eat prior to a race?

    Eat something high in carbohydrates. My choice is usually oatmeal, dry whole grain cereal, a whole wheat bagel, or sometimes a power bar, and a banana. Do not eat anything heavy or fatty, eat too much, or eat anything that might upset your stomach (this will be different for each individual). Whatever you eat should be something you have previously tried, so you know how you react to it. It is best to eat at least an hour before start of the race and be sure to drink water also. Urinate at the last minute prior to starting the race, and completely empty your bladder.

    Be sure to drink water during and after the race. If possible eat a good combination of carbs and proteins after the race. It is also important that you have had enough carbohydrates and water the few days prior to the event.


    How many steps in a mile?

    One mile is equal to 5280 feet. Most people say it takes about 2000 steps for every mile. Of course everyone's stride is different. An average stride is usually somewhere between 2 and 3 feet in length. So on average it takes between 1760 and 2640 steps to complete one mile.

    To measure your stride mark a distance of 50 feet. Now walk this distance and count your steps. Divide 50 by the number of steps and that is your stride length. Now, divide 5280 by your stride length to find your "average steps per mile".


    What is considered a good fitness walking pace?

    An average fitness walking pace is close to a 15 minute mile. But, a good pace will vary depending on your fitness level, walking technique, walking goals, and terrain. For general fitness walking you should walk at a pace that increases your heart rate, and you can maintain for 30 to 60 minutes. Use the talk test... if you can't speak without gasping for air you are walking too fast. If you are walking slow enough that you can carry a tune you are probably walking too slow.


    What pace is considered race walking?

    Racewalking is a specific walking technique. If you walk using racewalking technique you are racewalking regardless of your pace. (I know racewalkers that walk 6 minute miles and those that walk 16 minute miles.)


    Have a walking question. Feel free to contact us at any time.