Identify your level of walking

So, you wanna know how you can use walking as a form of exercise to lose weight?

According to Andrew Cate there are 16 different types of walking. Sixteen, who knew!!

And each type has different benefits and a different purpose.

1. Strolling. Slow, casual walking. You can talk without getting breathless and probably won’t sweat. This style good for relaxation.

2. Incidental walking. The walking you do doing your normal day. This has decreased in the modern, Western world. Think remotes, cars, sedentary lifestyle, and is a major cause of obesity. So up your incidental walking! You have been told, people!

3. Moderate walking. Planned, low intensity walk of about 100 steps per minute. You can talk comfortably, your breathing is slightly elevated and you may sweat after 10 minutes. Cate says this is ideal for beginners or the very overweight. Truth be told, and I am not going to lie to you, this is probably the level and type of walking I have been doing for the last 4 months. What does that tell you?

4. Fast or brisk walking. Planned, moderate intensity exercise where you can talk only briefly between breaths. Breathing is rapid and you may begin to swear opps, sweat after 3 to 5 minutes. This type is apparently ideal for fat burning. See here’s one of my problems. I don’t sweat (though I do swear). Instead I get very hot and red in the face. So much so that people ask if I am OK as I look like I am having a heart attack or that I am very sun burnt. I normally only get this way when it is very hot or if there are lots of hills to walk up. To get to this level I am really going to have to take more steps.

5. Power walking. This is an extension of fast walking where you take bigger strides and swing your arms more with elbows at 90 degrees. This burns more fat and works muscles in the upper back. And I think looks slightly deranged.

6. Race walking. This is the walking for Athletics with the strange hip movement and straight legged walk. I count this one out as I know it can cause muscle problems and I don’t want to race. Disqualify me in the first lap, please.

7. Weighted walking. This is walking with weights to increase your load and burn more calories. Cate advises against this if carrying the weights alters your posture or places stress on your joints. He also says avoid ankle weights altogether as they can affect your balance. I have enough muscle issues without changing my walking gait.

8. Shopping centre walking. Is this for real? Walking around shopping centres before they open, with no window shopping! Mmmm. This one’s a bit of a bodgy, I think.

9. Nordic walking. Walking with ski poles which apparently burns up to 45% more calories as you use more upper body and abdominal muscles. OK, I don’t really care what people think of me, but I am not going to use poles walking around the suburb. I’ll be known as the crazy, pole woman. I can do without that epithet, as can my kids.

10. Shallow water walking. Which is, believe it, walking in shallow water. The resistance of the water makes you work harder. Not for me. No access to shallow water.

11. Deep water walking. Yeah, you know. But did you know you can do it with or without a bouncy vest. Apparently this can burn as many calories as running, without the jarring or stress on joints. Going up and down my pool doesn’t strike me as an engaging exercise that I would be motivated to do. In fact, it seems to defeat the things I like about walking, ie looking around and seeing new things.

12. Hill or stair walking. Walking up hills maximises calorie burning. Apparently hills “are your best friend” if you want to lose weight and fat. So watch out hills. I am on my way.

13. Bushwalking. I love doing this with defined tracks. But only if I have a companion. Nature, fresh air, new sights, hills…what’s not to love?

14. Pram walking. Don’t know how my teens would take to being strapped in one. But if you’re a new mum, go for it.

15. Fun runs/walks. Organised events. Not for me. Hate crowds. And I like walking for the time it gives me to be alone and to think and process the day.

16. Walking clubs. Ditto.

So which type of walking will you pick?

Sitting here watching the morning walkers, I can help looking at their pace and style; the serious brisk walkers, the moderate walkers, the strollers, the pram walkers.


Now it’s my turn. See ya!


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