BENEFITS OF RACE WALKING?
There are many benefits to learning to race walk. For me, the benefits of race walking are very personal. When I was introduced to race walking I was an injured high school runner who was told I would never run competitively again. Back then, race walking was a vechicle to continue to compete. Within weeks of switching from running to race walking I discarded my knee braces and never desired to run again.
Now I have lost the competition bug, but I still race walk for the health and weight control benefits. Race walking enables me to stay fit, feel strong, and keep the pounds away.
Low Injury Risk Competition
For many, race walking's biggest benefit is as a replacement for another sport. Countless injuried runners come to race walking looking to maintain a competitive lifestyle. Race walking's significantly lower injury rate, as compared to running, allows many to continue to compete after injuries
Superior Cardiovascular Benefits with Lower Injury Risks
It's not uncommon for a trained race walker that has mastered the efficient form of race walking to achieve heart rates over 200. This is not to say that you should stress your body that hard, but with race walking you can raise your heart rate in a similar fashion to running, but without the same injury risk.
Save Significant Time During Your Workout
Let's face it. Very few of us have lots of time to spare. While a pedestrian walker averages 3 miles per hour and a power walker averages 4 miles per hour, it is not uncommon for a race walker to average 6 or 7 miles per hour. This can more than double the amount of miles you can complete in the same amount of time. If weight loss is your goal, then with the same amount of time dedicated to exercise you can burn more than double the amount of calories.
Full Body Workout
While not scientifically measured, race walking enthusiats have often boasted of race walking's superiority over running in terms of what percentage of the body's muscles are actively engaged during the activity. For running, 70% of the body's muscles is that stat often thrown around. For race walking we say 95%. Whether these numbers are accurate or not is not overly important. What is relevant is the comparison between the two disciplines. Proper race walking technique uses muscles neglected by runners. If you watch a runner and race walker side by side it should be obvious that a race walker is moving their arms (and thus more actively using their muscles) than the runnner. The same is true for the body's core and pelvic region. As we inspect the legs we see a more balanced ulitization of the hamstrings and quads in race walking over running as well as a greater utilization of the calf and shin muscles.
Increassed Range of Motion
In line with the full body workout benefit is the increased range of motion race walkers attain. Individuals learning proper race walking technique move through a greater range of motion than their pedestrian walker or running counterparts. This is both from a combination of the actual technique and the exercises race walkers utilize to warm up. The combination is a dynamic age-reducing duo. Go to an old age home. What do you notice? For me it was the lack of range of motion of the elderly. The older residents walked with very short steps and barely moved their body through any range of motion. So keep yourself young, race walk, and improve your body's range of motion.
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