Get Your Steps In With a Brisk Walking Pace 

What is a Brisk Walk Pace

You’re looking to get in your daily steps but don’t know what counts as a brisk walk pace. We’ve all been there! Walking is an easy and free way to get moving, but how fast do you need to walk for it to actually benefit your health? One good thing, you don’t have to walk too fast to see results. 

This guide breaks down exactly what pace is considered brisk walking, how fast that is, and tips to hit your step goals through walking alone. With a few techniques, walking can be an effective form of cardio that will boost your health. Read on to learn how fast you should be moving and simple strategies to increase your pace and distance.

Determining Your Brisk Walking Pace

Determining Your Brisk Walking Pace

The ideal brisk walking pace varies from person to person and depends on factors such as age, fitness level, and overall health.

According to some studies, a minimum speed for moderate-intensity brisk walking is about 100 steps per minute for adults of 60, which roughly translates to 3 miles per hour or 4.8 kilometers per hour. However, individuals with higher fitness levels may need to walk at a pace of 4 miles per hour (6.4 kilometers per hour) or faster to reach the moderate-intensity exercise zone.

Here are the ranges for different walking speeds according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Moderate Pace: 2.5 to 3.5 miles per hour or 4 to 5.6 kilometers per hour
Brisk Pace: 3.5 to 4 miles per hour or 5.6 to 6.4 kilometers per hour

Average Walking Speeds by Age and Sex

AgeFemalesMales
20-293.0 mph or 4.83 km/h3.04 mph or 4.89 km/h
30-393.0 mph or 4.83 km/h3.2 mph or 5.15 km/h
40-493.11 mph or 5.01 km/h3.2 mph or 5.15 km/h
50-592.93 mph or 4.72 km/h3.2 mph or 5.15 km/h
60-692.77 mph or 4.46 km/h3.0 mph or 4.83 km/h
70-792.53 mph or 4.07 km/h2.82 mph or 4.54 km/h
80-892.1 mph or 3.38 km/h2.17 mph or 3.49 km/h

It’s important to note that the average walking speed tends to decline as age increases. For most adults, the average walking speed is around 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) per hour, with a gradual decrease in speed as individuals age.

Mastering Moderate-Intensity Exercise

Mastering Moderate-Intensity Exercise

Achieving moderate intensity during exercise is a personalized journey, varying for each individual. Rather than fixating solely on speed, prioritize monitoring your exertion level, which can be evaluated through heart rate and breathing rate.

When walking briskly, you may find yourself breathing more heavily than usual. However, maintaining the ability to speak in complete sentences suggests you’re likely exercising at a moderate intensity level.

In addition to perceived exertion, consider monitoring your heart rate to gauge your exercise intensity. The American Heart Association identifies this zone with a range of 50 to 70 percent of the Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) which varies with the age of a person. Utilizing this guideline, you can tailor your workout intensity to your specific fitness level.

Numerous tools are available to track heart rate during exercise, ranging from traditional pulse checks to advanced fitness trackers and smartwatches. These devices not only provide real-time heart rate data but also offer guidance on maintaining the ideal exertion level for effective workouts.

Moreover, you can assess exertion without equipment using the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. By rating your perceived exertion on a scale from 6 to 20, considering factors like sweating and breathing rate, you can gain insights into your workout intensity.

To enhance your exercise routine further, consider incorporating interval training, alternating between periods of higher and lower intensity. This approach can maximize calorie burn, improve cardiovascular fitness, and boost overall endurance.

By prioritizing exertion monitoring and utilizing available tools effectively, you can optimize your workouts for better health and fitness outcomes.

Health Benefits of Brisk Walking

Taking up a brisk walking routine provides tremendous benefits for both your physical and mental health. When you walk at a pace that raises your heart rate, you’re doing aerobic exercise that strengthens your heart and improves your endurance.

  1. Brisk walking gets your blood pumping, which strengthens your heart muscle and improves circulation throughout your body. Your heart rate increases, as well as your breathing speed. Over time, this makes your heart more efficient and lowers your risk of heart disease. Increased circulation also brings more oxygen to your muscles and organs.
  2. Brisk walking releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that act as natural mood boosters and stress busters. Even taking a quick 30-minute walk can help shift your mindset and make you feel more positive. Walking in natural surroundings, like a park or trail, provides an added mental boost.
  3. When you walk briskly, your body works harder and burns more calories. This helps increase your metabolism and endurance over time. You may feel more energized in your daily activities and find yourself able to walk farther and faster. Brisk walking is a great form of aerobic exercise for people of all fitness levels.
  1. Walking at a brisk pace can aid weight loss and maintenance. A 125-pound person walking 3 miles per hour can burn around 300 calories per 30 minutes. Grow yourself gradually in speed and range with each passing day as the endurance develops. Combine brisk walking with strength or interval training for even greater calorie burn and weight loss benefits.

Brisk Walking Workouts

To get the most out of your walking routine, aim for a brisk pace. A brisk walk is about 3 to 4 miles per hour—fast enough that you’re breathing a little heavier and sweating lightly, but still able to carry on a conversation. At this pace, you can walk a mile in 15 to 20 minutes.

Related: How long Does it Take to Walk 20 Miles?

Brisk walking provides an array of benefits. It can improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen your bones and muscles, lift your mood, and boost your energy levels. Once you establish a brisk walking routine, you can add intervals to boost the intensity. 

After a 5-minute warm-up, walk at a faster pace for 1 to 2 minutes, then recover at your normal brisk pace. Repeat this 4 to 6 times during your walk. You can also incorporate strength training by walking up hills, stairs or ramps. Hold dumbbells or resistance bands to make it more challenging.

On weekends or when you have more time, go for a longer power walk of 60 to 90 minutes. Walk with a friend or family member, listen to upbeat music, watch an interesting podcast or audiobook, or just revel in the scenery around you.

Keep a walking journal to record your accomplishments and progress. With regular brisk walking, you’ll get into better shape in no time and wonder how you ever lived without it.

How to Maintain a Brisk Walking Pace

Maintain a Brisk Walking Pace

To walk at a brisk pace, you need to push yourself a bit outside your normal speed. A brisk walk should raise your heart rate and breathing slightly, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. Start by timing yourself walking at your normal pace for 10-15 minutes to determine your base speed. Then increase that speed by 20-30% for your brisk walk.

Use a Fitness Tracker

A fitness tracker or smartwatch can help motivate you to walk faster and monitor your progress. Many trackers allow you to set walking speed and step goals to work towards. Try starting with a modest increase, like going from 3 miles per hour to 3.5 or 4 miles per hour. Increase your speed and step goals over time as your endurance improves.

Pump your arms

Swing your arms in an exaggerated motion as you walk to help propel you forward at a quicker pace. Bend your elbows and swing from the shoulders. Keep your core engaged and don’t hunch over. Engaging your arms will also give you an extra cardio boost.

Take Quicker, Longer Strides

The key to walking faster is taking quicker, longer strides. Extend your legs to take more steps in a shorter amount of time. Aim for 3 to 4 strides per second. Land on the middle of your foot instead of your heel to roll forward into your next stride.

Build Intervals Into Your Routine

If maintaining a brisk pace for an entire walk is too difficult at first, try intervals. Walk at your normal pace for 3-5 minutes, then increase your speed for 1-2 minutes. Repeat this interval 4-6 times during your walk. Over time, increase the length of your faster intervals. Interval or interval training is an effective way to improve your endurance and speed.

Related: Are Walk Breaks Okay for Runners?

The most important part of walking at a brisk pace is sticking with it and building up your endurance over time. Start with just 10-15 minutes a few times a week and increase the duration and frequency of your walks as your fitness improves. Your heart, lungs, and muscles will get stronger, allowing you to walk faster and for longer periods.

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