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Is Power Walking Still a Thing?

While there’s no exact point in time that marks when power walking started, or a precise definition, it’s often referred to as aerobic or fitness walking, and it’s a spinoff of race walking, which became an Olympic sport in 1904.

Lately, though, it seems power walking isn’t as popular as it once was — or is it that when people say walking, power walking is just implied. We did a little digging and spoke to experts to get the lowdown on the state of power walking.

THE BEGINNINGS OF POWER WALKING

Even before race walking, there was what we called pedestrianism. “Individuals would walk for distance or sometimes speed,” says Michele Stanten, American Council of Exercise board member, author of “Walk Off Weight.” “It was a popular spectator sport in Europe back in the 1800s and early 1900s.” Then came Volksmarches, explains Stanten, which were non-competitive distance walks, popular in the ‘60s, followed by the creation of charity walks in the ‘70s, where these events were used to help support a greater good. “The popularity of power walking rose in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s,” says Stanten. “It’s actually even when I started walking along with running and aerobics.”

There’s not an exact definition or reason to explain the rise of power walking, points out Stanten. “During this time period, we all learned that exercise did not have to be extreme — we didn’t all need to run 10Ks or marathons to have cardio fitness,” says Michele Olson, PhD, CSCS, an adjunct professor of sport science at Huntingdon College. “Walking, which is a very body-friendly form of cardio, was something anyone could do, and it was cost effective. The only type of equipment you truly need is a pair of quality exercise shoes.”


READ MORE > WALKING WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AFTER THIS WEEKEND: INTRODUCING EVERWALK


POWER WALKING FOR FITNESS

If done correctly, power walking counts for fitness — it can even be your sole form of exercise. Just try walking on a treadmill at 5 miles per hour for an extended amount of time without letting your form be affected. You need to have a fast gait and efficient movement, explains Olson, but that can be learned.

“Walking workouts often include interval and fartlek training, where you speed up, go off-road, up and down hills, incorporate walking lunges, walk sideways and backwards,” says Olson. “Recent studies even show that if you walk 15,000 steps a day you can stay fit, lose weight and fight off heart disease.” However, most of these studies talk just about walking — not power walking. So is it just implied that you should be power walking, or is just plain walking enough?

IS POWER WALKING STILL A THING?

From a public-health standpoint, the goal is to get all people moving, and even regular walking is a very good option for that. “That’s where the focus has shifted — pedometers and the research on steps throughout the day have shown us that all walking counts,” says Stanten. “But there are still reasons to promote power walking, especially to all the people who are already doing some walking.”

In short, if you love power walking, you should power walk loud and proud. Trends may come and go, but anything that keeps us moving — and walking at any speed — is worth doing.

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How to Fuel Your Run and Still Lose Weight

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Getting into the swing of a new running routine can have some expected side effects: sore muscles, a hankering for fresh new gear and a new-found hatred for that pre-dawn wakeup call. But you might also find yourself with a less expected impact on your weight loss plan: an increased appetite.

“Immediately after a workout, exercise may suppress hunger,” says Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “But later in the day, your hunger hormones can surge making you want to eat.”

The issue is that exercise (especially the intense variety) initially causes your levels of ghrelin — aka the hunger hormone — to drop. By the time you’ve finished showering, your hormone levels have returned to normal, and on top of that, your body is also dealing with a big calorie deficit from what you’ve just burned. Cue the sudden feeling of being famished.

“Oftentimes people will reward themselves with rich foods and larger portions after a hard workout. While it may take an hour to burn 500 calories, it takes just a few minutes to eat that all back,” says Rumsey.

The dilemma becomes about how to make sure we’re getting adequate fuel to keep us strong through our workout without totally undermining our waistlines. Make sure you’re checking these three boxes to stay on pace with your weight loss goals.

Schedule Runs Wisely

When possible, try to schedule your runs before an existing meal, whether that means setting the alarm extra early to give yourself enough time to work out and still have a balanced breakfast or to head out of the office with enough time to squeeze in some treadmill time before dinner. “This way, when you finish your workout, it’s time to eat your regular meal,” says Rumsey. Not only will you get an adequate post-run refuel, but you’ll also prevent yourself from adding unnecessary mini meals to your daily food diary.

Have a Post-Run Snack

If you can’t schedule your run in advance of a meal, it’s still important to listen to your body and replenish some of those calories post cardio, says Rumsey. “After a long run, your appetite might initially be suppressed,” she notes. “If that is the case, try to still get in a snack of some sort, otherwise your hunger hormones will surge later in the day and cause you to eat even more than you need.” If you can’t stomach the thought of eating after a hot and sweaty run, try a liquid meal. “Combine a handful of leafy greens, 1-1.5 cups of fruit, 4-6 oz plain Greek yogurt, a tablespoon of chia seeds, 2 tablespoons of nuts or a tablespoon of nut butter, and 8-10 ounces of liquid,” says Rumsey.

Stay Hydrated

Staying well-hydrated before, during and after your run is not only important for a healthy workout, it’s also key for keeping your hunger in check. “Often thirst is mistaken for hunger, and if you aren’t staying hydrated during your workout, you will end up feeling hungrier later in the day,” says Rumsey. After your run, immediately chug a big glass of water before hitting the shower. By the time your hunger hormones level off, you’ll have taken thirst out of the equation and will be less likely to overeat.

The post How to Fuel Your Run and Still Lose Weight appeared first on Hello Healthy.

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