What do we mean by ‘Walking Intensity’.
Put simply, Intensity is how hard you are working your body. How fast your heart has to beat to pump oxygenated blood to your working muscles.
It’s important to appreciate each person can respond differently to the same exercise, for example; one person might struggle to walk 30 minutes continuously while others make it look a breeze. Your intensity levels are very much dependent on age, weight, fitness level, health and individual goals.
There are 3 manual ways to measure your walking Intensity
- Measuring your Heart rate
- Perceived Rate of Exertion (PRE)
- The Talk Test
It’s the ‘Talk Test’ method we will explore in this article.
Talk, talk, talk… is perhaps, the quickest and easiest way to measure your walking intensity. Simply talk out loud whilst walking to see if you are walking fast enough. Here is how to measure it:
If you can sing your favourite song or talk to your walking buddy without noticing an increase in your breathing, you are not walking hard enough and this would be considered a stroll.
BENEFIT: As beautiful as the walk maybe, if you have a health or weight loss goal a stroll wouldn’t be helping you to achieve either.
If you can walk and carry on a conversation and notice your breathing you are walking at a moderate pace.
BENEFIT: This sort of pace is good for:
- Very overweight
- Just starting out on your fitness goal.
You really want to try to get your pace to a brisk pace as soon as you feel able (depending on your goals and health issues)
If you can walk and carry on a conversation but you need to breathe deeply every few words you are walking at a ‘brisk pace’.
BENEFIT: This is the best pace for healthy, sustainable weight loss and improving fitness. Its really effective when you add it to an Interval training program.
If you are walking and cannot hold a conversation at all – you may need to slow down! Walking this hard means you are doing too much too soon and could cause yourself an injury. And there certainly wouldn’t be many health benefits either!
BENEFIT: This pace could be deemed as dangerous if you are ‘only walking’ and feeling totally out of breath. Anyone who has just started running however may feel this way for a few more runs yet 🙂 but to all you wanna be runners out there, make sure that you mix walking and running together (Interval training) so you can get your breath back between runs.
Speed Up or Slow Down with your ‘Buddies’
Using the Talk Test when out with your ‘walking buddies’ gives you an opportunity to monitor their walking intensity too. As you are chatting and you notice they are heavily breathing and you are talking comfortably, you might need to slow the pace a little.
Walking Training Tip: Remember to mix it up a little. Try a minute walk at a Brisk pace, then slow to Moderate pace for 5 min then pick up the pace again. Do this for 20 minutes or the duration of your walk. The benefits and results will show in no time! As you improve gradually increase the brisk pace duration and decrease the moderate pace duration.