By Gabe Mirkin,
Walking is a very safe sport because it rarely causes
injuries. Running causes injuries frequently because you
take both feet off the ground at the same time and land with
a tremendous force that can tear muscles and shatter bones.
On the other hand, when you walk, you always keep at least
one foot on the ground and land with minimal foot strike
If you want to walk to become fit, you have to move fast.
You should exercise vigorously enough to increase your heart
rate at least 20 beats a minute higher than when you rest.
That means you will be breathing harder and probably
perspiring. There are two ways to increase your walking
speed. You can take longer steps or you can move your feet
at a faster rate. To lengthen your stride, swivel your hips
so you reach out further forward with your feet. This will
cause you to twist your body from side to side, which will
tend to make you point your toes inward when your feet touch
the ground. When you point in you lose distance. Try to
point your toes forward with each step.
To move your feet at a faster rate, you have to move your
arms faster. Every time you move one leg forward, you pull
the arm on the same side back and the arm on the other side
moves forward. Your legs will only move as fast as you can
move your arms. Bend your elbows so you can move your arms
faster. The fulcrum of your arm-swing is at your shoulder.
The straighter you keep your elbows, the longer it takes
your arms to swing forward and back. Bending your elbows
shortens the swing and helps you speed up your pace.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin
has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing
physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in
four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen
to hundreds of his fitness and health reports -- and the
Good Food Book -- at