Walking is one of the safest and most effective sports for fitness, but to become fit, you have to move fairly fast. You should exercise vigorously enough to increase your heart rate at least 20 beats a minute more than when you rest. Walking at a leisurely pace will not raise your heart rate very much.

There are two ways to walk faster: take longer steps or move your feet at a faster rate. To lengthen your stride, twist your hips from side to side and reach forward with your feet. Pointing your feet forward after your heel strikes the ground helps you gain a few inches.

It’s easier for most people to increase their speed than to lengthen their stride. If you move your arms faster, your feet will move faster also. Every time one leg moves forward, the arm on the same side moves back and the arm on the other side moves forward. For every step forward, there is an equal number of arm movements forward.  To move your arms faster, you have to keep your elbows bent. The fulcrum of your arm swing is at your shoulder. The straighter your elbows, the longer your arms swing as a pendulum from your shoulder, reducing the frequency of arm swings. Bending your elbows shortens the swing and allows you to move faster.

You may find that it helps to count out a cadence to yourself as you walk, 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4 — as if you were marching — or hum a tune, or play some peppy music. (Do not wear earphones if you are walking where there is traffic).

Checked 12/24/22