Should I vary my walking workout speeds?

Interval training while walking is a great way to burn more calories. Watch this video to learn more from Mel Mueller about walking workout speeds.



Yes!  Interval training is great for the body and great for your heart.  Start off with a pace you plan to complete your walk.  From there, and after a proper warm-up, add some intervals.  These intervals can last for 5 seconds to 5 minutes; it will all depend on your goals and your fitness level.  The benefit from interval training will lead to increasing your cardiovascular endurance.  The more you complete these intervals and the more your body will adapt which will result in you being able to work harder for a longer period of time.  What does all of that mean?  A healthier and more fit you!

You will burn more calories when you vary your walking speeds. Intervals speed up and slow down your heart rate causing you to burn more calories in a shorter period of time. Varying your walking speeds will also make your walks more interesting. Challenge yourself. Also change will keep your metabolism working overtime. 
If your goal is for better cardiovascular health and/or weightloss then varying your walking speeds is very useful. Start out by walking at a comfortable pace to warm up then try extending your stride and speeding up your pace for 5 minutes, then back to a comfortable pace for 1 minute. Repeat this several times and when you are ready add variables such as a faster, shorter stride, or longer, more powerful strides

It is a great idea to vary your walking speed for a few reasons. Varying the speed provides variety within your workout. Setting an interval timer can make your workout seem to go by faster because it is being broken up into chunks. For example, if you have a timer set for 3 minutes you can walk as fast as you can for 3 minutes and then at a moderate pace for the next 3 minutes and then repeat throughout the workout. This way, instead of thinking 'I am walking for 27 more minutes' you are thinking in terms of 3 minutes.

Another benefit of varying your speed is that it will increase calorie burn! You may not be able to walk as hard as you can for a full 30 minutes but incorporating little bursts of activity 30 seconds to 3 minutes, will increase your heart rate and calorie expenditure during those periods. This will increase your overall calorie burn. You may also end up using different energy systems. For example, during the 30 second burst, you might be using an anaerobic system because you are going as hard as you can and then during the 3 minute recovery period, you will be using an aerobic system since you are going at a moderate pace.


If you don't have an interval timer but you walk while listening to music or watching television, use the commercials to pick up your speed or walk as fast as you can for the length of a song and then walk moderately for the next song.

Variety is the spice of life and variety in your workout helps mentally and physically to keep you on the right path.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.