What Are the Different Types of Walking?

Just as with running, there are many different types of walking that challenge walkers in a variety of ways. In this article, we explore some of the different types of walking and some of the benefits of including the different types within your lifestyle and training plans.

Remember, that walking doesn’t need to be difficult or expensive. Check out our guide on how to get started before you set off.

Chi Walking

The practice of Chi walking is an Ancient Chinese discipline which originated hundreds of years ago.

Think of chi walking as a cross between a walk and meditation. This form of walking incorporates the principles of t’ai chi and emphasises the importance of using your core. There are plenty of great videos on YouTube if you are keen to learn more or to give it a try.

Chi walking is about creating alignment between your mind and body. Done right, this creates a deeper level of engagement than other types of walking but does require some practice.

There is a whole website, dedicated to Chi walking and the technique required to do it effectively. Being at one with your mind and body means that you can improve your technique and the physical effects of walking, whilst minimising the impact on your joints and tendons.

If you are looking for something slightly different, why not give it a try?

Hill Walking

One of the most challenging types of walking is also one of the most rewarding. Hill walking is great for anyone who likes adventure and to explore nearby peaks. There are lots of exciting trails across the country with areas like the Peak District, Lake District, South Downs and Mendip Hills. We have previously covered several of the most interesting walking routes that you can explore, and you can find that article here.

Hill walking is challenging. This form of walking is less about speed and more about endurance, strength and stability. But it’s also great fun and something that all walkers should do once in a while.

Hill walking can include climbing local summits and fells but it’s more accessible than it sounds. If you have a local hill, you can include repetitions of walking up the hill into your walk to reap the benefits of hill walking without having to drive to your local Area of Natural Beauty.

You can even turn hill walking into a challenge by tracking how many peaks you crest with the Summit Bag website.

Be warned, hill walking will increase the demand on your muscles and will likely lead to increased muscle soreness when compared with a walk on flat terrain. It is worth taking this into account when planning your rest days!

Nordic Walking

Ever wondered about the benefits of walking poles? Then Nordic Walking is for you. As the name suggests, Nordic Walking originated in Scandinavia as skiers use poles to help glide through the snow as efficiently as possible.

Nordic walking differs from other forms as it relies on the arms for propulsion, emphasising driving yourself forward by using walking poles. This means that your walk is transformed into a full body workout that not only engages your legs and core but also your upper body, without ever having to step foot into a gym.

You can do Nordic walking anywhere, on both tarmac pavements and on boggy hills and everything in between. After a Nordic walking workout, you should be able to feel your triceps, biceps and shoulders engaging throughout the workout. It is a great form of exercise if you have any joint instability in your lower limbs as Nordic walking evenly spreads the workload across the whole body.

This is a great walking style for those wanting a full body workout, just make sure you buy high quality poles before you begin!

Brisk Walk

Perhaps the simplest of the forms of walking, brisk walking requires no additional tools and can be done almost anywhere. The aim of the brisk walk is to elevate your heart rate and provides a quick and easy way to incorporate a workout into your day.

The key to an effective brisk walk is to pump your arms and keep your foot-strike light and quick. Taking this approach means that you can cover a bigger distance more quickly and get the most out of your session. With a brisk walk, your aim should be to maintain a pace that is quick but sustainable.

A brisk walk doesn’t need to take long. As this is a high intensity exercise, a short session will be effective. Just make sure that you cool down properly afterwards with some targeted stretches. This will help your body recover properly in time for your next workout.

The Stroll

Don’t underestimate the power of a simple stroll at low intensity. Performing low intensity exercise does have a raft of benefits although these are often not as well publicised as their high-intensity counterparts. Low intensity exercise improves blood flow around the body and can help improve mental health by reducing stress and anxiety too. Going for a stroll doesn’t need to be complicated, it can be a walk in the park with friends, or a short walk whilst you are on lunch at work.

Walking is ingrained within human nature, and it is important to maintain cardiovascular fitness, through walking or another cardio activity, even if that means going for a stroll after your day at work. Don’t take it for granted every step counts.

Walking is great fun and can be extremely varied. If you are just starting out, or if you are a seasoned walker, including some of the types of walking described above can provide you with more variety, injecting much needed excitement and intrigue into your plan.

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We hope you enjoyed this blog, read more of our walking guides and advice