Walking Sport

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on February 20, 2012

Walking is a popular and fairly effective exercise method. It puts a low or moderate load on the body and is useful because it can be performed virtually anywhere with minimal equipment. Walking is recommended for all people except for those who have serious medical conditions. It is popular because it can even be used by those with low levels of fitness.


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Walking isn't just popular as a fitness routine but there are also walking sports activities like walking marathons and race walking. Walking can be done in a planned manner using a pedometer so that distance, speed and time are calculated and a set routine is followed. This is useful for those who are walking for exercise rather than for basic fitness.

Walking can be planned in such a way that each subsequent walk is slightly longer or faster than the previous one. This allows an individual to gain, and continue gaining stamina until his or her limit is reached.

Apart from recreational and exercise walking there is also walking for sports purposes. Walking sports refers to the sport of race walking. This is an athletic sport that is governed by rules and is competitive in nature. Race walking has rules which make it different from running or jogging races. At no point is a competitor allowed to have both feet off the ground. This means that as the rear toe lifts off the ground, the front heel should already be placed down. The other rule for race walking is that the knee of the front leg of the competitor can never be bent until the competitor has passed over the leg in question. This means that the sport mimics normal walking which is where it gets its name from.

Race walking is a strenuous long distance walking sport. Typical categories range from 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) to 31 miles (50 kilometers). During competitions, the sport is monitored by judges who are supposed to spot any walker who has broken one or both rules. Typically, there are two rule violations permitted before the third violation rules a competitor out of a race.

Race walking is an Olympic sport and is highly competitive in nature. Speeds achieved by walkers range from 12 to 15 kilometers per hour (7.5 to 9.4 miles per hour) during competitive events. This is considerably faster than the normal walking pace of an individual which has been measured at between 4.5 and 5.5 kilometers per hour (2.8 and 3.4 miles per hour). Race walking demands stamina and fitness from athletes putting it on par with most other endurance sports.

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