Walk faster, speed up weight loss?
I walk three miles four days a week with a group of coworkers. It takes us about 40 minutes. Last week, my usual group was unavailable, and I walked with a different group. They walk much faster (5 miles/45 minutes). I had to kill myself to keep up with them!
My question is, is walking faster the key to losing weight faster? I read that walking speed does not determine weight loss.
If your numbers are correct, you walked with a pretty tough group of walkers! Five miles in 45 minutes would be nine-minute miles – they’d have to be racewalkers to be that fast. Twelve-minute miles are when most people start converting to racewalk technique. In walking, it gets extremely difficult to lower your time once you reach the 12-minute mile mark. Every second you shave off your time is the result of training and effort. With your previous group, according to your numbers, you were doing about 13-14 minute miles. That’s a very brisk clip for most people, and, if your heart rate is within your target zone, plenty fast enough to lose weight.
However, regarding your question about which group you should walk with to aid weight loss: If you can keep up with the fast pace, and enjoy it, stick with the speedsters.
The reason speed is not usually emphasized for weight loss is that most people can’t sustain it for long, or aren’t willing to do the training to reach faster levels. When you walk slower, you have to walk longer. When you walk faster, you don’t have to walk as long. In either case, you may or may not be covering the same distance. It’s all a matter of personal preference.