Why Walk? - Centurions World Wide Community-current

Centurions Worldwide Community
Go to content

Why Walk?

Race walking
Why walk? - well why not!

Race Walking
Unlike other "types" opf walking (see below) race walking is a a technical athletic sport. It has rules as to how you should walk and has judges to ensure you comply with the rules. See more on our race walking page.
But it is a very rewarding sport.  Walking with a race walking or athletics club is about so much more than physical exercise. It’s about joining a community that has the power to change your life. And when it comes to long and ultra distance walkers like the Centurions then it is a very special family of walkers.
Race walking competitions take place on track and on road and cover a huge amount of distances from 2,000 metres through to 100miles and even longer. Obviously, the Centurions are interested in 100 miles and 24 hour races but we all compete in shorter and longer races!
Benefits:  cardiovascular - pulse and breathing are raised well above resting levels;  it  has the advantage over running because there is none of the jarring through the feet, ankles, knees, hips and spine that can be the cause of many running injuries.
Racewalking also offers opportunities to compete and to achieve national standing for people of all ages.
Racewalking burns more calories per mile than regular walking as the straight leg technique forces you to use more muscles. You might use racewalking as a way to boost the intensity of your walking workouts. It can raise your heart rate from the moderate intensity level to the vigorous intensity level.
Any race walking records, best performances etc, must be achieved in a race walk with accredited race walking judges present.
Race walking technique

read more on race walking rules and judging

There are (generally) several "types" of walking:
  1. Race walking
  2. Recreational walking
  3. Nordic walking
  4. Power walking

Recreational walking - the benefits
From everyday experience, we know that people benefit physically, emotionally and mentally when they start to walk regularly. Walking provides the opportunity to meet new people, expand social networks, and connect people with their local environment and community or just to go out for a bit of peace and quiet.
  • it gives you more energy and vitality: you can experience the open air and calm down;
  • it also helps to combat or even diminish mental problems or complaints. Fresh air and exercise in a natural environment does do an awful lot of good. All you need to do is just go and explore your local park!
  • you will also feel better as result of walking outdoors - ie you end up in a better mood at the end of your walk! You can leave behind any daily troubles for a short time! Enjoy!
  • it keeps your weight under control: tones the muscles, fights the flab...and all are obvious benefits. You can keep fit and mobile and active in a sensible way.
  • you sleep better
  • you run less risk on health problems (cancer, diabetes, heart and vascular diseases...)
  • the self-confidence increases
  • and so much more!
The benefits of recreational walking can actually be translated to many "types" of walking, including..

Nordic walking - and what is it?
Nordic walking was originally a summer training regime for cross-country skiers. It is based on using specially designed walking poles in a way that harnesses the power of the upper body to propel you forward as you walk. It's now a recognised way to turn a walk into whole-body exercise that can be done by anybody, anywhere.
Nordic walking is suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels. There are classes which range from gentle walks for people with health concerns, to workout walks, which are a great way to improve fitness, lose weight and tone the whole body. There are even Nordic walking marathons!
Equipment: a pair of Nordic walking poles (different to trekking poles); walking shoes and appropriate clothing.
What difference do the poles make? When properly used, the poles take the weight off the knees and lower body joints – this makes you feel lighter on your feet.
Technique:  You move in a similar way to ordinary walking and swing your arms from your shoulder with your elbows straight – think of a soldier marching. To get the full benefits and avoid injury, you could start with lessons to get the basic technique.
Health benefits: similar to other forms of moderate activity, regular Nordic walking can lower your risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. Nordic walking, like any other form of exercise, can also be used as part of an exercise programme to lose weight. Nordic walking is no harder on the joints than walking. It's an activity suitable for people with joint conditions or who may be carrying some extra body weight.
Getting started: Nordic walking can be done in any location, city or countryside, but it's recommended that you learn the technique from a qualified instructor. They will usually offer a taster session so that you can make sure it's something that's right for you first. Most instructors also run local groups, which you can join for regular walks once you've learned the technique.
There are races for Nordic Walking with long to uktra distances coverng marathons and 24 hours. In September, 21-22, Katarzyna Marondel (Poland) broke the 24 hours Ultra-Endurance Nordic Walking World Record in Racibórz, Poland with a 149,12 km performance. Marondel’s 24 hours is the best record of the Nordic Walking history.

Power walking or "speed walking"
Power walking was, more or less, invented in the USA and more or less ignored by the rest of the world. The origins, in the 1990s, involved walking very fast in shopping malls in the US. It has since then been transported to the outdoors.... and the benefits measure the same benefits of recreational walking (but maybe just a little bit faster) ...
♦ it's an ideal sport for the building and the conservation of a good physical condition and an an efficient training for the strengthening of the body;
it creates a sense of satisfaction through effort and training;
♦ is it not a risky sport: there are no injuries by direct contact with a pavement or road surface;
♦ it offers a natural solution for the prevention of illnesses and in particular for respiratory diseases (but be aware of traffic pollution in cities!);
♦ it is compatible with other sports (running, football, tennis, fitness, swimming, mountaineering...)

from the website Nordic Walking:
  • In 1990's, Speed Walking (Power Walking, Fit Walking, etc.) was founded. The origin of the Speed Walking is in Pedestrianism and Ancient Race Walking (1908-1956).
  • In 1990's, Power Walking was founded.
  • In 1999, Berlin Marathon included Power Walking division.
  • In 1999, Maurizio and Giorgio Damilano founded Fit Walking. Maurizio Damilano was the 1980 Olympic Champion and the 1987 and 1991 World Champion in the 20 km Race Walking.
-The walker must walk straight.
-The walker must walk doing an alternating movement of feet and arms.
-The walker must walk with one foot in permanent contact with the ground.
-The leading leg must be bent.
-Each advancing foot strike must be heel to toe at all times.
-The walker can not walk doing an exaggerated swivel to the hip.
-The arms spread completely from the elbows and these move back. (1)
-The walker must bend his front arm and reach out the other arm.
-The walker must walk straight.
-The walker must walk doing an alternating movement of feet and arms.
-The walker must walk with one foot in permanent contact with the ground.
-The leading leg must be bent.
-Each advancing foot strike must be heel to toe at all times.
-The walker can walk doing an exaggerated swivel to the hip.
-The arms spread completely from the elbows and can cross the body.
-The walker must bend his front arm and reach out the other arm.
Well, take your pick!

Yolanda Holder: 6 Days World Record of Speed Walking
In August, 24-31, 2019 Yolanda Holder (USA) broke the Power Walking technique 6 Days World Record of Speed Walking.
Holder walked 665,182 km in the Six Days in the Dome (Pettit National Ice Center de Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA).

Racewalking vs. Speedwalking
Racewalking is not just walking fast or speedwalking. Whilst fast/speedwalking technique may borrow posture and arm motion from racewalking, it does not use the straight leg technique that gives racewalking its hip rotation.
You can use the racewalking technique to walk faster in events such as 5K park runs, charity runs and half-marathons, marathons, etc, (and quite possibly, beating many runners to the finish line).
Racewalking stands alone as an athletic competitive sport.

Recreational walking,  Nordic walking and power walking can be a natural progression to RACE WALKING! Give it a try... why not?
but note that walking sticks/poles are not allowed in race walking races.....
More on > race walking

Back to content