The answer is a resounding yes. If you're walking for fitness, speed surely matters. The faster you go, the more calories you burn. This means that if you're walking leisurely around the park while enjoying the scenic views around you, you don't burn as much fat as you do when you're speed walking around the neighborhood to burn the calories that you consumed.
To get started on this physical activity, it would be a good idea to talk to your doctor first. This is especially necessary if you have any medical condition.
The trick is to figure out how fast you walk. Instead of timing yourself walking around a measured track, it would be better to count your steps. After the warm-up session, walk around and count how many steps you take in a one-minute walk. Similarly, you can count your steps for 20 seconds and just multiply it by 3 to figure out the number.
If the purpose of your walking exercise is to maintain good health, the advisable pace would be three miles per hour. This is equivalent to 120 steps for every minute. It would be fewer for taller people.
Now, if your aim is to shed off some pounds, you'll have to increase your pace to 4 miles per hour or 135 steps per minute. For aerobic fitness, strive for 4.5 miles per hour or 150 steps per minute.
Next, you have to invest on comfortable shoes. Walking is an inexpensive physical activity that won't require the use of equipment but you certainly must look for a pair of comfortable shoes that are efficient enough to provide cushioning support.
Light hiking shoes and athletic shoes such as running and cross training footwear are some good options. But it would be best to go for those that are specifically designed for walking. Make sure that the pair you buy bends through the ball of the foot while remaining firm. Wear shoes that come with low heels. Those with thick cushioning in the heel don't make comfortable shoes.
For the actual walking exercise, you have to start with some warm-up moves. Ankle circles, leg swings, pelvic loops, and arm circles are ideal warm up exercises for walking. Spend 30 seconds for each of this warm up exercise.
When walking, see to it that you watch for the traffic. Walk only on sidewalks and on the left side of street against the traffic so you can see the cars heading your way. Don't forget to carry your ID and cell phone at all times. Some people tend to use ear phones to listen to music while walking. This can pose a danger if you don't hear anything around you. Use one earpiece if you must.
Also keep in mind that the walking technique counts. For one, you have to stand tall. Avoid arching your lower back. It's also better to take quick steps instead of long steps. Keep your elbows in the same position but bend your arms as you walk.