The Olympics are every sports fan’s dream come true. We spend so much time watching sports, learning about them, and placing online bets using the Smarkets promo code so that we can support our favorites. And then, once in four years, we can enjoy all of the biggest sports at the same time in one place! Even though the Olympics represent a very long tradition of people competing against one another in various sports, they are not immune to change, and we have been witnesses of various changes being effected. One of the more recent changes is the incredibly difficult Olympic standard, which led to the elimination of the 5,000-meter race and the 50K-meter race walk. With such abrupt changes, it is no wonder that people are starting to become worried about the future of the sport. So is there a future for speed walking?
What is speed walking?
Speed walking is actually an umbrella term covering multiple things. It includes things like power walking and Olympic race walking. Power walking and fast walking, in general, are used for people who exercise walking at a faster pace than what is considered normal; Olympic-style race walking is a real sport, with a technique and form that can be evaluated and judged by professionals in a competition. It dates back to 16-century England, and it was one of the favorite sports that the nobility would bet on.
How does Olympic race walking differ from fast walking?
This is a track-and-field sport that has been around for more than a century. It includes distances of 50 kilometers for men and 20 kilometers for women; the racers are capable of walking a mile in less than six minutes. There are some strict rules that follow this sport; first of all, there must be constant contact with the ground, using at least one foot. The knee must be perfectly straight from the moment the foot makes contact with the ground, to the moment it passes under the body to the back. Combining these two techniques produces the signature hip-swinging motion that can be seen in all race walkers. It is not advisable to try learning it on your own, as this is not a natural motion, and it puts more strain on the legs, hips, and spine, which can lead to injuries if not practiced properly.
The benefits of speed walking
Race walking has never been as famous as running, but there are plenty of benefits that can help keep the sport alive. Increasing your walking speed increases your heart rate, which improves your overall health by making you less prone to heart-related health risks. By increasing the impact on the ground, you will also strengthen your muscles, your bones, and help combat the oncoming osteoporosis. If you also stretch before and after your walks, you will also increase your muscle and joint flexibility, as well as your range of motion. Even if speed walking does not be very successful as a commercial sport in the future, there will still be plenty of people who will practice it for its health benefits.