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The 8 types of walking styles: which one should you choose?

Walking is a great way to stay fit, healthy and happy. It can help you burn calories, improve your heart and lung function, lower your blood pressure and boost your mood and mental health. But not all walks are created equal, with different types of walking styles offering their own individual challenges and techniques.

In this article we explore 8 types of walking styles, and how they can boost your health and wellbeing. We’ll also highlight some of Dorset’s top spots for getting out and about on foot, whatever your preferred walking style.

Different types of walking exercise

Depending on your preferences and fitness level, you can pick and choose the walking styles that suit you best from the list below.

1.      Casual stroll

Sometimes referred to as an amble, this type of walking is suitable for anyone who wants to walk for fun or as a part of their daily routine. A casual stroll can be taken in any sort of weather, with friends, family or on your own. It doesn’t require any special equipment or technique, and is a great way to reduce stress, enjoy nature, connect with others and improve your overall wellbeing.

LiveWell Top Tip: Take a casual stroll along Bournemouth Promenade with its beautiful sea views, fresh air and lively attractions for all the family.

2.      Brisk walk

This type of walk is normally done at a moderately quick pace, faster than your average walking pace. Suitable for people of all ages, a brisk walk can help you burn more calories, strengthen your muscles and bones, improve your cardiovascular system and lower your risk of chronic diseases. It is also great for people who want to prepare themselves for more challenging types of walking.

LiveWell Top Tip: The North Dorset Trailway is ideal for brisk walking. Located near Blandford, this Trail has a firm, flat surface and no stiles.

3.      Hiking

Ideal for people who have a high level of fitness and endurance, hiking takes you along hills, trails or natural paths, usually for longer distances and durations than other types of walking styles. This type of activity can help you lose weight, improve your cardiovascular system and lower your blood pressure.

LiveWell Top Tip: For a real hiking adventure, why not try the six mile long Old Harry Rocks and Studland Hill loop. Challenging, but worth the effort for the stunning views across the whole of Poole.

4.      Trail walking

A trail walk is a type of walking that takes place on rural or coastal paths, such as in forests, parks or woodlands. Perfect for those who enjoy the tranquillity of nature, trail walks can help you burn more calories, work different muscle groups, improve your balance and coordination, and boost your mental health.

LiveWell Top Tip: With trails ranging from three quarters of a mile to five miles in length, Moors Valley Country Park and Forest has something for everyone who loves exploring in scenic woodland surroundings.

5.      Hill walking

Hill walking is done on hilly or mountainous terrain, with varying degrees of gradient. A hill walk is a great calorie burner and works different muscle groups, while improving your cardiovascular system. It’s also great for people who want to work on their endurance and stamina.

LiveWell Top Tip: The Golden Cap boasts the highest point on the south coast of Britain, with incredible panoramic views of the Jurassic Coast and countryside.

6.      Power walking

This type of walk involves walking as fast as possible without breaking into a run, while using your arms to propel yourself forward and keeping your core engaged. A power walk requires more technique and skill than other types of walking styles, but it can also provide more benefits such as aiding weight loss, improving your coordination and balance, and strengthening and toning your muscles.

LiveWell Top Tip: The flat, paved path of Weymouth Esplanade is a great location for a power walk alongside the scenic Georgian seafront.

7.      Nordic walking

Nordic walking involves using specially designed poles, similar to ski poles. By engaging the upper body while in motion, it provides a more comprehensive exercise than regular walking. Suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, the health benefits of Nordic walking include increased calorie burn, enhanced muscle strength and endurance, and reduced impact on joints.

LiveWell Top Tip: Dorset Council runs weekly wellness Nordic walks through the stunning gardens, parkland and woodland of the Kingston Lacy estate.

8.      Race walking

Definitely not one for beginners! Race walking is done at a very fast pace, with strict rules such as keeping one foot on the ground at all times. This type of walking is best suited to those who are at their peak of physical fitness and want to compete in a walking challenge that pushes speed and endurance limits.

LiveWell Top Tip: If race walking is something you would like to get into, contact Dorchester Athletics Club and chat to the team about opportunities to get involved.

Final thoughts

If you’re looking to take your health to the next level, we are here to help! Whatever your preferred style of walking, our team of LiveWell advisors and coaches are ready to support you on your journey to a more active lifestyle. We can help you find walking groups in your area or work with you to develop a personal plan to help you reach your goals. Register with us today to speak to our friendly experts.


"In January 2019, I was five stone heavier. Now, with the weight loss, parkrun and netball, my anxiety has improved tenfold."

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