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What Is a Brisk Walking Pace?

author image Crystal Welch
Crystal Welch has a 30-year writing history. Her more than 2,000 published works have been included in the health and fitness-related Wellness Directory, Earthdance Press and Higher Source. She is an award-winning writer who teaches whole foods cooking and has written a cookbook series. She operates an HON-code-certified health-related blog with more than 95,000 readers. Welch has a B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University.
What Is a Brisk Walking Pace?
Walking at a moderately intense level improves cardiovascular and overall health. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

A brisk walking pace involves exercising at a moderately brisk intensity level in order to achieve cardiovascular benefits that increase overall endurance and lower risks for developing heart disease, obesity and stroke. Brisk walking can start out in five-minute increments to acquaint your body with moving and gradually work up to 150 minutes weekly. Check with your doctor first since not everyone can safely use walking as a way to improve fitness.

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Brisk walking means using your normal gait while walking 3 mph or faster. If walking outdoors, this pace will naturally give your hair a wind-swept look. Remember to walk by swinging your arms, bending your elbows, standing upright with good posture and touching your heel first to the surface. A brisk pace is faster than an everyday, comfortable pace but slower than a speed or race walking, jogging or running pace.


Walking at a brisk pace affects your breathing capabilities. Moderately-brisk level aerobic activities increase heart rate for an extended period of time, resulting in faster breathing. If your intensity level is at the point where you need to catch your breath, gasp for air or experience any difficulties breathing, these are signs of overdoing it and signals to stop immediately.


A brisk walking pace affects your speaking capabilities. Using a relative intensity tool known as a talk test will reveal whether or not your walking pace falls within this intensity range. Start walking at a faster than usual pace either by yourself or with a friend. Do not run or speed walk. After walking 10 minutes start to talk. If you can carry on a conversation but not sing, your pace is brisk.

Heart Rate

Heart rate plays a critical role in determining whether you walk at a brisk pace or not. Walking at a brisk pace means increasing your heart rate for an extended period of time while being safe and keeping your heart rate within the target range. In order to know if you are walking at a brisk pace, you need to take your pulse throughout your walking routine and use it as a monitoring tool. Either check your pulse manually or by wearing an electronic monitor. Use your heart rate to adjust your intensity level and stay within your target heart rate range. If you are walking at a fast pace that causes a rapid heart rate, your intensity level is too high. Lower your heart rate by slowing down your pace in order to prevent overdoing it. If your current walking pace does not increase your heart rate enough to provide a challenge, increase your intensity to maximize your workout by walking at a faster pace.

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