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It might seem hard to imagine that some experts are able to walk for hours (e.g., for 50 km) reaching speeds (e.g., 15 km.h-1) higher than what most people would use for a running exercise. From a biomechanical point of view, walking normally at 15 km.h-1 without loosing contact with the ground sounds rather impossible and reflects the existence of a differentiated walking pattern that is not spontaneous (i.e., innate) and needs to be learned.

 

Walking fast beyond the natural mechanical limits of the body requires the adoption of a qualitatively different pattern that is characteritic of racewalking technique. The spontaneous walking or running patterns could adapt either on the short-term to different levels (e.g., intensity, speed, load) and natures (e.g., treadmill, hill, surface characteritics) of constraints or on the longterm to practice/motor learning, traditional habits or clothing, changes in body weight, motor impairments, etc. Ultimately, with respect to the specific exercise prescription aims both modes of locomotion present important advantages.

 

Understanding the specific characteristics of human locomotion could serve well in choosing an exercise ranging from simply maintaining an active lifestyle or even achieving specific cardiorespiratory or weight loss goals to more complex targets such as specific rehabilitation purposes. However, despite the importance of appropriate guidance to exercise, the biggest challenge lies not in the selection of an exercise program but in ensuring adherence, engagement and right motivational levels. Interestingly, many studies examining the relationship between exercise and affective responses.