What is ‘Brisk Walking?’

I came across this information about understanding how ‘brisk’ a ‘brisk’ walk needs to be and another method of assessing how hard we are working whilst Nordic walking. The problem may be keeping quiet for the 15 seconds needed to count your steps!

A brisk walk can count towards your recommended 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week and help you burn more calories. But beyond ball-parking your speed — asking: Am I kind of breathless? Am I moving faster than a leisurely stroll? — how do you really know if you’re walking at what’s considered a ‘brisk’ pace?

Although ‘brisk walking’ can be defined by ‘movement that calls for heavy breathing’, many times, exercise intensity is actually defined by more complicated figures such as how much oxygen we consume per kilogram of body weight per minute — a number that isn’t easily calculated by the average person.


A new review of research published in the BMJ identified a more understandable threshold. A good way to communicate the general guideline is that a cadence of about 100 steps a minute indicates a moderately intense brisk walk.

Of course, you don’t need to be at exactly 100 — some people might be at 96, others 103 — but just about 100 steps a minute constitutes a brisk walk, the research suggests. That figure holds regardless of age, fitness or athletic ability, she says.


The next time you’re on a walk, take 15 seconds to mentally count how many steps you take, and then multiply that number by 4 to get your step count per minute.

Most people naturally walk at a higher rate than 100. It’s fairly easy to get to that value. If you want to up your pace, more preliminary research suggests walking becomes “vigorous” around 130 steps a minute and jogging starts around 140 steps a minute.