Fitness walking is walking done with the specific intent of significantly increasing stamina, strength, and skill. This intent is accepted to involve a planned, progressive regime of athletic training, but no external measures of prowess are inherently required.
The preparation for, and participation in, endurance activities where prowess is measured by time or distance, with the general goal of improving one’s own walking ability and performance. Competitive Walking includes Race Walking, but also includes walking as normally accepted, where strict compliance to the World Athletics rules is not required, or where other definitions and rules may apply.
The event in Track and Field Athletics defined and described in Rule 54 of the World Athletics Handbook. In Canada, this event is presently under the jurisdiction of Athletics Canada, working through provincial Athletics associations such as Athletics Ontario. (https://athleticsontario.ca/ )
World Athletics Rule Book: https://www.google.com/search?q=world+athletics+competition+and+technical+rules+2020+edition&oq=world&aqs=chrome.0.69i59j69i57j35i39j46i20i263j0i131i433l2j46j0i433.4509j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
World Athletics Definition of Race Walking: Race walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground, so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing let must be straightened (ie not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the vertical upright position.
Common Sense Judging Rules:
(1) Walking is defined by unbroken contact with the ground: one foot must be seen by the judges to be in clear contact with the ground at all times.(“Clear contact” is when each foot is seen to remain on the ground as the body moves forward. In running, the foot attempts to leave the ground immediately after contact.)
(2) The leg is seen by the judges to be straight or significantly straightened, at the knee when the foot touches the ground. (In running, the leg is bent at the knee when it hits the ground in order to provide the instantaneous drive back into the air. The absolutely straight leg of strict Race Walking is not required in “common sense” rules, since it requires a skill that people need time to acquire. But everyone can try to straighten it.)
(3) Above all, the idea is to walk. Attempts to adapt jogging to this “common sense” definition look contrived, are obvious to judges, and will be penalized. Penalties may include disqualification.
Credit Roger Burrows.