Walking is incredible exercise. It’s effective, free, and can be done practically anywhere. Walking is also an enjoyable form exercise because it can be social and stress-relieving. Regular walkers reduce their risks for cardiovascular disease and obesity, and enjoy other health benefits like stronger bones and muscles and improved moods.
If you like walking but are looking to burn more calories, tone muscle, or just intensify your walking routine, try out some of these suggestions to transform your walk into a full-body workout.
Step up the pace
If you’re looking to burn more calories and fat, start walking faster! The average walking pace is about 2-3 mph, which would be about a 20-minute mile. The optimum speed you should walk for weight-loss benefits is 4 mph. This means a 15-minute mile. If you increase your speed from 3 mph to 4 mph, you’ll burn around one-third more calories!
Your walking speed should be easy to gauge while walking on a treadmill. However, it might be a bit challenging to determine your speed while walking outside. Try downloading a fitness app that is capable of tracking your speed or use a stopwatch to time out your mile.
Add a light jog
There’s nothing wrong with sticking to walking if running isn’t your thing. But have you considered a light jog during your walks? If you have been walking regularly for some time now, the muscles in your legs should be conditioned to ease into jogging.
Incorporate some light jogs into your walks a couple of days a week to help get your body used to jogging. Aim for a speed in between 4 mph to 5 mph (5 mph+ is usually considered a running pace). Adding even a 1 to 2 minute jog during your walk will add some intensity and variety to your workout, plus you’ll burn more calories!
Walk on an incline
Walking on an incline challenges your body and burns more calories than walking on a flat surface. It also works your legs, glutes, and calves differently – which is more effective for toning and building muscle. If you’re not used to walking on an incline, try gradually increasing your incline level on the treadmill. If you prefer to walk outside, choose an area where you can start by walking uphill and end your walk by walking back downhill. Another perk of walking on an incline? It’ll add some variety to your walk to keep you from getting bored!
Keep your arms busy while you walk! Using 5 lbs free weights during your walk will help tone your arms and burn more calories. However, be sure that you are holding/lifting the weights with proper form to avoid excessive soreness or injury. Check out this video to learn how to properly incorporate free weights into your walk.
Grab a buddy
Walking with a friend (or your dog!) can help you walk longer and stay motivated. Finding a walking pal that’s committed to getting in a good workout will help you stay on track with your goals and intensify your walking routine – all while keeping you company and making walking more fun!
Interval training is highly effective for weight loss. You can add speed intervals or incline intervals into your walk. Create an interval training plan based on your current fitness levels and work towards achievable goals. Remember to ease into intervals and don’t go too hard at first. Check out more information on walking workouts with intervals here.
Use your muscles
Walking can tone more than just your legs. In fact, it can help you get a flatter stomach and firmer glutes too. To achieve this, you need to focus on using those target muscles while you walk. Tighten your glutes and gently draw in your waist while you walk. This will help tone different muscles and even improve posture.
Add in exercise moves
Challenge yourself even more by adding in some extra exercises to your walk! After every 10 minutes of walking, drop down and do 10 push-ups, 25 jumping jacks, 15 squats, or whatever other exercises you can think of. Alternate different moves every 10 minutes to keep things interesting. Incorporating other exercise moves like this will intensify your walking workout and put your other muscles to good use!
If you’re a regular walker, consider trying some of these suggestions to get your heart pumping even more. Always remember that regular walking is better than no walking at all. Walking for at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week will reward you with some major health benefits and help keep your weight in check.
How do you spice up or intensify your walking workout? Leave some suggestions below!
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