Walking your way into fitness, health and body-shaping goals is entirely possible and offers many of the same awesome benefits as running. From toning and weight loss, to being a mood enhancer and reducing impact on your joints, walking workouts are a fantastic way to enjoy exercising outdoors this summer.
Here’s how to get the most out of your walking workouts:
After a 5-minute warm-up, walk briskly, somewhere between 3.5 and 4.5 miles per hour, and with intention. Turn on some motivating music, grab a buddy or set a time/distance goal to keep you walking hard.
Interval training helps burn fat so alternate bursts of vigorous power walking with periods of less intensity if this is your goal.
Incorporate arm movements to get your upper body muscles involved. In a controlled manner, swing your arms with your leg movements. Or you can bring along some hand weights or a resistance band to do your upper body strength-building moves at the same time.
Tone your core by contracting your abdominal muscles inwards while you walk. Swivel your hips to involve your side oblique muscles as well.
Walking hills will engage more lower body muscles and cause your muscles to work in different ways. For both toning and cardiovascular benefits, hills are excellent during walking workouts.
Keep your walking workouts interesting by switching up the path and scenery. Mix things up by walking in different areas including parks, city streets, nature trails, mountain trails, the beach, a track, the mall or a treadmill. Each of these has its own advantages and some can even boost your energy output by providing tougher walking terrain.
Stop for strength circuits every now and then using whatever is available where you’re walking. Walking steps or using them for push-ups and calf raises are super strength moves. Or try doing hamstring curls or kicks while hold onto a tree trunk. Nothing available to use? Don’t worry! Squats, lunges, knee lifts and many more exercises require nothing but your strong body!
Be consistent with your walking workouts. Even if you can only walk 10 minutes on some days, it’s better to do that than nothing at all. In fact, a short walk like that can elevate your mood and give you an energy boost that helps you perform better for hours.
When you can, try to fit in one or two long walks a week of around an hour each. These will burn a ton of calories and rev your metabolism to increase your resting metabolic rate.
Get your brain involved in your walking workouts by spending some time walking backwards and sideways (both ways). This will certainly keep you on your toes!
Walking workouts are a fun, energy-boosting, body-toning, calorie-burning way to stay fit this summer!
Sources: Health, Prevention, and Health and Style