10 More Ways to Fire-Up Your Walking Workout
Add some intervals
Increase your speed for brief “bursts” during a walk and you can double your calorie burn. Use either time (alternate between three minutes at a steady pace and one minute at a speed walk) or landmarks (pick up the pace when you hit every fourth telephone pole) for cues. And use your breath as a gauge to make sure you’re working as hard as you can during these bursts of speed. Your breathing should change from a quick, steady pattern to a panting pace during intervals.
Incorporate a circuit
Carry a resistance band (get one with handles) and every 10 minutes, stop to do one of these multi-muscle moves:
• Overhead press and squat Stand on the resistance band with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Holding the handles of the band at your shoulders, squat down; when you come back up to stand, press your arms above your head. Do three sets of 12 reps.
• Balancing triceps press Stand on the band with your right foot in the middle, balancing with your left knee bent at 90 degrees, foot behind you (your knees should touch). Hold each handle of the band behind your head, keeping elbows bent and close to your head, biceps alongside your ears. Extend your hands to the sky as you do a modified one-legged squat, bending your right knee until the left toe touches the ground. Repeat 12 times and switch sides.
Track your heart rate
Wearing a heartrate monitor is like having a miniature personal trainer on your wrist: It will let you know when you need to work harder or ease up. Find your maximum heart rate (to do this, subtract your age from 220), and aim to work between 60 percent and 80 percent of that number.
Head for the hills
Roads with long, gradual inclines are a great way to keep your workout consistently intense. Rolling roads are ideal for intervals if you push your pace going up each hill and recover on the way down.
As much as you might be digging your meditative walks or circuit workout routines, never do the same exercise two days in a row. Instead, surprise your muscles (a surefire way to blast more calories) and keep things interesting (so you stay motivated) with this plan. Gauge your exertion on a scale from one to 10, with one being very easy and 10 being maximum effort.
Day 1: Long walk at a steady pace. Exertion: seven.
Day 2: Circuit workout (see tip No. 12). Exertion: six.
Day 3: Walk at a steady pace, up a long, moderately steep hill. Exertion: seven or eight.
Day 4: Take the day off.
Day 5: Circuit workout as you did on Day 2, mixing in other resistance band moves. Exertion: six.
Day 6: Intervals walk (see tip No. 11). Exertion: six during rest-phase walking, nine during one-minute interval bursts.
Day 7: Easy, meditative walk. Exertion: five or six.
Work your core before you lace up
Do 15 minutes of abs before your walk to “turn on” your core muscles and keep them engaged for the duration of your workout.six.
Sure, you may get some stares, but stepping one foot over the other while facing sideways is a great way to work different muscles in your legs and hips. Switch sides so you balance your efforts.
Strengthen your walking muscles with yoga
To walk with good form, you need good spinal rotation, hip strength and flexibility. Try this yoga move: One leg against the wall. With your right shoulder and hip touching a wall, bend your right knee to 90 degrees and push it into the wall (you should feel this in your left hip). Hold for three deep breaths and repeat on the other side.
Go out when it’s gusty
A blustery day might make you feel like staying indoors, but it pays to walk in that kind of weather: The wind provides natural resistance with little risk of pain or strain.
You don’t have to be on a mountain trail to benefit from Nordic walking poles. Poles add more upper body movement into your walk. Poles are a great way to boost intensity without carrying weights, which put a lot of stress on your joints.