Walking is a fantastic way to start your fitness journey, especially if it has been a while since you exercised. When you first start walking, you may just be happy to get up and out and around the block.
But as you press forward and become stronger and more fit, you may find that you need more intensity in your walk, but you aren't ready or don't want to run.
In that case, here are some tips to up the level of intensity of your walks which will boost cardiovascular benefits and strengthen your muscles.
1. Stairs and Hills
Take advantage of naturally occurring features in your environment such as hills and inclines. Inclines will increase your exertion level and build muscles in your buttocks and legs. If, like me, you live in the flat lands, you can take advantage of stairs or steps. You may look odd stepping up and down off curbs, but your butt will thank you.
If you are indoors, you can set treadmills at an incline, or use a stair stepper.
2. Use Your Arms
Rather than letting your arms swing naturally at your sides, bring them up and incorporate upper body moves such as punches, pull downs, and bicep curls as you walk. You'll get the benefit of an upper body workout, while increasing the intensity of your walk.
3. Walk Faster
A brisk walk will bring up your heart rate and build deeper lung capacity. Set a goal to incrementally increase the speed of your walk each time you go out. You may want to use interval walking (alternating fast and slow walking) to build up your endurance.
4. Correct Posture
Using good posture while you walk will allow you to walk farther and faster with increased breathing capacity and fewer aches and pains. Stand up straight with your eyes looking straight ahead and your chin parallel to the ground. Avoid arching your back by tucking in your tummy and your bottom. Relax your shoulders. As you walk, be mindful of your posture, and make corrections as needed.
5. Change Up Your Routine
Walking the same route every day leads to boredom and use of the same muscles day after day. Changing your route, moving indoors or outdoors, adding in intervals or strengthening moves such as marches or lunges, or adding small ankle or wrist weights as you walk will create a more enjoyable experience and bring different muscles into play.
What tips do you have for getting more out of your walk? Share in the comments below!