Walking is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your body. Just 30 minutes a day can help keep depression at bay, reduce your risk of chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes and help you maintain a healthy weight. If you have been walking for a while and feel ready to take your workout to the next level here are some ways to boost the intensity.
Jump on the HIIT bandwagon
High intensity interval training has been shown to boost stamina and calorie burn. Adding periods of vigorous exercise to your routine can also help you burn more fat and get the same benefits of a longer workout in a shorter time period. Try one or more of these ideas:
- After you have warmed up add 15 to 60 second intervals of sprinting. Run as fast as you can and then return to walking. Repeat this cycle throughout your walk.
- Add a few jumping jacks or high knee lifts throughout your walk.
- Head for the stairs. Many parks have stairs, take them two at a time or run them at least twice about half way through and at the end of your walk. If you are not walking in an area that has stairs, look for hills. Run up the hill and walk down at least twice during your walk.
Switch it up
Bring your jump rope along and take a skipping break every two minutes after the first five minutes of walking. Rope jumping is great for your arms, boosts balance and can kick up your walking workout a few notches by getting your heart rate up.
Bring the kids
Turn your walking workout into a family affair. Pushing a stroller is not for pushovers! The hard work will demand more of you physically. That means more family time and more calories burned.
There’s nothing like a little friendly competition – with yourself. Use a fitness tracker to set and break your personal best walking goals. An easy way to up the intensity is to decide you will cover more ground during this workout than you did during the last one. It feels good to win.
Get your hands up
Keep your arms at a 90 degree angle and your hands relaxed (no fists). Pump your arms as you walk to give your upper body a workout, increase your speed and even burn about 5 percent more calories. Consider carrying small hand weights if you can do so safely. Don’t swing these too far.
You might feel a little awkward but the extra effort will keep you interested and give your workout a boost. Be careful to try these on a level ground to avoid potential injury.
Keep up your walking routine. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Hitting the trail or the treadmill is a great way to get those minutes in. Adding a little intensity can help keep you interested, build stamina and catapult you past a weight loss plateau.