Walking is undoubtedly one of the best forms of exercise. It’s easy to do, it’s accessible to almost anyone, it doesn’t require fancy equipment or special abilities, can be done basically anywhere and is absolutely free. Walking is a great exercise if you’re looking to lose weight. For example, a 165-pound (75 kg) adult, walking 30 minutes at a speed of 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) will burn 150 calories.
Walking can indeed help you stay fit and healthy, but at a certain point it may be possible you feel you’re stuck in a rut. This can happen when you follow the same routine each day. You go for a walk in the same place, at the same pace and for the same time, with no variations whatsoever. The monotony of your sessions can affect not only your motivation, but also your fitness progress as well. That’s when you need to make a change.
Changing your routine will help you regain your excitement and energy. At the same time, it will help you challenge your body more than before and get better fitness results. Ready? Then take a look at our walking workout tips!
An incline can really make a difference. And this is something each of us can actually feel. You apply more effort to move your body, you engage different muscle groups in the process and you start breathing harder. All this hard work will elevate your heart rate and the overall intensity. Moreover, this is a great exercise to strengthen your bones and tone up your hamstrings, glutes and calf muscles.
Walking uphill will intensify your workout and, truly important, allow you to burn more calories. There’s scientific proof to support the statement. According to a research, you can burn up to 60% more calories walking uphill than on flat ground. Another study showed that a just 1% of uphill grade can lead to an increase in calorie burn of 12%. So the higher the incline, the higher the energy expenditure.
Pick up the Pace
One of the easiest things you can do to boost the intensity of your walking workouts is to increase your speed. Walking faster will help you cover the same distance in less time and, of course, burn considerably more calories in comparison to walking at your normal speed. For instance, a 165-pound (75 kg) adult, walking for the same amount of time (30 minutes), will torch a different amount of calories depending on the speed:
- Walking at a 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h) speed = 150 calories
- Walking at a 4 mph (6.4 km/h) speed = 169 calories
- Walking at a 4.6 mph (7.4 km/h) speed = 188 calories
This is a proven way to burn more fat and lose weight. Just make sure you increase your walking speed slowly and avoid taking longer steps than usual. The key is to take short, fast strides.
Add Interval Training
Another way to improve your walking workout is to add intervals. Interval training means mixing short bursts of high-intensity activity with longer periods of rest or less intense activity. This an efficient method to not only increase your calorie burn, but also improve your cardiovascular fitness and reduce the risk of heart disease.
When it comes to walking exercises, you can add intervals based on either incline or speed. For example, you can combine walking on a flat surface with bouts of stair climbing. At the same time, you can alternate leisurely walking with short periods of brisk walking or even jogging. No matter what you choose, it will make your walking exercise more exciting and beneficial.
Incorporate Resistance Training
If you want to increase the intensity of your walking exercises and enjoy additional health benefits, try to integrate resistance training into your routine. Adding this type of training will help you build and strengthen your muscles, develop better flexibility and coordination, boost your stamina, as well as improve your fat-to-muscle ratio.
Strength training includes lifting weights such as dumbbells, using medicine balls or resistance bands, but also your own body. You can do squats, push-ups or chin-ups to tone your muscles and get rid of excess body fat. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can incorporate this type of training during your walking workout or straight after or before your session.
Increase the Duration
At a certain point you may feel you’re not really recording any progress when it comes to your weight loss needs. At the same time you can not or don’t feel like intensifying your walks through other methods. There’s no need to worry. In this case, the optimal solution is to simply increase the duration of your walking sessions.
You don’t need to walk faster. Maintain the same pace as before, but go for a bit longer than usual. The key is to progress slowly, but surely. For instance, if you’re usually walking for 25-30 minutes daily, try to add a couple of minutes to each walk. Repeat the process until you reach a duration you are comfortable with and which generates the desired fitness results.
An interesting way to bring something different into your walking routine is to add poles and hence give Nordic walking a shot. Nordic walking can be practiced on the pavement, as well as on a mountain hike or on various dirt trails. This a type of exercise that will not only diversify your workouts, but also generate important benefits.
Nordic walking is a more intense exercise than traditional walking and therefore it will help you burn 20% more calories. At the same time this is a truly effective exercise to build muscles. During a Nordic walk you get to activate 90% of your body’s muscles, including your legs, arms, back, shoulders and abs. Moreover, because you’ll be using poles, you’ll exert less pressure on your joints.
Change the Scenery
Walking in the same place over and over again can become rather dull and can eventually lead to a loss of motivation. In order to avoid this situation, try to change your environment every once in a while.
Go for a walk in an urban, but quiet setting. Go to a park or garden or search for nature trails around you, to spend as much time as possible in the middle of nature. If possible, take a stroll along the beach. The possibilities are numerous, the key is to alternate the location of your walks in order to prevent monotony.
Tip: Keep Track of your Walking Workouts
In order to maximize your walking workouts, make sure to track your progress along the way. This will enable you to know precisely how much you’re walking instead of underrating or overrating your performance, to set and adjust goals according to the advancements made, to maintain motivation as high as possible and to take pride in your fitness accomplishments.
The good thing is that you don’t need to invest in a fitness tracker or smartwatch to track your walks. You can easily do it with the aid of your phone. All you have to do is download a walking app, like our own ActivityTracker, and you’re good to go. This way you’ll be able to see at a glance all the fitness metrics that matter, like your step count, calorie burn, distance covered or active time. You’ll also get to set a personal target and always remain updated with your progress.