5 Ways to Turn Your Walk Into a Real Workout
Summer is the season for getting fit and strong, for strolling and striding outdoors. Did you know you could be getting more from your morning walk? It's true! And it's as simple as upping the intensity or heading to a new location. Before you lace up for your next loop around town, be sure to check out these tips and tricks. (See also: 25 Reasons You Should Take a Walk)
1. Add Intervals
Instead of heading out on a steady jaunt around the neighborhood, try mixing up your walk by warming up for 10 minutes, alternating fast walking with recovery spells, and finishing up with a cool down. You can use any ratio that works for you, for example 1 minute of fast walking with 1 minute of recovery, but the longer the quick portions are, the stronger you'll become overall. You'll even boost your metabolism this way, meaning you'll burn more calories in less time and keep the burn going after you finish your workout.
2. Climb Hills
This same concept applies when it comes to inclines as well. Walking uphill requires much more energy than staying on even ground. And adding this challenge to your routine has its own set of benefits. For instance, with each increase of 5% incline, you'll burn an extra 3 to 5 calories per minute. You'll also work different muscle groups, giving your legs a more toned look and increased endurance to boot.
3. Try Jogging
Consider jogging your ultimate interval option when it comes to walking. In fact, there is a growing group of exercisers who engage in a walk/run approach to exercise and racing on the daily. Versus standard running, mixing the two is easier on the body yet increases your cardiovascular output. If your goal is to eventually run a 5K race, walk/jogging can get you over the finish line faster (and with less chance of injury) than, say, going cold turkey into running territory.
4. Vary Terrain
If you're sick of standard sidewalks, take your walk to a new location. Not only will you get the change of scenery, but you'll also increase your calorie burn. Trekking on dry sand, loose gravel, dirt trails, and other surfaces has the power burn up to 30% more calories than on solid ground. Of course, be sure to slather on the sunscreen and bring the bug repellent, as there's no shade on the beach and hiking can invite a brigade of bugs to the party. (See also: Homemade Sunblock and 6 Other Non-Toxic Recipes to Get Your Skin Sun-Ready)
5. Stop and Drop
Punctuate your walk with body-weight training exercises for a total body workout. For example, walk for 10 minutes, then drop and do 25 pushups or sit-ups. Resume your walk for another spell and then do 50 jumping jacks. Continue on your way and then stop to complete a set of squats. Anything from tricep dips at the playground to lunges beside a park bench should do the trick. Try to do this type of varied routine once a week to see some toned results. (See also: These At-Home Exercises Will Give You a Gym-Quality Workout for Free)
How do you supercharge your walk? Please share in comments!