Walking is a great way to exercise. It can help get your heart rate up, keep you energized, and even improve your mood. But to really make the most of your walking workouts, you’ll want to add a little more spice. Additional movements can help make walking workouts more intense. They can get your whole body working and improve your fitness more rapidly.
“Walking workouts have their place,” says personal trainer Nathan DeMetz. “For people whose physical fitness does not allow them to run, walking provides a low-impact workout that can be completed virtually anywhere. Unfortunately, walking is limited in its ability to improve other areas of fitness. To work overall fitness, a person must engage in mobility work and resistance training.”
Luckily, these types of exercises can be added to a walking routine. Use the six tricks below to work out more of your body and make walking workouts more intense.
Rather than walk at a steady pace, incorporate intervals to improve your cardiovascular health as well as increase your strength gains. “Walk at a steady, moderate pace for two minutes and then at a faster, more intense pace for 30 seconds,” says personal trainer Crystal Widmann. “Repeat this pattern for 30 minutes.”
Pause and do some bodyweight exercises.
Incorporate strength training into your walking workouts by doing bodyweight exercises. “Walk for five minutes, and then stop to perform a one-minute bodyweight strength training interval in a 20 seconds on/10 seconds off pattern,” Widmann says. “Strength training intervals could include push-ups, planks, lunges, or squats.”
Walk with weights.
Carrying weights while you walk can help incorporate other muscles that you otherwise wouldn’t use in your walking workouts. “Walk with two- or three-pound weights,” Widmann says. “Walk for five minutes, and then perform one-minute intervals of upper-body exercises like bicep curls, deltoid presses, vertical presses, tricep kickbacks, etc., while continuing to walk.”
Some uphill movement can also make walking workouts more intense. “Adding hills will boost your metabolism and calorie burn,” says personal trainer Meghan Kennihan. “You will also build more strength, as you have to activate your hamstrings, glutes, and quads to climb. Make sure the hill is at least a 5 percent incline on the treadmill and a good steep climb outside.”
Mix up the terrain.
Changing up where you walk can enhance your workout. “Mix up your walks with trails, roads, sidewalks, grass, etc.,” Kennihan says. “Each of these surfaces will work your lower-leg muscles in a different way and require your upper body and balance to help stabilize you through the different ground levels.”
Switch up your direction.
Amping up your walking workouts can be as simple as changing the way you walk. “Include intervals of backward or sideways walking to work different muscle groups and improve balance and stability,” Widmann says.
If you’re still looking for ways to make walking workouts more intense, check out the walking section of the Aaptiv app. Aaptiv uploads new challenging walking classes that will test your cardiovascular and muscular endurance regularly.