5 Ways To Step Up Your Walking Routine

When it comes to choosing an exercise, walking is a tough one to beat. It’s an activity that anyone of any age and any fitness level can enjoy. Whether it’s raining or the sun is shining, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor tracks to choose from. If you’re running a bit low on time, you can get your steps in around your living room at home, during phone calls at work, and even through the hotel hallways when on vacation. While leisurely walking typically isn’t enough exercise for most people, there are plenty of ways to challenge yourself so you can get the maximum health benefits. Learn 5 ways to step up your walking routine!

Step Up Your Walking

Walking sometimes gets a bad reputation for not being as intense or effective as other exercises, but that isn’t necessarily true. Studies show that walking at least 30 minutes a day can help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals. You can always add other forms of exercise into your routine if you’re looking to tone a specific muscle group.

1. Start A Timer

A great way to supercharge your normal walking routine is by setting a timer. Set a goal to walk a minimum of 30 minutes each day, especially if it’s your main source of exercise. If you’re looking to lose weight, increase your time to about 45-60 minutes when possible.

Motivate yourself even further by creating a daily step goal. The most important thing to keep in mind with your walking is consistency. If you’re only able to hit 5,00 steps or 15 minutes a day, that’s better than nothing! Once it becomes a daily habit, start building up to longer times and a higher step count. 

2. Pick Up The Pace

Similar to focusing on the number of steps you take, try increasing how quickly you take them. Not only will speeding up your walks improve your cardiovascular endurance, but it will burn more calories as well. If walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes straight is a struggle, add intervals into your routine.

Start by walking at a normal speed for a minute (or for one block), then pick up the pace for the next minute/block. Make sure to keep track of progress and adjust your routine as your endurance improves. If your walks start to feel easy, then it’s time to pick up the pace or change up your intervals. It can be as simple as going at a brisk pace for 2-3 minutes and then recovering for 1 minute. 

3. Add An Incline (Or Hills)

Walking around your neighborhood or favorite track may be nice and convenient, but it’s easy to fall into a rut after a while. Your body gets comfortable with the familiar terrain and it stops being challenging, which means you stop seeing results.

So, the best way to avoid hitting a plateau is to add some hills- literally! Pick a route with some elevation, like small hills or that has a gradual incline. You’ll engage your leg muscles way more while walking on an angle than you would on level ground. The incline will give your quads, hamstrings, and glutes an intense workout, all while increasing your heart rate.

4. Use Some Weights

Just like lifting weights in the gym, using weights during your walks can be extremely helpful in toning and building muscle. Ankle weights will make your lower body work harder while you do your regular walking routine. You can even add hand or wrist weights into the mix to make it a full-body workout.

If you don’t have hand weights, get creative. Try walking with two 10-ounce water bottles and aim to drink both of them by the end of your walk. As with anything, start small with lighter weights and work your way up to heavier weights as it becomes less challenging.

5. Increase Your Distance

It’s not surprising that the key to making progress during any type of workout is by adjusting the intensity. Luckily, walking is no exception. After you’re able to comfortably go the same distance for a few weeks, challenge yourself by gradually increasing how far you walk.

Some people find that distracting themselves with a podcast or audiobook makes the extra distance easier to handle. Walking with a buddy is also a great way to stay motivated to go that extra mile (or two). Click here to learn about creating realistic fitness goals that you’ll actually enjoy.

In Conclusion

Whether you stroll through the neighborhood or inside on the treadmill, walking is an excellent way to get moving. Use these tips to step up your walking routine so you can feel your best just in time for summer!

About The Author

Jaime Curl

I've explored various fields within physical therapy including acute care and oncology at Troy Beaumont Hospital and outpatient physical therapy. As the office administrator and marketer, I'm able to combine my love for health and exercise science with my interest in marketing and numbers skills. My hobbies include spending time with friends and family, baking, crafting, and watching my favorite movies or tv shows.

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