Five Ways to Kick up the Walking This Summer
By Fitness Blogger and Personal Trainer, Beth Davis, CPT
I think walking is one of the easiest, most accessible and most overlooked form of exercise. Why do people think they have to go straight to the ‘hot yoga pilate cardio kick advanced class’? You can burn tons of calories without tons of preparation or equipment! That being said, I have a few tips and kicking up the intensity of that workout and making the most of your time:
Walk this way!
It sounds crazy, but there is some technique to walking properly. Be sure to step out, for example, with the right foot and strike the ground with the right heel. Roll to the ball of your right foot as your toes on the left foot propel you forward. Don’t forget to pump your arms!
Time is on my side!
Don’t have an hour? Don’t worry! You can make the most of 10 minutes in the morning or at a lunch hour and torch some calories. You will want to try to shoot for 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity a week or about 30 minutes a day. If you are pressed for time, consider doing three 10 minute walks at a faster tempo and do an hour long walk twice a week. Break it up however it works!
HIIT me with your best shot!
A great way to burn more calories and improve your cardiovascular endurance is to do high intensity interval training or HIIT. HIIT requires 30 second intervals of maximum effort that will increase your natural human growth hormone, testosterone and lactic acid to make you a fat burning machine that lasts long after the HIIT session. Depending on your fitness level, getting to the intensity required for the interval, that may mean increasing your pace and pumping your arms up a hill or increasing the incline on a treadmill. If you are on a treadmill going up an incline, don’t make the mistake of grabbing on to the rails and leaning back. If you do that, stop it! Do you ever see people walking up a hill leaning backwards? Instead, lean into the hill and pump your arms!
To get your HIIT session started, begin walking at a moderate pace (about 3 miles an hour on a treadmill) for 5 minutes. Next, add 30 second ‘sprints’ by kicking up your pace walking double time and pumping your arms. You should be breathing heavier through your mouth and feel like you are just about to a slow jog. Return to the moderate pace for a minute. Repeat the cycle 6 times before you return to a moderate pace for 6 minutes to cool down. Increase the number of intervals as your endurance increases.
Run to the hills!
Another way to add some intensity to your walking is to plan it so you reach a hill or staircase at some point in your walk. Just like with the HIIT technique, you can use those hills or stairs for your sprints. Start with 2 to 3 laps up and down before returning home. Each workout you can increase the intensity by adding a few more hills. If you can’t find hills, add 10 high knee raises, skips or lunges depending on your ability. The intermittent increase in difficulty will increase the heart rate and burn more calories.
Start Slow and avoid injury.
Remember to increase your time each week until you can get to about 150 minutes a week. Be aware of any aches and pains you may develop. Dr. Jessica Ellis, sports medicine physician with ORA Orthopedics has some tips on what to watch out for if you experience pain with activity.
So now that warmer weather is here, don’t stress about making it to the next exercise class. Sneak in a calorie burning session over your lunch hour or after dinner. Be sure to drink water an hour before activity and rehydrate when you are finished and add some tunes that keep you moving . My tips should have you thinking of Aerosmith, Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar or even some Iron Maiden to help you pick up the pace!