Even if you’re a beginner in physical fitness, walking is a natural way to get your body in shape. A brisk step involves your feet, legs, arms, and core. Creating a walking workout is simple, and you can start anytime you like.
Another reason why walking is an ideal exercise is that you can incorporate it into your life’s daily activities. Who would have thought that you can get a good workout while walking and shopping in your local mall? You can also do a lot of walking when you’re playing with the kids in the park.
Instead of hanging around the water cooler and vending machines on lunch break, you can enjoy a quick stroll outside around the block. No matter where you spend your day, you can find a suitable place to take a walk.
Ten Useful Tips for Making the Most of Your Walking Workout
Are you ready to take a step toward a fit and healthier body? It’s a routine you can do alone or with family and friends. Here are ten tips that can take your workout to a higher level.
One of the many advantages of walking for a workout is that you don’t need any equipment. You also don’t have to pay for an expensive gym membership or a personal trainer. If your feet and legs are healthy and you have a pleasant venue for walking, it’s a viable option for exercise.
However, you’ll get more out of your workout if you are dressed comfortably. Wear season-appropriate clothes and invest in a durable pair of walking shoes. If your feet are in pain, it’s challenging to have a successful workout. Find a quality pair of shoes that fits you comfortably with each step.
Clothing that is light and breathable helps you concentrate more on your workout and less on being hot and itchy. You may consider sportswear or some loose cotton material. If you’re at work, you can at least change into your walking shoes at lunch break.
2. Start with a Warmup Session
According to Kerry Ludlam’s article published for the Arthritis Foundation, warmups are essential before a walking workout. Ludlam states that warming up and cooling down with stretches reduce your chances of soreness and injury. Just a few minutes before and after can make the difference.
The article suggests simple stretches as an excellent way to get started. Gently stretch your legs, feet, hips, and shoulders to work out any kinks in your muscles or joints. You can also briefly run or jog in place to rev up your system.
After you’ve completed your walk for the day, consider doing more stretches for a cooldown. Take deep breaths and allow your muscles to stretch. When you do these warmup and cooldown sessions, you’re less likely to feel achy later in the day.
3. Practice the Right Form and Posture
Of course, you shouldn’t be rigid when you’re doing a walking workout. However, good posture, form, and smooth movements will make your training more efficient and less stressful. Once you get into the habit of practicing a correct posture, it will become second nature.
Stand in a comfortable position with your spine as straight as possible and avoid slumping as you walk. Keep your shoulders lowered and in line with your hips. As you tighten your core and maintain a neutral hip position, look forward and keep your chin up.
Take purposeful steps without pounding your feet on the pavement. Your arms will naturally swing back and forth at your sides as you go. Try your best to maintain a constant stride and lean forward a bit if you are traveling on an incline.
4. Pick Up the Pace a Bit
Although you want to maintain a smooth and regular stride while walking, varying your speed can benefit. A slow-paced stroll isn’t going to work your cardio system as a power walk does. Your best practice is to increase your speed at different intervals during the trip.
First, give yourself some time to warm up with a regular stride. After a few minutes, increase your steps to a power walk until you can feel your heart and lungs reacting. Remember that you’re not running or jogging. Just take quick and easy paces.
Slow your pace down again toward the end of your walking route. Continue mindfully breathing as you return to an average stride. It may be helpful to divide your walking time into thirds and vary your pace accordingly.
5. You’ve Got the Beat
Walking can be boring on sidewalks unless you travel through a lovely city park or a lush forest. Don’t let boring scenery stop you from getting your daily walks. Let your smartphone or other mobile device inspire you to keep your body moving.
Why not get your groove on with some of your favorite music? It can be anything upbeat that will put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. Are you an avid reader and don’t get enough time to cozy up with a book? Download an electronic book by your favorite author and listen as you walk.
If you complete your walking workout around a running track or sidewalks, chances are the terrain will be uniformly flat. It may be the best for you initially or if you have problems with your feet or legs. However, adding a slight incline to your routine can offer you more challenges to build muscle strength.
You’re bound to encounter a few small hills or inclines in the forest or a park. As you are power walking up a mountain, your body fights gravity resistance. It trains your muscles and joints to work a little harder and build strength and limberness. You needn’t turn your walk into a mountain hike to receive the benefits of uphill walking.
Another excellent way to add instant incline to your routine is to use stairs. Most pathways and sidewalks around buildings have stairs somewhere. You can trek up to a higher level during your workout, or you can go up and down a small flight.
7. Do a Happy Dance
Since you want to be more physically fit, why not do a few other fun exercises during your walking workouts? Not only can it break the monotony of walking, but it may boost your cardio benefits. It may feel a bit strange if you’re walking in public, but at least you’re getting healthy while having fun.
Consider doing a few jumping jacks during your walk. Even better, you can break out into a dance while listening to some groovy music. The idea is to get your pulse and breathing rate up to burn more calories while walking.
8. Bring in Some Weights
It’s best to start simple in a walking workout. Your goal is to acclimate your body to moving more and boosting your metabolism. When walking becomes routine, then you may consider challenging your body a bit more.
Wrist and ankle weights are ideal for providing the resistance your workout needs. Walking with these wearable weights can increase your heart and respiration rate. Try weights that are between one and three pounds for more resistance.
You might also consider the benefits of wearing a weighted vest, says an article published by American Bone Health. Some perks you might see are improved balance, more leg strength, and possible stability in your bone density. The report states that most people walk and do other exercises with a vest that equals about four to ten percent of their body weight.
9. Keep Your Body Hydrated
Even if you walk around a track in an air-conditioned gym, you’re going to sweat if you put enough effort into your stride. Sweat is your body’s natural way of staying calm, and it uses the water reserves in your body.
Be safe and get the most out of your walking and stay hydrated. Carry a bottle of cold water with you to sip as needed. After your walk, you may need to drink some more water to replenish your fluid levels.
10. Increase Your Walking Time
Your goals for a walking workout are the same as other fitness routines. Once you’re accustomed to a certain level, it’s time to bring it up a notch. The more you challenge your body, the more benefits you can reap.
For example, maybe you start your walking routine at fifteen minutes. When that level becomes easy for you, try boosting your time to 30 minutes. Gradual increases are the best way to get your body into the habit of working out and burning more fat.
Walking is a fun way to get your body moving and strengthen your muscles and joints. You can do it practically anywhere, and you don’t need any special equipment. When you keep these tips in mind, you can get the best out of your walking workout.