7 Easy Ways To Intensify Your Walking Workout for Better Results
Let's get real: Walking is your main jam. Whether you regularly carve out time to hit the trails, go for a brisk walk around the block each day, or take your Zoom meetings from a walking pad treadmill, it's safe to say you're not stopping your stride anytime soon. And when it comes to taking this healthy walking habit to the next level, we have some good news to share. We spoke with Paizley Longino, coach for STRIDE Fitness in Lubbock, TX, who reveals seven easy ways to intensify your walking workout for even better results.
Revving up a routine you're used to can be intimidating. But spring has almost sprung, and there's no better time to rise to the challenge. Having a solid plan on deck can turn your new and improved routine into a key part of your lifestyle.
"It won't always be easy, but it can be simple if you just plan ahead, throw out new ideas to keep it fresh, and stay consistent. Just remember any step forward—even a slower-paced one—is one in a positive direction and is closer to progress," stresses Longino.
One common misconception people have about walking is that opting for a slower pace rather than running means walking is the "easy" choice. "Don't be fooled by the language of the walker mentality," Longino explains. The below tips will enhance your stride and "make walking the gateway to your new fitness journey!"
So lace up those sneakers, and get ready to give your walking workout a major boost. Keep reading for Longino's pro tips, and next, don't miss Does the Incline Walking Workout Help You Lose More Weight? An Expert Weighs In.
1. Be mindful of your form.
Longino stresses how important maintaining proper form is when your goal is to intensify your walking workout.
"Although it seems obvious, don't underestimate that full-body experience! Focusing on form when it comes to walking can elevate that 'easy' walk every day to a power movement," Longino explains.
Engage your entire body as you take every step while making sure you move your arms during the workout as well. Bring your elbows back, and bump up your heart rate to bring your walk results to the next level.
2. Use the weather to your benefit.
A little resistance can go a long way when it comes to body movement.
Longino points out, "If you live in a particularly windy area—hello Lubbock, TX!—you know that nothing beats nature's pushback to power up that walk. Wear those sunglasses to keep your eyes protected, but pushing against the wind will be just like turning plain old lemons into lemonade!"
3. Take advantage of hills.
Hilly areas or trails are golden, as inclines offer many additional benefits compared to walking on flat ground.
Climbing hills will engage your entire body and boost your flexibility. Inclines will also help stretch your muscles, providing a similar benefit to jogging or running, without the quicker speed. Be mindful of maintaining good posture to avoid adding pressure to your lower back.
Longino suggests, "When engaging your core in a steeper incline, a good cue to use for yourself is to brace your tummy as if you were going to be bopped by a pillow in your stomach—nothing too intense but you don't wanna fall over!"
4. Step it up—literally.
No hills? No problem! Stairs are another excellent addition to your walking workout. There are usually handrails you can use for balance or extra safety, if necessary. It's always a great idea to include as many steps as possible located along your route for added goodness.
5. Add some weights.
Whether you strap on a set of ankle weights, carry lightweight dumbbells, or wear a rucksack during your walk, carrying some extra pounds is an easy way to build strength along your path.
Get creative if you don't have weights on hand. Grab a few rocks or books and throw them in your backpack. Longino adds, "Not only will this increase that heart rate, but when you walk without them, you may find it easier to hit those distance goals!"
6. Work some rhythm into your steps.
Something as simple as cranking up the tunes will be so helpful in keeping your stride fun. Plus, it will pass the time pretty quickly! Create a playlist you love, and it will motivate you to get moving.
Longino shares, "Don't underestimate the power of music—let the beat move you!"
7. Buddy it up.
If you want to make these changes to your routine more fun and less of a struggle, recruit a friend or partner to be your walking buddy! Not only will it be some solid catch-up time, but you will also hold each other accountable to stay on track.
Longino recommends, "Choose someone you know will be reliable and may even enjoy the same kind of walks you do (hilly areas, long distance, etc.) since those common interests will motivate both of you to be more excited about your new regime. You won't want to let each other down, so you will be more likely to knock out that walk every time!"