3 ways to turn your walk into a workout

Who said that going for a walk can't be an opportunity to workout? Here’s how to turn your walk into a fitness routine.

Recently, walking has become a regular part of many people’s fitness routine, a form of fitness that won’t ever be taken from us is walking! Not only can it improve fitness, boost our heart health, and offer a kinder workout on our joints than running, but the big bonus to walking is that it’s totally free!

If you’re not a walker already, here’s why you need to introduce this simple exercise to your day-to-day life. And, if you are a walker, there are several ways you can turn a leisurely walk into a sweaty workout.

The benefits of walking

As humans, we were made to walk. Unlike running, a lot less pressure is placed on our joints when we walk. When we run, our knees, hips and ankles are pounding the pavement, yet when we walk, the impact is far less, helping to reduce our chance of injury.

Walking can also help improve our fitness levels, and can boost our heart health as it improves circulation and lessens our chances of high blood pressure. Plus, going for a walk increases the amount of oxygen that flows around our body, helping to boost energy. Who needs coffee when you can go for a walk instead?

Then there’s the mind benefits of walking. A study by California State University actually showed that the more steps people took each day, the happier they were. So if you’re having a dull day, getting outside for a walk could be one of the best things to do! You might just think of walking as a way to get from A to B or perhaps it’s something you enjoy doing with friends. Whilst both of these are great, you can ramp up the intensity of your walk, and subsequently burn more calories, with some easy tweaks. Added to this, walking also helps strengthen your lower body, especially if you add in an incline.
  1. Add an incline

If you can find a hilly walking route, you’re guaranteed a tougher workout, as a level of incline adds a greater resistance to your walk. Forcing your legs to work a little harder helps strengthen your muscles, and increases your heart rate, in turn burning more calories. Try walking up a hill at speed and then walking back down again. Do this five times and aim to get quicker each time.

The downhill walk might seem easier, but this too provides benefits as it forces you to engage your core to stay upright, as well as working your calf muscles in the lower legs.
  1. Use some weights

Ankle weights and/or wrist weights are simple additions which much like an incline, force your muscles to work harder, burning more calories and increasing the intensity! If you opt for wrist weights, be sure to swing arms backwards and forwards as you walk, to ensure your arm muscles are working. Walking at speed with ankle weights also helps strengthen your hamstrings, quads and calves, as well as the glutes; the largest muscle in your body.

  1. Pause for a bodyweight workout

Make your walk even more interesting by stopping every 10 minutes for a three minute bodyweight circuit. This doesn’t need to be super intense, and could consist of three different exercises, each done for one minute. Try mixing up bodyweight squats, step ups on a bench, press ups on a bench, forward and reverse lunges and tricep dips on a bench. Once the three minutes are up, go back to your walk. Essentially, a 30 minute walk can help work every muscle in your body.

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