Of all the possible ways, walking is arguably the easiest, safest, and effective exercise for good health and fitness. Walking does not require a gym, and it’s easy, cheap, and exceedingly kind to the body. It is also an enjoyable and stress-relieving activity as you can do it with a partner. Apart from this, regular walks reduce the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other health benefits like good bone and muscle health.
If you love walking and are looking to make it more intense to burn more calories, or tone muscles, try the following suggestions on how to make your daily walks more effective.
Ramp Up The Pace
If you’re aiming to intensify your regular walk, the easiest way is to start walking faster. The average walking speed is 2-3 mph which is about 20 minutes a mile. If you want to burn more calories, you should walk 4 mph, which would be 15 minutes for a mile. To keep a consistent speed, you can also download a fitness app and track your walk.
Get Your Arms Swinging
You must have seen that classic arm swings on speed walkers. There’s a reason they do it – vigorous arm pumping allows for a speedier pace and is a great upper body workout. To make your walk effective, you can bend your arms at 90 degrees and pump them from the shoulders. Now move your arms opposite your legs, which means that as you step forward with your left leg, swing your right arm forward. Keep your wrists straight, your elbows close to your sides, and your hands unclenched.
Start Walking On An Incline
Walking on an incline burns more calories than walking on a flat surface. It also works your glutes, calves, and legs differently, which builds and tones your muscles more effectively. If you’re not used to walking on an incline, start walking uphill and then come back downhill. It won’t put excess strain on your body, and another perk – you won’t get bored of your usual walk. Walking up and down hills is another way to automatically build intervals into your walk because the intensity changes with elevation.
Get A Pedometer
To make your walk more challenging, you can get a pedometer. Set a goal for yourself; for instance, start with 3,000 steps and increase it to 5,000 steps. This way, you’ll stay motivated to walk more and can achieve your goal more efficiently.
Use Hand Weights But With The Utmost Caution
Many people use hand weights to increase the intensity of their daily walk. You can also try the same but make sure you take safety measures very carefully. If not handled carefully, these weights can make your arm swing wonky and lead to soreness or injury. If you really want to try weights, start with one pound weight and increase it gradually. Also, never use weights heavier than 10 percent of your total body weight. Avoid ankle weights as they can lead to injury.
Switch Pace After An Interval
Runners know the trick of changing paces during an interval training run. It can be equally effective for walkers. You can try quickening the pace for a minute or two and then slowing it down, or you can walk a mile at a fast pace and then two miles at a slower pace. You can also try surfaces, for that matter. Walking on a track is easy and gentle, while walking on grass or gravel will burn more calories. Moreover, walking on soft sand increase calorie expenditure by 50 percent.
Add A Little Jog
There’s nothing wrong with walking if running isn’t your thing but have you ever considered a little jog during your walk? If it’s been some time since you’ve started walking, there should be no problem with jogging. Incorporate some jogs into your walks 3 or 4 days a week to help your body get used to it. You can set a goal for a speed of 4 to 5 mph. Adding even 5 minutes of a jog to your regular walk will increase the workout’s intensity and burn more calories.
Keep Your Chin Up
Maintaining a posture while walking is also very crucial. Look at 10 to 20 feet in front of you instead of looking down at the ground. Don’t hunch over; stand tall and lift your chest while walking.
Unlike other forms of working out, walking is not about equipment, clothes, and pain. You don’t require a gym, no need to spend any money, and walking is extremely kind to the body. Whether you love walking or do it due to certain conditions, it’s a great form of exercise. You can always modify it to achieve higher goals. These expert tips will help you to add intensity to your daily walks and build and tone muscles. Make sure you start with attainable goals and be gentle to your body.