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How to Take Your Walking Up a Notch!

One of the most popular forms of exercise is walking. It’s easy, convenient, and no equipment is required. Walking helps to improve cardiovascular health through improving the circulation in your body, improves your breathing, and can help to lower blood pressure and improve heart and brain health. It’s good mobility for your joints and muscles plus it is great for mental health.

To ensure the best safety for your body during your workout, be sure to wear supportive shoes, wear clothing and lighting that keeps you visible, especially in the dark, and perform a good full body warmup. For a good full body warmup, check out this video: 

If you are a regular walker and want to take your walking workouts up a notch, try these tips!

Ways to Increase Your Challenge

As humans, we are creatures of habit, it’s all too easy to fall into the pattern of taking the exact same route, pace, and length of walk each time. To get more out of your workout for your muscles, joints, and cardiovascular system, vary your route. Try a new path. This helps to keep your walking fun and interesting!

Check out the sights and sounds on your new path and add some hills or stairs for more challenges for your body. Vary your pace by adding some new up-tempo songs to your playlist. 

To continue to challenge your body, burn calories, build muscle and bone density, you need to vary your workouts, including your walking. Varying your path and adding hills or stairs is one way to do this. You could also add intervals to your walking.

To do this, start with walking at a regular pace for 5 minutes for a good warm up, then add 10-30 seconds of faster paced walking, hills, or body weight strengthening exercises, then resume walking at a regular pace for another 5 minutes and repeat.

You can add just a few intervals to start and progress the length of intervals as well as how many intervals you do as your body gets accustomed to the challenge. 

Adding strength training to your walking – as intervals, or in addition, to your walking workouts – will help build your endurance, stability and strength in your joints and muscles to prevent injury and keep you walking longer and farther.

Another way to challenge yourself with your workouts is to use a weighted vest. If you are walking the same amount, intensity, and pace each session, your body will get used to the challenge. You won’t see the benefits of building bone density, burning as many calories, or building strength in your muscles.

Weighted vests come in various weights and some are adjustable so you can add more weight as you progress. Weighted vests are better than hand or ankle weights because they keep the weight close to your center of gravity which puts less strain on your joints but gives a nice challenge for your body. 

Staying Motivated 

Staying motivated and keeping up with your walking is the best way to take your walking up a notch. I can’t count the number of people who reach out to me for fitness training who, when questioned about their current workout routine, say they walk regularly but once we dig deeper into their schedule, it’s more like “when it’s not raining or cold and when my schedule isn’t too busy.”

Keeping up with your walking routine can ensure your body continues to progress and see the benefits. 

To stay motivated with your walking, try to only allow yourself to listen to your favorite podcast or playlist of songs while you walk to make it something you look forward to and don’t want to miss.

Ask a friend or family member to join you for walks as an accountability buddy and enjoy chatting as you walk. You might just find you go farther with a buddy.

If you are part of a committee or group, try turning a meeting into a walking meeting. Another idea is to sign up for a race to give you motivation to improve your endurance and give you a goal. Or join a step challenge.

And don’t let the weather derail you from enjoying a walk, invest in some clothing to keep you warm and dry in all temperatures. You may even take in some new sights in different weather. Or try this 10-minute indoor walking routine: 

There are so many ways to take your walking up a notch to get more from your workouts and to stay motivated. Join me and my team in our upcoming Free 7 Day Step Challenge here:

Do you like to walk? How often do you do it? What do you think about increasing your walking challenge? In what ways is this possible for you?

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The Author

Aubrey Reinmiller is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, and Functional Aging Specialist focused on helping those over 50 to reinvent aging! She offers online small group and private fitness solutions through Aubrey authored Reinvent Aging: The Over 50 Fitness Guide to Improve Energy, Strength and Balance.

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