If you have never worked out before and you want to start living a healthier life, walk. If you are trying to lose a significant amount of weight, this may sound ridiculous. But, walking is a great first step in any fitness journey.
There have been countless studies showing that the amount of steps you take a day can directly correlate to your risk for certain illnesses. This study done in Japan proved 10,000 steps was the ideal number. Then this study published in the International Journal of Obesity stated 15,000 steps are better.
I stand on the side of more is always better. If you currently walk 2,000 steps a day, doing an additional hundred could improve your lifestyle. Gradually increase the amount of steps you take a day until you hit 5 digits and you will see great improvement in your health.
Eventually you want to reach a minimum of 10,000 steps a day outside of your workout routine.
Today we are talking about turning a casual walk into a workout. Walking doesn’t have to be boring and it certainly shouldn’t feel easy if you want it to be effective exercise strategy. Below are my six tips on how to make your walk more challenging!
Add light dumbbells
Walking is great for your legs and core. If your arms feel left out, try holding light dumbbells (1-5lbs) during your walk. As you pump your arms you will start to feel your shoulders and biceps a lot.
Incorporate other exercises
Adults should work up to doing resistance training a minimum of three days a week. A good way to ease into this is by adding body weight exercises to your walk. You can make it a game by doing squats whenever you see a trashcan or doing walking lunges between trees.
Seek out hills and stairs
It goes without saying it is more intense to walk up a hill or scale some stairs. If you are ready for a challenge take your walk to the mountains and opt to take the stairs whenever the option is there.
Change up the pace
Adding “sprints” to your walk will challenge your cardiovascular system much more. Try alternating between a slow pace, a moderate pace and full on mall-walking sprint. I have created several cardio workouts like this for the MFit Membership.
Walking backwards is something I have been doing on my hikes for years and years. Strutting in reverse will engage the muscles on the backside of your leg more. So, turn around to improve strength in your calves, hamstrings and butt.
Lift your arms
Anytime you raise your arms above your head, your core engages. It may look silly, but lifting your arms as you walk around the park will boost your heart rate and improve your core strength.