Walking is the best exercise there is for keeping us healthy. Here are three simple ways to make the most of your daily walks, have more fun, and build your overall fitness at the same time.
Mind your posture and pump your arms!
No slouchy walking allowed! Imagine you’re zipping up a snug jacket and you have to stand up tall. As you walk, your gaze should be 6-8 feet in front of you, not on your shoes. Now bend your arms about 90 degrees and pump them forward and back. You might just feel this in your mid-back muscles – that’s good!
Fun fact: Did you know that your walking pace is influenced by your rate of arm swing? Pump your arms faster and your legs will follow. It’s true! I hike faster with hiking poles than I do with my arms crossed or in my pockets…it’s all in the pump. Give it a try!
Mix up your walk pace
Runners have a name for this type of training: fartleks, the Swedish word for speed play. Aside from being fun to say, it’s fun to do, and a very effective way to build cardiovascular fitness and stamina.
Pick a destination you can see – the top of a hill, a street corner, or a signpost – and pick up the pace til you get there. Then pick a new destination and decide to head there faster or slower. You make it up as you go for as long as you want to be walking. No apps or timer required 🙂
Make it more than a walk
When I taught an outdoor walking fitness class we used the environment around us to make it a whole body workout. We added in:
*Fitness moves like bench squats and pushups, step-ups on a curb,
*Lunging up a very small hill and squat-stepping back down,
*Fancy footwork like side-steps, shuttle “runs”, high and low skipping, grapevines, butt kicks to work all the leg muscles, and, last but not least…
So many people I encounter are focused on the (somewhat) arbitrary goal of 10,000 steps a day, and then wonder how they’re supposed to get a strength workout in as well. Well, consider this:
** If your workouts aren’t fun, you won’t do them.
** If your walks aren’t enjoyable, you won’t do them.
There is no such thing as a perfect workout or distance…if you won’t do it.
So put it all together and MAKE IT FUN in whatever amount of time you have.
Remember, the more you try, the more you’ll realize you can do – and that’s true for all levels of fitness.
Whatever level of fitness you’re at, I am here to help. If you’re afraid of hurting yourself, or coming back from injury, or just feeling the aches and creaks that come with midlife, our work together will help you feel younger, stronger, and more confident. Click here to apply for a spot today.