If you’ve been walking for some time, you might want to find some ways to make these workouts a little more challenging. You can do this by adding different elements to not only break up the monotony of your walking routine, but also to boost your fitness. Here are 8 ways to take your walks to the next level.
Schedule a time to walk with someone.
Looking to hang out with a friend? Make a walking date! “Keeping accountable to someone increases your chances of adherence to your walking program,” explains David Chesworth, an ACSM-certified personal trainer and program director at Hilton Head Health. Consistency, he says, is more powerful than intensity in the long run. If adherence is your goal, find a way to stay accountable.
Switch up where you walk.
“This is a great and refreshing way to supercharge your walking workout while enjoying fresh air and surrounding scenery,” says Sean L. Ruff, a fitness and nutrition coach in San Jose, California. Walking in varying terrain, like areas with diverse paths and inclines, presents different demands on the body to adapt as you navigate your way through to the finish. Try finding some areas to walk that have gentle inclines or paths that require you to take some occasional twists and turns.
Go for a walk in the pool.
This, says Ruff, is a great total body exercise. “Water adds resistance that strengthens core, leg muscles and is low impact,” he explains. Start with water at about waist level. As you walk in the water, try keeping your torso upright and swinging your arms as naturally as they would walking on land. “The added resistance of the water may require a slightly more exaggerated arm swing to help you move forward, which is OK,” says Ruff.
Use wearable technology such as Apple Watch or FitBit.
“Gamifying your walking exercise or participating in challenges can add a fun new way to spice up your workout,” says Ruff. He notes that using wearable technology affords an exerciser the opportunity to track steps, the chance to try and beat previous performances and a way to compete against friends or motivate and encourage each other through the app.
Increase the pace.
“By boosting your walking pace or focusing on decreasing your route completion time, you will benefit your metabolic rate,” says Zelek. She explains that if you walk at a constant rate all the time, your body eventually won’t feel as much of a challenge, but walking at a brisker pace can often help with weight loss and improvinge the metabolic rate. “Try increasing the pace in small intervals at a time,” explains Zelek. Walk at a fast pace for one minute, go back to your regular pace for two minutes, then repeat this cycle for your entire walk. “A good music playlist filled with upbeat tunes can really help you pick up the pace and make your walk not only brisker, but fun,” Zelek says.
Get your arms involved.
“Walking is mostly a leg-focused workout and there isn’t a huge fitness gain for the core and upper body,” says Zelek. She suggests pulling your arms back as you walk and squeezing your shoulder blades back, simulating the way you would move on an elliptical machine. “This can help you focus not only on strengthening the legs, but now the upper body and core as well,” she says. “Because you will have the whole body involved with this style of walking, you will be burning more calories and challenging the cardiovascular system – and bonus, reinforcing your posture muscles in the upper body.”
Add some stretches, mobility and balance exercises.
“Doing some simple standing stretches ahead of your walk will help you loosen up and walk with a greater range of motion,” says James P. Owen, author of Just Move! A New Approach to Fitness After 50 and producer of the documentary film The Art of Aging Well. He suggests starting with a runner’s stretch for your hip flexors. “Reach for the sky, punch the air in front of you, and bend forward from the hips (keeping your legs straight),” he explains. “Don’t forget to include rotational movements, like twisting from your waist to look behind you.” Stretch again after your walk as a way to help ease any muscle tightness and avoid soreness. This, says Owen, can also be a good time to work on balance by seeing how long you can stand on one foot.
Pay attention to your breathing as you walk.
“Most of us breathe unconsciously, using only a share of our full lung capacity,” says Owen. But a walk, he says, is a great opportunity to focus on breathing more slowly and deeply, emptying the lungs completely before taking another breath. “Not only will this bring more oxygen into your body while expelling more carbon dioxide, it reinforces good posture and helps relax your whole body,” adds Owen.
The above content is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before beginning any exercise or fitness program or acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.
- Alzheimer's & Dementia
- Caregiver's Corner
- Health, Safety and Wellness
- Financial Well-Being
- Passion & Purpose
- The Journey to Senior Living
- Trending Now
- Socialization & Relationships
- Brookdale Solutions
- Brookdale Vision and Growth
- March 2023
- February 2023
- January 2023
- December 2022
- November 2022
- October 2022
- September 2022
- August 2022
- July 2022
- June 2022
- May 2022
- April 2022
Inside Brookdale Communities
See what’s happening on our community Instagram pages
Let us help find the right community for you!
for more information.
Mon - Fri: 7am - 9pm CST
Sat - Sun: 8:30am - 5:30pm CST
Senior Living Advisor