Love to walk? Here are four things you can do to increase the challenge
Is walking your exercise? Power-up your strides with these hike-boosting tips and strut your way to optimum fitness
Walking has long-been one of our favourite forms of exercise. It’s simple, accessible and replete with benefits. That being said, it’s not necessarily the fastest way to get fit - unless you use a little imagination, that is.
With these four, innovative ideas and exercises, you can supercharge your walks and boost your way to better health. Ready to strut your stuff?
1. Make like lightning with speed interval walking
Make your strolls more effective by adding ‘intervals’ - periods in which you intensify your pace by lengthening your stride and walking faster. When you get tired, walk at your regular speed until you have the energy for another interval. Continue fluctuating between these two states until you’ve finished your workout.
Doing this has a lot of perks. It gets your heart pumping, burns fat, makes your muscles work harder and, crucially, stops your body from ‘adjusting’ to one speed (ensuring that you’re always exerting yourself).
2. Go round and round in side shuffles
Whoever said ‘going around in circles’ was a bad thing had clearly never heard of side shuffling. This movement strengthens your calves, hips and quads all at once - and is super simple to do, too:
- Stand in a relaxed, upright position
- Step forwards with your right foot
- Step diagonally backwards and sideways, to your left, with your left foot
- Bring your right foot back to join your left, so that you’re standing straight
- Step forwards, again, with your left foot
- Return to the centre and repeat, using the opposite foot for each part of the sequence
Try to do this as quickly - and as many - times as you can for the best results.
3. Take to the stairs
Stairs have a bit of an underrated reputation when it comes to your health. According to Step Jockey, climbing eight flights a day lowers your average early mortality risk by a whopping 33% and can help to ward off weight gain, diseases and high blood pressure, too.
With so many advantages, incorporating them into your fitness routine is a no-brainer. Start with this easy exercise:
- Walk onto a step using your left foot first
- Descend with your left foot first
- Repeat with the opposite feet
Like before, try to do this as fast and frequently as you can to reap the best rewards.
4. Mix it up with lunges and squats
You won’t be getting anywhere fast with this lunge/squat/walk hybrid (and will probably get odd looks doing it in the street, too), but you will be giving your core and leg muscles a powerful workout. These are the steps:
- Begin with a lunge. With your hands on your hips, step forward using your right leg
- Keeping your back straight, bend both knees until your left is a couple of inches from the floor, and your right is at a 90 degree angle
- Push yourself back up, bringing your left foot next to your right (so that, essentially, you’ve taken a step)
- Now, to perform a squat. With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your hips and knees, keeping your feet flat, abs tight and back straight
- Return to a standing position
- Lunge again (see steps 1-4) using the opposite feet
Do you have any walking exercises that you swear by? Be sure to let us know over at our Holmes Place Facebook page.