5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Walking Routine

Among the many ways to get and stay fit, walking has to be one of the easiest.  Not only can walking be done nearly anywhere, but it is safe for beginners and older fitness advocates.  Additionally, walking is an economical exercise option – requiring no more than a good pair of shoes.

Fitness experts agree that walking at a pace of about 3 to 3.5 miles per hour is equivalent to a moderate run.  An individual’s fitness level can be dramatically increased by taking a brisk 30-45 minute walk daily.  However, that isn’t a hard and fast rule.  A walking routine can be very flexible.  The same effects can be obtained by walking 30 minutes every day or an hour every other day. Here are five ways to get the most out of your walking routine:

  • Pump your arms.

Walking, in and of itself, is a whole-body exercise.  However, when you add a deliberate pumping action to your arms, you automatically boost your upper body workout as well as your heart rate.  As a bonus, the pumping action naturally causes an increase in the speed of walking.  This pumping action can increase your calorie burn by roughly 5%.

  • Track your steps.

Walking leads to all kinds of health benefits such as increased heart health, weight loss, and firmed and toned muscles.  However, to get serious about maximizing those benefits you will want to track your progress and possibly work on increasing the distance you walk, depending on your fitness goals.  To accomplish this you will need to start tracking your steps.  The good news is that there are many free phone apps available for download that will help you accurately track how far you walk each day.  Experts agree that a good goal for walking is a combined total of 10,000 steps per day.

  • Vary your pace.

Peak performance runners know the cardio advantages of adding intervals to a workout.  It turns out that similar results can be had by walkers.  Simply increasing the pace of walking for an interval of time has extraordinary effects on an individual’s fitness level.  An example of varying the pace in a walking routine is to walk at a normal pace for five minutes, at an increased pace for one minute.  Repeat this throughout the entire workout.  As your fitness level increases, you can increase your fast-paced intervals.

  • Head for the hills.

Uphill walking is great for increasing metabolism and raising your heart rate.  But it is also good for building strength and muscle tone.  When you walk up and down hilly terrain you activate the hamstrings, glute muscles, and quad muscles.

  • Get the right shoes.

Although most people already have shoes that they consider to be comfortable to walk in, it may pay to invest in a good pair of shoes that are made specifically for walking.  Ideally, if you are going to make walking an everyday routine, your shoes should be flat, lightweight, and flexible.

Hands down, walking is one of the best exercises for reducing health risks.  Best of all, it doesn’t require expensive equipment or any special skill.  Use these tips to improve your walking routine and improve your health today.