Walking is not for the weak! Here are three ways to take a walking exercise to the next level! These options are designed to amp up the intensity of any walking regimen. Walking is the first step to getting off the couch and getting into exercise again. It is not intimidating and it does not require extra equipment unless walkers want to add free weights. Walking should be done like all other cardio-using intensity intervals.
Here is how intensity interval training can be applied to walking. Find a hilly area in the neighborhood and walk with an even stride, putting the weight on the heels to toes while keeping steps springy. The hill provides resistance and will cause the leg and butt muscles to tone. When walking downhill or flat, increase the pace to as fast as possible, pumping the arms and keeping each stride long. This causes the heart rate to rise and puts good stress on the heart which allows more oxygen to be supplied to the body.
Another way to make outdoor walking more fun and intense is by walking with 3-5 lb. dumbbells or ankleweights. Pump arms and stop every 5 minutes to do an upper body exercise. Walkers can do overhead presses for shoulders, bicep curls for biceps or tricep extensions for triceps. Perform 20-30 repetitions, then return to a fast walk to elevate the heart rate again.
If using a gym treadmill, raise the ramp as high as it will go. Walk uphill at a medium pace at a rate of 3.2-3.5 miles per hour. Do this for 2-5 minutes then lower the ramp and walk as fast as possible at a rate of 4.0-4.5. Do this for 2-5 minutes switching back and forth for 20-30 minutes.
Get your walk on, to get your weight off!!