Walk This Way

What if there was an exercise that didn’t really feel like exercise, but still provided enormous benefits? Well, there is.

Here’s an article about walking. Exciting, eh? We know. We know. You’ve been doing it for years without much problem. You don’t need lessons or advice. Or maybe, actually, you do. The truth is, you could be using your walking to much greater effect. It could make you healthier and stronger, and provide an easy, happy way to reduce stress.

“Walking is such a great activity because it’s free, it’s joint-friendly, and it’s fun,” says Amy Dixon, a Santa Monica, California–based certified fitness trainer who also serves as Reebok’s global walking expert. “When you walk, you’re also exploring your city or town, taking in the great outdoors, and maybe even connecting with others if you walk with a friend.”

Exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise—count us in. Plus, you can easily tailor a walking program to help you achieve specific health goals, says Dixon. That’s true whether you’re trying to lose a few pounds or simply to gain enough energy to keep up with your busy schedule or active kids.

Ideally, aim to walk at least 30 minutes, five days a week. But if you’re new to exercise, or are dusting off a routine that’s been on the shelf for many months, you’re smart to start slowly. Try walking for 15 to 30 minutes three times a week. After two weeks, gradually add a day each week until you’re walking for at least five days.

At that point, you’re ready for a more dynamic walking plan. So that you’re constantly challenging your body and not letting your mind get bored, we asked Dixon to design three 30-minute walks for you to try. She recommends doing the Endurance walk two times a week, filling the other three days with the Cross-training and Interval walks (one week do the Interval walk twice, the next do two Cross-training walks).

Walk 1: Endurance

This workout will build your lung power and improve your energy. Use the Intensity Key to gauge your efforts.

3 minutes        Warm up

27 minutes      Moderate walk

3 minutes        Cool down

Walk 2: Cross-training

Get ready to get strong with the addition of body-resistance moves. Use the Intensity Key to gauge your efforts.

2 minutes        Warm up

3 minutes        Moderate walk

2 minutes        Walking lunges (To do: Stand with feet together; step right foot two or three feet forward and lower body toward ground, until right thigh is almost parallel with ground, keeping knees aligned over ankles. Repeat, this time stepping left foot forward and lowering. Continue alternating.)

13 minutes      Moderate walk

2 minutes        Side squat step-togethers (To do: Turn body so right shoulder is heading in the direction you’re going. Step out a foot or two with right leg and lower body until thighs are almost parallel with ground, keeping knees aligned with ankles, chest lifted and core contracted. As you press up to stand, step left leg next to right; repeat. After one minute, turn body so left leg is leading and repeat.)

4 minutes        Moderate walk

2 minutes        Side squat step-togethers

4 minutes        Moderate walk

2 minutes        Walking lunges

2 minutes        Moderate walk

2 minutes        Cool down

Walk #3:  Intervals

The goal of this workout is to boost your cardiovascular fitness with short bursts of high-intensity walking mixed with recovery periods. Check the Intensity Key to know how fast to push yourself.

3 minutes        Warm up

5 minutes        Moderate walk

5 minutes        Power walk

2 minutes        Take-my-breath-away power walk

1 minute          Recovery walk

5 minutes        Moderate walk

5 minutes        Power walk

2 minutes        Take-my-breath-away power walk

2 minutes        Cool down

Intensity Key

Warm up and cool down: Pace should be easy enough that you have no problem talking.

Moderate walk: Although you can still carry on a conversation, you’re talking in shorter sentences.

Power walk: Pace should be comfortable but challenging; you can talk in only short sentences.

Take-my-breath-away power walk: Pace should be so fast that you almost feel like jogging; carrying a conversation should be difficult.

You might
also like

New Mindful Challenges Have Arrived!

Find fun, interactive ways to live healthier, reach your goals and feel your best.

Go now

We’re Social