Fitness Friday – 5 Fun Ways to Get More From Your Walk

5 fun ways to get more from your walk title image

One of the highlights of my day is my evening walk with my dog. It’s my cherished “Me” time. I’m blessed to have a few hills right behind my house to escape to and cleanse my mind. It also gives me a fabulous workout that leads to a good night’s sleep.

The benefits of a daily walk have been shared by health care professionals for decades and can not be ignored. From stress relief to heart health to managing diabetes and staving off osteoporosis, walks are the most commonly prescribed form of exercise by health care practitioners across the globe.

And the best part is you don’t need special equipment or a special place to enjoy the benefits of a daily walk.

Make Your Walk  a HIIT

Interval training is a fun and simple way to boost your workout. You can implement this approach in any way you like, The key is to alternate between high intensity and low intensity intervals. You can change the pace and intensity of your walk, add a run, a handful of sprints, stairs, hills, jumping jacks, burpees, jumping rope… Anything that changes the rhythm and intensity of your workout.

Here’s a sample HIIT walking workout

  • 3 min. warm up — walk at a comfortable pace
  • 1 minute jog
  • 30 second sprint
  • 1 minute fast walk
  • 30 second sprint
  • 1 minute fast walk
  • 30 second high knees run
  • 1 minute fast walk
  • 30 second jumping jacks
  • 2 minute jog
  • 5 minute cool down

Add a Hill to your Walk

My daily walk begins with a steep hill which is a fabulous way to get my heart rate up and fire up my glutes! About id-way through my walk I enjoy a second steep hill. I generally tackle that one after a 30 sprint and definitely feel the burn in my glutes and calves!

Hills are an easy way to boost your output and maximize your workout time. You should always power up your hills, walking up with purpose.  The hill can become your terrain.  Walk up with purpose, walk down with a bounce in your step at an easy pace, then power back up. Repeat as many times, adding a jog or run up the hill every other time you make your way up.

I discovered the joy of hills in college. I would go on 12 mile runs. Crazy, I know, but the hills are the reason I could go as far. I would push to the top of the hill, leaving it all on the pavement, and reach the top just when I felt I could not go another step… Then jog down and recharge so that by the time I reached the next hill I was ready for an BURST!  I did not know about Interval Training, though that was exactly the way I was training.

Add some Stairs to Your Walk

Just as hills, stairs are a fun and simple way to add some challenging terrain to your walk. A staircase can even replace your outdoor loop when temperatures tempt you to skip your workout all together.

There are many ways you can use the stairs to keep your workout fun and exciting.

  • Run up, walk down
  • Run up stairs two by two, walk down
  • Jump up with two feet,  walk down
  • Jump up with one foot, walk down
  • Jump up with the other foot, walk down
  • Walk up sideways, crossing bottom foot over top, walk down

Change Directions

Changing the direction of your walk keeps your brain engaged and keeps you from getting bored.

If you have access to a track this is a fun way to boost your workout. Walk around once the way you normally would, then change your direction! Walk backwards, side ways, zig zag across, add a few turns here and there.  Change it up as much as you like and have fun!

Make it a Meditative Walk

Walking is a fabulous way to destress! Take your walk into nature if you can and clear the clutter from your mind.

Focus on your feet… Purposefully place your heel, then your instep and the ball of your feet all the way to your toes. Pay attention to how the concrete or soil feels under your feet and how your foot responds.

Focus on the sounds around you. Whether you can walk in the woods or hills or have to stick to a city parkour, turn your attention to the creatures around you, the chirping of crickets or birds, the rustling of the wind in the leaves, the hushed footsteps of squirrels or chipmunks…

Focus on your breath!  Ah yes the magic of deep breathing! It’s amazing how deeply relaxing shifting our focus to our breathing can be. In doing so we become intentional with our breathing. Focus on taking deep breaths, allowing your stomach to expand.  When you exhale, release all of your breath then fill your lungs again noticing the fragrances around you and the way your body feels as your breath carries oxygen to every cell.

However you choose to walk, enjoy this privileged time!

Do you enjoy going on walks?  What is your favorite way to turn a simple walk into an exiting workout?

About Valerie 

Valerie Remy-Milora is the mother of 3 amazing girls, an author, public speaker, coach and founder of Scrumptious Moms. She is passionate about empowering moms to embrace self care and live a vibrant, joyful life with their loved ones. A health and fitness nut, she is an advocate for chemical-free living, real food and GMO labeling. She believes in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

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Comments

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I have been working on getting my mile run time down, so I have been doing a combination of sprints, jogs and fast paced walking. It’s a great workout.

  2. I wish my knee would let me run more, so I end up walking with stroller sometimes.

  3. Those are great ideas. We go out in the evenings as a family, and although I enjoy the togetherness, it isn’t getting my heart going!

  4. I do enjoy walking. However, I try not to make it too much of a workout. Instead, I just try to walk a bit longer than usual when I feel like I need to burn more calories.

  5. Here in Montana it’s rather hard to walk and not find a hill! I like to take my walks in the woods. They are so beautiful and you never know what you might see.

  6. I do my walks as a family event (some nights) the kids shout ZOMBIE and we run as fast as we can, then they shout SAFE and we speed walk and it goes back and forth for about 20 to 30 mins. It’s fun, gets the work out done and I get the kids involved too.

  7. Maria Montero says:

    I love Changing my routines it helps with new challenges and not getting bored!

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