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If you’ve been slacking on fitness or getting outdoors due to the pandemic, good on you! You probably helped save someone’s life — including your own. But now that we’re approaching more vaccinated people and it’s slightly safer to get outdoors, now is the time to get some fresh air and walk around for a less sedentary and more active lifestyle. As more people get vaccinated, more people are headed outside to enjoy the day—especially now that summer is approaching!
And while walking seems more like a leisure sport, you can actually make that walk more challenging, where you can consider it a workout and burn a good amount of calories. Here are the best ways to turn that walk into a calorie-torching workout that can help keep your heart healthy and health in check.
Add Weights or Some Resistance
If you want to increase that burn, go on a walk wearing a weighted vest or hold a pair of weights for a “power walking” style. This will get your heart rate up and help you burn more calories as you’re walking. You can also stop every five minutes and use those weights to do a few squats, for example, before resuming your walk and repeating the exercise again.
You can even use booty bands to take a pause, put one on and perform a couple of lower body exercises, like squats and side or walking lunges. Since the bands are light, they are easy to carry with you on your walk or just simply hold in your hand, even. Resistance bands are a fantastic way to push yourself a little harder without the risk of injury you might get from heavy weights.
Do HIIT Intervals
HIIT means high intensity, and a HIIT activity focuses on sprints or short bursts of high intensity work. As you walk, figure out a way to add in HIIT movement in time intervals. You can stop and do jumping jacks, high knees, tuck jumps or squat jumps, for example—something that makes you feel winded—and then resume your walk. You could do this every five minutes or so. This compliments the workout/cool down method of working out, increases flexibility and gets the heart rate going for an overall better functioning pulmonary system.
Mix in Running
If you can handle a run or jog, pause your walk every five to ten minutes and go for a run or jog. You can pick the amount of time you can run or jog or you can go by landmarks, such as when you reach a certain store that’s on your walk or a streetlight or bridge. The running will add in extra cardio as you settle back into your walk for a cool down before hitting that short run again. This is highly effective at giving your walks a bit of a fitness boost without turning them into a full-on workout. Perfect for easing back into being more physical without risking injury.
Grab Your Dog or Baby
If you have a dog or baby that still needs a stroller to roam around, take them out on your walk with you for that extra resistance. Pushing a stroller can actually increase your burn, and you can even throw a Frisbee or something so that your dog will run on its leach and you’ll need to run along, too. You can even take your dog to the park afterwards and really play—it can be a post-walk workout! If you’ve got hills on your walk, pushing a stroller is a great way to get a little extra bum exercise, especially if you dig in with each step and use your lower body strength to push the stroller forward.