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How to Make Walking More Effective

Want to turn your walking into a super workout? It’s easier than you think to add intensity to some of your walks. Adding intensity can increase the effectiveness and the benefits from an already remarkable exercise. Learn ways to make your walking more effective and get ready to turn walking into a workout!

Want to turn your walking into a super workout? It’s easier than you think to add intensity to some of your walks. Adding intensity can increase the effectiveness and the benefits from an already remarkable exercise. Learn ways to make your walking more effective and get ready to turn walking into a workout!

How to Make Walking More Effective

 

A couple of times a week, I like add intensity to my walk, usually during the last 15–20 minutes. Because walking warms up the muscles, it’s the perfect time to add some strength or higher intensity intervals.

Here are my three tried and true ways that add intensity to my walk. Most days I do straight walking but I power up my walks a couple of times a week. What you do may depend on where you live and what is available.

In addition to creating a fuller body workout, adding intensity to your walk can actually make it more fun and interesting. Let me know how it goes!

ADD HIGHER INTENSITY INTERVALS

Adding higher intensity intervals can make walking even more effective and fun. You don’t have to do intervals for the entire walk or every time either. I usually do the higher intensity work for a portion of the walk, say 15 – 20 minutes, usually after I am really warmed up and ready for it.

Here are three of my favorite ways to add intensity to my walk, get my heart pumping, and work more muscles.

WALK THE HILLS

Hands down, walking in an area with hills is my favorite kind of walking. I absolutely love being able to add some strenuous uphill and downhill walking to my three miles. It’s a great feeling, to feel your breathing get deep and your body working harder. When I’m back home in West Virginia, I love to get outside and walk my beloved hills.

If I have access to hills, I’d do it every day. I love it that much!

You get interval and high intensity work included in your walk! If you don’t usually walk hills start slow. And by slow, I mean take the uphill part, as slow as you need. And don’t do too many hills at first.

As you develop your leg and lung strength, you’ll grow to love the hill part. You can feel your legs and butt getting a fantastic workout. Walking hills also seems to make my lungs bring air all the way in. It is true deep breathing. And if all that air is going in, then all the air is going back out. It feels really cleansing.

Keep your feet happy too!

In my last apartment, I used my parking garage to get my hill work in. The seven levels of ramps provided some good hill work to my walk. I loved ending my walks this way.

Precautions to Take

Even on big hills, you can moderate the intensity by taking the hill slower. Go as slow as you need to not get out of breath!

Work up to going up hills faster or doing more intense inclines. Be careful to not overdue at first. The worst shin splints I ever had, came from doing to much hill work! Ouch.

If you live in a neighborhood that has slopes or hills, take advantage of this way to super-charge your walk. Intersperse hill walking with some flat land walking and you’ll have a fun and effective workout.

Add Stairs/Steps

If you walk near buildings or places with stairs, start using them

If you walk near buildings or places with stairs, start using them. I lived in an apartment building and I ended most walks with some stair work. 7 flights! Stairs will really add some intensity.

On another trail that was below street level, there were stairs that led to the street. Every ten minutes or so, I would add couple of flights up and down the stairs.

A Little Trick to Save Your Knees

Going up stairs works your whole leg and butt. It feels great. However, going back down can be hard on your knees. A little trick is to turn slightly sideways as you go down. This is much easier on the knees!

Add Exercises

The park I walk in now has a place where you can do push ups, pull ups, sit ups, and other exercises.

The park I walk in now has a place where you can do push ups, pull ups, sit ups, and other exercises. I like to take the last fifteen minutes of my walk and do three sets of push ups interspersed with more walking. It gets my heart rate up and gives me a way to get my favorite exercise in for the day.

Incline push ups are one of my favorite exercises. I learned to do full push ups (read about it here) and doing incline push ups was a part of my training to get to that point. Because my park has four levels of incline, I can do whatever intensity I feel like doing. I find incline push ups are much easier on my back too.

Other exercises you can do are squats, lunges, pull ups, sit ups, or triceps’ dips. Even without exercise equipment, park benches and railings can provide the support to do most of these.

How to Make Walking More Effective

Walking is my favorite exercise and I highly recommend it. As great as it is, it’s important to balance your fitness program with other kinds of exercise. I really do like to make walking more effective by adding exercise or higher level intensity a few times a week.

Let me know how it goes. I’m really interested to hear how you fit walking into your life.

Keep walking my friends!

My One Walking Accessory

The Flip Belt allows you to carry your phone, keys, and money securely and yet easy to get to when needed. When you put it on, it just looks like the waistband of your black yoga pants. And since none of the clothes I wear for walking have pockets, I have to add my own. This Flip Belt has worked great. (Affiliate links–see full disclosure here.)

Other Great Posts on Walking

One of the reasons that I love walking so much is that it melts my fat and it keeps my weight steady. I supplement with strength and stretching but nothing beats walking to get into your fat burning zone.

Walking is the ultimate exercise for losing and maintaining weight as well as for clearing the mind. In fact, I have found walking to be my BEST tool for staying slim and feeling good.

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Sara

Lifestyle Blogger and Influencer at My Think Big Life
Sara is a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now she can be found at My Think Big Life writing about health and personal growth.

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Julie Maloney October 11, 2016, 5:46 pm

    I have walked 3-5 miles per day five days per week for about two years now. I’ve switched it up from my neighborhood, which was flat and not motivating to my local dog park where we have miles of hiking trails where my dog can roam safely off leash. I’ve lost 15 pounds since I joined the park!

    • Sara October 11, 2016, 6:27 pm

      Wow. That’s great Julie. I really believe that enjoying the walk helps with the effectiveness. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

  • Drew October 11, 2016, 8:16 pm

    Great ideas! I’ve been using my lunch breaks recently to go for a good walk.

  • Kate October 11, 2016, 8:47 pm

    Great tips! I need to get out more while we still have beautiful fall weather. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Marian Mitchell October 11, 2016, 9:13 pm

    These are so realistic. I love to go with my kids and they force intervals and excitement lol

  • Lauryn Hock October 11, 2016, 11:57 pm

    Thank you for these amazing tips! I needed these.

    xo, Lauryn
    @lauryncakes

  • Bridget Swinney MS, RD October 12, 2016, 7:08 am

    Love those 3 simple ideas! Walking is the go-to exercise I recommend to clients–you can do it anywhere and it’s free!

    • Sara October 12, 2016, 10:32 am

      I agree! I really try to promote it because it seems like so many people think it’s not as good as running. But my knees thank me every day for being a walker!

  • Chloe of beyond blessed October 12, 2016, 8:19 am

    We walk everywhere in NYC and I hate running so I try to count it as my exercise. Definitely adding intervals, stairs and hills into my walks! Thank you!

    • Sara October 12, 2016, 10:34 am

      I’d love to live in an area where you have to walk around. Living in Houston, I have to drive so I can walk. Ironic for me since I love walking so much.

  • eg October 14, 2016, 12:10 pm

    Due to knee surgery last year, I’ve replaced a large portion of running routine with walking and found that, like you suggest, adding variation really can give you a good cadio workout through walking.

  • Rosalind January 6, 2017, 5:09 pm

    Good tips!!!

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