October 23, 2021

Get Extra Credit from your Walking Workout by Nicole Bryan

Looking to increase the intensity of your walking workout? Add in a few extra credit moves to burn additional calories. (Always consult your doctor before beginning exercise. The following is for those without injury or illness concerns.)

Walking Lunges. At the end of your walk, perform one to three sets of walking lunges. Step forward about three feet with your right foot. Bend your left knee and lower it about twelve inches toward the floor; bend your right knee so it is directly over your right ankle. Then transfer your weight forward onto your right foot, lift your left foot and swing your left foot to the center, then forward about three feet. Bend your right knee and lower it about twelve inches toward the floor; bend your left knee so it is directly over your ankle. Repeat ten times. For more of a challenge, increase the range of motion of lowering the knee towards the floor. Lower down until your knee is about two inches off the floor.

Standing Calf Raises. At the end of your walk, perform one to three sets of calf raises. Stand facing the curb or a step. Hang your heels off the curb. Lift and lower your heels. Perform ten to fifteen repetitions. For more of a challenge, place both arms across your chest when lifting and lowering your heels. Doing so will add a balance challenge into your calf raises.

Wall Squats. At various intervals during your walk, find a place to perform a wall squat hold. Position your feet about three-feet away from the wall and lean with your back against a wall or secure post. Slide your body down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your knees directly over your ankles. Hold this position for ten to thirty seconds. Perform two to three sets back to back with thirty seconds rest in between holds. For more of a challenge, while in the wall squat position, keep your torso upright and still and lift your right foot about six inches off the ground and hold for ten to thirty seconds. Return your right foot to the floor and then lift your left foot about six inches off the ground for a hold of ten to thirty seconds. Perform two to three sets with each foot.

Walking Pick ups. Choose different landmarks on your route, or at specific time or mileage intervals do a quick pick-up of your walking pace for two to three minutes. During the pick up interval, shorten your stride, focus on the turnover of your legs, and move your arms. For more of a challenge, decrease the rest time in between intervals to thirty seconds of walking. Then go right back into another pick up interval.

Jogging Intervals. At each mile, do a short thirty second to two minute jogging interval. Extend the duration of your intervals to increase the intensity of your workout.

Stair climb. Find a flight of stairs on your walking route and do a few quick intervals up and down. To ramp up intensity, take the steps two at a time on the ascent and jog the descent.


*Disclaimer: Result may vary from person to person.


Is Walking Worth It? By Nicole Bryan

If you think all cardio has to be high intensity, all out, all the time, to gain health benefits, think again! Walking is a realistic, sustainable, effective and efficient cardiovascular exercise option for many. Proper walking for fitness form is important for increased efficiency. Increased efficiency means increased effectiveness, decreased risk of injury, reduced risk of falling, increased energy and sustainability of intensity during the workout.

Here are a few quality control check points to be aware of during your walking workout:

Even stride length between your right leg and your left leg. Uneven stride length could signal dysfunction of how your body is moving, which may lead to injury.

Walking in a heel to toe pattern. Walking flat-footed increases risk of falling. Walking or shuffling feet also decreases the distance covered (decreases energy expenditure) of each step.

Proper spinal alignment. Avoid the forward shoulders hunched over and head forward posture by keeping your ears lined up over your shoulders. Keep your shoulders lined up over your hips, hold your chin parallel to the floor, and keep your feet pointing forward.

Here are exercises to gain additional benefits and effectiveness in your walking for fitness workout:

Focus on increasing the turn-over of your steps. Basically shorten your stride and step faster. Moving at a faster pace will increase energy expenditure and burn more calories.

Power from your arms. Move more muscles, burn more calories.

Pull your belly button in, and pull your shoulders down and back. Why not get a core workout and strengthen your posture muscles at the same time? The result is additional benefit out of the same effort.

Practice deep breathing while walking. Slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 4, exhale out your mouth for a count of 6. The result will be an increase in energy and decrease in stress.

Does walking offer health benefits? YES! Choose to move your body aerobically, on a regular basis. Find what you enjoy, and you’ll enjoy doing it.