Regardless if you’re a seasoned walker or just starting out, we have some insightful tips that can enhance your walking sessions.
Did you know that walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise ever? And it doesn’t take much effort to do it either. All you need is a road, trail, track or home treadmill — and maybe a quality pair of walking shoes — and you’re ready to start walking!
Regardless if you’re a seasoned walker or just starting out, we have some insightful tips that can enhance your walking sessions. These can add a bit more spring in your step in no time at all.
Benefits of Walking
There are a host of benefits from this form of exercise, such as building a healthy lifestyle habit, staying active, maintaining joint integrity, strengthening muscles, and improving mobility and flexibility.
You can also expect improved balance, better brain function and stronger bones because walking is a form of weight-bearing exercise. This is especially important if you are a woman. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, women, especially over the age of 50, should be focusing on their bone strength and health. (1)
Keeping your heart in good shape is another priority associated with healthy aging. Performing cardiovascular exercise, even in the form of walking, has a profound effect on heart health.
6 Tips for Upping Your Walking Game
Alternate Your Intensity
For some, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to walking. Regardless if it’s on a treadmill indoors or outside in Mother Nature, you can get more bang for your buck by adding the element of intensity.
A great way of adding more intensity to your workout is by finding a local hill or set of stairs, and doing high-intensity interval training, or HIIT as it’s commonly called. Go up said hill or set of steps, walk back to the bottom and repeat for a series of reps.
On a treadmill, increase the incline and walk for a set period of time, then flatten it out and walk for a set period of time. Or, you can go back and forth from a brisk pace to a slow pace. Each variation can easily be adjusted from the keypad on the treadmill.
Simply put, this form of training is characterized by alternating your intensity back and forth from easy to hard. And this especially comes in handy if you are pressed for time. Walking uphill boosts your heart rate, even at a slow pace, so you are able to get a great workout in just 20 minutes! (2)
As for steady-pace walking, you will still get a good workout. But by spicing things up and alternating your pace, the benefits will be compounded.
If you do find that your joints could use some attention after walking, our Daily Turmeric formula is designed to help your body have a healthy inflammatory response after exercise. This helps with joint health and mobility.
Walk in the Sunlight
Timing is everything in life. And walking is no different. If you time your workouts right, and change the variables, you can open up a whole other world that you didn’t know existed. And that includes walking in the sun.
Walking in the sun is a great way to get a release of vitamin D in your body. This helps with the absorption of calcium, which then strengthens your bones. According to the Harvard Medical School, vitamin D has also been known to support the immune system. (3)
Walking in general helps build strong bones because it is a weight-bearing activity. By walking in the sun, you get a twofold benefit.
Additionally, a protein in the body called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), also gets released when you are exposed to the sun. This helps boost your mood and keeps stress at bay.
Find a “Stroll” Mate
If you walk by yourself, you might grow bored and fall off the wagon. Exercise is often more enjoyable when you have a buddy to converse with and talk shop about like subject matter. This can also pass the time and create deeper human connection with whoever it is that you're walking with. Give it a try and you’ll quickly see how much of a positive impact it has.
Have Someone Hold you Accountable
An accountability partner is a little different than a walking buddy. This can be someone who doesn’t even live in your state, let alone your area code. Think of them as someone you can always rely on to express your goals, dreams and initiatives in life.
When it comes to your walking workouts, if they truly are of high priority, tell your accountability partner exactly what days and times you plan on walking. Then have them check in with you every time you are supposed to walk.
This way you will feel more obligated to do your walking sessions and the results will reflect that. In the big picture, trying to uphold your workouts can be mentally taxing and stressful. Having your accountability partner checking in with you can take the edge right off that stress, and you may even feel more encouraged this way.
Use Added Resistance
Walking by itself will do you justice. But by carrying some light weights, you will create a greater work output that can cause you to burn even more calories, and work your upper body muscles with more intensity.
You don’t have to get elaborate either. A pair of light dumbbells will work just fine. Or you can use household items like water bottles, rolls of coins or baggies filled with rice.
Another trick of the trade you can do here is swing your arms with more emphasis. That alone will increase the caloric expenditure. By holding objects in your hands, the effect will be even greater.
Listen to Motivating Music
The sounds of nature cannot be understated. Waterfalls, breezes, creeks, birds, dogs and even airplanes can have a comforting effect on the mind and body. But perhaps you live in the city or have to do your walking workouts inside during certain times of the year due to inclement weather.
If you are like most people, you are best advised to hook up some groovy tunes in your ear buds. According to the National Center for Health Research, listening to music while working out can boost your mood and increase your stamina. This can translate to better overall performance, more calories burned and an even happier feeling than usual once you are done. (4)
The Finish Line
As you can see, there are many ways to get more bang for your buck from your walking workouts. If you have not tried any of these methods and are looking for a freshen-up, pick one or two or three and get to work.
According to the American Heart Association, 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week is a bare minimum to achieve health benefits. Follow these easy tips and in a mere few short weeks, you will surely notice the positive results of simply walking.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. Readers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither the author(s) nor the publisher of this content take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All readers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
- Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011;59(6):881-886. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755