It’s no secret that walking is one of the best movements we can do for our bodies. It’s also no secret that walking is essential for many parts of daily life such as cleaning your home, grocery shopping, or even just getting out of bed and using the bathroom. Getting into a walking routine is one of the best things you can do following surgery.
Here are 6 ways to maximize your walking workouts:
Distract yourself. Download an audiobook, a podcast or find an upbeat playlist to distract yourself during your walk. In fact, A recent study found that listening to music makes you walk longer than you would have if you weren’t listening to anything at all. When people walked listening to fast-tempo music with a strong rhythm, they walked 15 percent longer than those who didn’t listen to anything at all. The music improved their moods, motivated them, focused their attention, and distracted them from feeling tired which allowed them to go further.
Look up. It can be tempting to stare at your feet but walking with your head held high and your eyes on the horizon keeps your chest open, allowing you to take deeper, smoother breaths. There’s nothing more important than being able to breath the best you can during any workout so remember: chest up, eyes forward! Looking forward also keeps your posture in check which is crucial for getting the most of your workout and avoiding injury down the road. Disclaimer: Be mindful of your surroundings - glance down every so often to avoid tripping and falling!
Swing your arms. Give yourself an upper body workout at the same time by pumping your arms as you walk. Not only will pumping your arms increase your walking speed but it will get the muscles in the top half of your body moving, giving you an even greater calorie burn. You can burn up to 10% more calories just by swinging your arms!
Add an incline. Walking on an incline forces your body to use your muscles much more so you can make it up the hill. More muscles use = more calories burned. The higher the incline, the more you challenge your muscles. Pair an incline with swinging those arms and you’ve got an awesome full body workout.
Try interval training. Don’t let the term interval training scare you - it simple means switching up your speed or incline multiple times during a workout. For example, walk slowly for 5 minutes then increase your speed for 2 minutes. You can also interval train with inclines. If you’re on a treadmill you can walk flat for 3 minutes than increase the incline for 2 minutes. Continue that pattern for the entire workout. Adding intervals to your walking workout is not only a killer way to increase your calorie burn but can also fight boredom!
Walk outside. Grass, sand, dirt, and roads aren’t total level, so they work out your muscles more effectively than walking on a flat surface such as a paved walkway or the treadmill. You also burn more calories when you’re walking against the wind. Even a slight breeze can increase resistance making your workout that much more efficient!
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