A Walking Workout

Posted: January 31, 2011 in Getting Active by

You can get even more benefit from your walks by stepping it up a notch with interval training and turning each walk into a workout session.

This time of year in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area is perfect for going on daily walks, not too hot and not too cold. If you are using regular walks as part of your medical weight loss program you already know that this low impact activity packs numerous benefits including helping maintain a healthy weight, improving bone health, lower bad cholesterol, and raising good cholesterol.

To add interval training to your walk follow these tips:

Make sure you have a good pair of walking shoes before you up the pace of your walks. While you may get away with lower quality shoes for a daily stroll, when you start getting serious with your walks good shoes will help you stay injury free.

It helps to invest in an iPod, MP3 player or a phone that plays music. You will also want some light resistance bands that fit comfortably in your pocket and don’t forget you pedometer.

Next select your walking route. You are looking for a paved area with a variety of terrains. If there are no hills close by, pick a route with steps, stairs, or bleachers you can climb. Make sure that your walking route includes a park or open area you can stop at.

Start your workout with a warm-up walk just to get your legs loosened up. Add a little light stretching focusing on your ankles, calves, and hamstrings.

To put a little intensity into your workout you are going to add variation. Select music that has different tempos and match your walking speed to that of the music. Speeding up and slowing down with each song is called interval training and it has been shown to increase fat burn.

Try to alternate the music so that you walk one fast song and one moderate song for best results.

Once you have walked a few songs add your hill or stair climb section. Spend about five minutes walking up and down the stairs if you do not have a hill section in your walking route.

Next, stop on a level, open section of your route such as a park or playground.  Spend five minutes or so working your arms with your resistance bands. Choose three or four exercises that work your biceps, triceps and shoulders.

Now put the music back on and head back to your starting point.  Cool down with more stretching and congratulate yourself for a job well done. Tomorrow do a regular walk and plan to alternate your interval training walks with normal walks at least twice a week.

If you have been inactive for a while, check with your medical weight loss team before you add intensity to your walking workout.