- Walking is a popular exercise option for people with knee, back and other problems or injuries
- There are various ways to make your walk more intense to help increase your fitness
- Interval training, weights, hills and setting distance goals can help achieve this
Walking is probably one of the most popular forms of exercise, especially for those who hate exercise.
It's an easy, low-entry level physical activity that's useful for people with an assortment of injuries or health issues, and a good starting point for unfit people trying to get moving or lose weight.
But this doesn't mean that you can't get a workout from your daily walk. There are various ways you can make a walk more intense to increase your heart rate and burn more calories.
READ | Can an extra 4 000 steps per day really lower your odds of heart disease?
Check out the six tips below for upping your walking game:
Choose a distance and time
If you're looking to increase your walking intensity, it's important to set a goal.
This should include aiming for a certain distance in a set time. Five kilometres might sound good, but it doesn't mean much when it takes you hours to complete the distance.
Add some weight
You can throw in some resistance training by wearing a weighted backpack or another type of distributed weight mechanism.
However, be careful of using ankle weights while walking. According to Harvard Health, this could cause muscle imbalance and put strain on tendons and ligaments.
READ MORE | Here’s why lifting weights is the most effective way to lose weight
Look for different trails
Step off the tarred roads onto rougher terrain to give your muscles more variety while walking around rocks or on grass.
Remember to stick to existing trails and wear the right shoes.
Opt for uphills
While trying out different terrains, try to incorporate an uphill or two in your route. This places more demand on your body, working your calves and expending more energy.
If you're not too fit, start with small inclines and gradually work your way up to steeper hills.
READ | 6 hill-training secrets all runners should know
Increase your pace
Interval training, where you're constantly increasing and decreasing your heart rate, has been proven to improve heart health according to research, and you can easily incorporate this into your walk.
Speed up your walking at one or two minute intervals and slow down again to rest. If you have a smartwatch, monitor your heart rate to help determine the length of your intervals. Swinging your arms when you go faster can also help burn more calories and give your arms a workout too.
Strength training intervals
If you really want to go all out, add stops to your walk and do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, jumping jacks or planking. You can also use park benches, jungle gyms or other structures for support.
You can also augment your walk by incorporating lunge walking, side steps or high knees for an added workout.
READ MORE | What you should know about HIIT workouts – and how to get going
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