How to make your walking workouts more effective
Interval and Nordic walking can help you get in better shape, while mindful walking can help you relax.
Walking for exercise has the advantage of requiring no particular skills or equipment aside from a comfortable, supportive pair of shoes. The disadvantage is that it can become tiresome after a while. Try reinvigorating your walking routine with these unique twists on this popular kind of exercise to break up your dullness.
Every step counts, some factors are more important than others. Adding short bursts of brisk walking to daily strolls can raise your heart rate and increase your cardiorespiratory fitness more than merely walking at a slower pace. Purchase a pair of Nordic poles and use them while walking to engage more muscles and burn more calories. You can also utilize walking to practice mindfulness, a mind-calming technique that can help you relax and relieve stress.
Here are some ideas for how and where you can try these tactics.
Walking in intervals
This routine is only for experienced walkers, not beginners, Interval walking involves alternating short spurts of quick walking with slower strides. Walk briskly for 15, 30, or 60 seconds after a five-minute warm-up. Then, for an equal period, slow down and recover at a normal rate (or you may want to double your recovery time). Begin with shorter intervals of quick walking and progressively increase the length of time as your stamina improves over the weeks and months. Alternatively, you can maintain the intervals and lengthen your entire workout time. Both a smartwatch and a watch with second-hand works in keeping track of time. Instead of using time, you might utilize landmarks to identify your intervals. Take a quick walk for one or two city blocks, between two telephone poles, or a quarter lap around a local track, for example.
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Walking in the Nordic style
Special poles with hand straps are used in Nordic walking to assist you to engage your upper body. With the poles slanted back behind you as you walk, it's akin to cross-country skiing. These exercises can increase your cardiovascular effort and calorie burn by up to 25% above regular walking.
If you want to try out the poles, ask around in your community because chances are someone has a dusty pair in their garage. However, if you buy them from an outside store, an employee can assist you in adjusting the height and give you a quick tutorial on how to use them. Metal tips (for use on trails) and attachable rubber tips (for use on asphalt or concrete) are included in the majority of them.
Walking with awareness
If sitting to meditate doesn't appeal to you, you could choose walking meditation, also known as mindful walking. The idea is to concentrate on the current moment rather than the past or future. Excess stress is a well-known cause of high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, and calming your mind in this way may help you relax.
While walking through a familiar area, take great attention to all of the sights, sounds, and scents. You can concentrate on your breathing if you choose. Match your breath to your steps as you walk, inhaling slowly for four steps and expelling slowly for four steps. Do this for a few minutes, then try increasing the number of steps per breath to six for a few minutes, then eight for a few minutes. Choose the most comfortable breathing pattern (four, six, or eight) and persist with it for a while. Switch back to a stroll after your walk and just breathe normally.
If you have the chance, consider strolling near water — the ocean, a river, a lake, or a pond — as these places tend to promote calm. Another option, he explains, is labyrinth walking, which can be particularly beneficial for inducing a contemplative state. A labyrinth is a series of routes that loop in a circle around a central point. It encourages slow, deliberate walking. Labyrinths can be found in a variety of locations, including public parks, institutions of worship, and health care facilities like hospitals and hospices.