Video:How to Maximize a Walking Workoutwith Jonathon E. Stewart
Regular walking can get you in good shape, but if you know how to maximize a walking workout, you might just find yourself in great shape. See these tips for maximizing a walking workout.See Transcript
Transcript:How to Maximize a Walking WorkoutHey guys, Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. Walking is one of the best forms of low-impact exercise out there, and it can keep your body in tip-top shape -- just check out those calves on your mail carrier and you'll see exactly what I mean. But if your routine starts to feel a little stale, take a look at these tips on maximizing your walking work out and get more out of every step. Check it out.
Reasons for Maximizing a Walking WorkoutThe human body is an amazing machine, and is highly adaptive to any rigors we put it through. When we first start an exercise routine, our bodies require large amounts of energy to perform, but they quickly learn to operate more efficiently and burn fewer calories. These energetic standstills are called "plateaus." Hitting a plateau is a great indicator that your body is getting into shape, but burning fewer calories per workout is likely not what you're ultimately after. The good news is that when you do plateau, you can continue to get into even better shape by making just a few adjustments to your workout.
How to Maximize a Walking WorkoutIf you're in the habit of walking regularly, try doing some interval training. After you've warmed up at an even pace for about 5 to 10 minutes, pick up your speed significantly for about 200 yards, then slow back down for another 200 yards. Repeat these fast-slow intervals between 6 and 8 times, then do an easy 5 to 10 minute cool down and call it a day. If you don't know exactly how far 200 yards is, that's okay, too. Feel free to use telephone poles, street lights, or any other fixed point you like to mark the distance, or set your watch for timed intervals. If you've got one of those fancy don't-need-winding watches.
Hills can be your biggest enemy, or your best friend. If you're used to walking on level ground, they can provide one of the easiest ways to kick things up a notch. When you're walking up hill, be sure to shorten your stride just a bit, and let your arms extend a little further than usual. While your body works harder to overcome the greater resistance, don't forget to breathe as you go.
You might also try recruiting a friend to walk with you, especially if they're into walking for a workout, too. Having company can help you pick up the pace and burn more calories without you even realizing it - so long as your friend isn't a big slow poke.
If you're really looking to add some drag, or tone your upper body, too, try carrying hand weights as you walk. Be sure not to overdo it on the first outing -- bringing weights can tire your body quickly, so be sure to start light and keep your distance short. You can also find ankle weights, wrist weights, weight vests and backpacks, all of which accomplish pretty much the same thing, but target different muscle groups specifically.
Finally, if you're not doing so already, try walking with your favorite tunes - recent studies show that exercising with music can increase endurance by up to 15% and can help you feel more positive while you work out. I'm telling you, you might even feel more positive if you've got a good '80s hair band backing you up.
Happy walking! Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.
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