Walking is my exercise of choice. But I need to do something to change it up! Maybe you do too?
Walking is easy on our muscles and joints. Now that I’m 60 it seems really easy for me to get small injuries and have more niggling aches and pains. I have a reoccurring lower back issue and a hip flexor strain that shows up fairly regularly if I overdo it with harder workouts.
Walking works for me and I like it!
But I am guessing that as a creature of habit you often have the same route for your walks and often at the same speed? I do. But our bodies adapt well and we need to change things up to get the benefits.
I researched some ideas of how to change up my walking/work out and so I’m sharing them with you today.
Debra Atkinson at flipping fifty is a fitness expert who focuses on women in midlife. I listen to her podcasts and follow her on social media. Check her out; you won’t be disappointed. These first 3 walking workouts are ones she recommends.
Here are some new ideas to try.
1. The hill walk. Yup, if you don’t have any hills in your neighborhood you may need to drive to one that does. Do a 10-minute warm up walk before you tackle the hill. Once at the hill walk up at a comfortable pace, but it’s ok to breath hard. That means your body is working a little harder which is the whole idea.
Once at the top, turn around and walk slowly down. The recovery time should be twice as long. Once you have recovered and are breathing normally again then do the hill climb again. Do this 2 to 4 times as a beginner at hill walking. Then do a 10-minute cool down walk on flat ground.
Then gradually build up to 6 to 8 hill climbs as you progress over a number of weeks.
2. Speed burst walk. After the first 10 minutes of your walk you are sufficiently warmed up and ready for some speed bursts. No running involved – just quick steps. Pick a landmark along your route, like a mailbox, a driveway, a sign and then walk really quickly for 30 seconds. Imagine that you are late to catch the bus. It’s good to get a little breathless.
Then once you reach the landmark you slow down, catch your breath and recover. When you are totally recovered and your breathing is normal, then pick another landmark and do another speed burst.
You should aim for 6 speed bursts in a half hour walk.
If you listen to a playlist while you walk, use the tempo of the songs to help set up the speed bursts. Very fast songs with a 160-180 bpm will be the speed bursts songs and the moderate tempo music of 120-140 bpm will be the regular walk speed.
Debra Atkinson recommends only 2 speed burst walks a week if you are over 50, as we need more recovery time.
If you prefer someone coaching you as you walk, indoor or outdoor you can listen to a podcast that has the music and speed burst sections set up for you. I found Kathy Smith has one, you can check her podcast here.
3. The long slow walk. Now that sounds easy! We can do that one for sure. The idea is to go somewhere new. Try a trail or a new area of your city. The change in scenery is good for us and new terrain provides new challenges.
If you regularly walk for 30 minutes then add another 15 to 30 minutes. Enjoy the change.
4. Nordic pole walking. Yes, the walking poles look like cross country ski poles. Walking with the Nordic walking poles engages the shoulders, arms and back muscles with a pumping motion with each stride.
More of your body is involved with Nordic pole walking and for those who have balance issues the poles provide good stability.
I have some in my front closet that are coming with me to the Lake House this weekend to walk with me on my country road.
5. Indoor walking videos for rainy days. I have been a long time fan of Leslie Sansone’s walking videos. She has all the bases covered, some for the beginner and for those who want to do speed bursts and short jogging sessions.
Or find someone you like on Youtube that fits your current fitness level and provides good music and motivation.
Remember it needs to be fun for you to want to do it.
If you have been a regular walker like me I am guessing that you too need to change things up. Which walk will you try this week?
Today’s little step: Try one of the new walking work out suggestions! Change up at least one of your regular walks. You’ll be glad you did!
Peace be with you,