I talk to a lot of women over the age of 50; many of them enjoy a good walking routine! Perhaps you’ve tried different fitness routines and programs over the years. Remember a few from back in the day, from Jane Fonda and the aerobics craze to Jazzercise, step aerobics, circuit routines, and maybe even buns of steel?
It seems the program that is easiest to stick with is regular walking. With no equipment required, the ability to enjoy this workout just about anywhere, and the chance to socialize and catch up with friends. I can see the appeal!
But, are you really seeing the results you want from your walking program? There are a few changes you can make to your walking routine to see more benefits in your health and your body!
Intervals: Challenge Your Heart
Start with a warm-up of walking at a regular pace for at least five minutes. Once your body is warmed up, try adding some intervals of increased speed to challenge your muscles, respiratory, and cardiovascular system.
Try adding a 30-second interval of quicker paced walking, walking uphill, lunges, or even a quick sprint or jog! Resume your regular paced walking for at least a minute and then try another interval!
You can add a few intervals to your first workout. Next workout, challenge yourself to add more intervals or change up the activity you do in your interval to continue challenging your body.
Real Buns of Steel: Stop for a Sit to Stand!
As you are walking, when you come upon a bench, instead of speed walking past or taking a rest break, use the bench to work your muscles, specifically your glutes! Squat to sit down on the bench slowly and then stand up, repeat this exercise for 10 to 15 reps.
Try two to three sets to really feel this exercise in your quads and glutes. Not passing a bench? Pretend you see one and try a squat motion to an imaginary chair. Imagining the chair will help you to keep good form by bringing your hips back and taking the pressure off your knees.
Change Your Path
Walking on the same surface for the same distance each workout, will not give your muscles, heart, and respiratory system the challenge it needs. You have to vary your workouts each session to continue to see progress in your body.
Try a new path or route and include a few hills or over uneven terrain to challenge your muscles and balance.
Use the Curb
After you are warmed up, stop at the curb and do a few sets of step ups. Step up quickly and come down slowly. Try 2-3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. You should feel your thighs and glutes working if you perform enough repetitions stepping down slowly and stepping up quickly.
Working your quads and your glutes builds the muscles in your legs. This protects your hips and knees from arthritis and aches.
Stretch and Cool Down
Now that you are pushing your walking routine a bit more, you will notice it’s a little harder to keep up the conversation with your walking partners. That’s a good thing! You know you are working yourself the right amount when you can continue to maintain a conversation, but you are slightly winded.
It’s important to cool down with some lighter walking for a few minutes and take 5 minutes to stretch your calves, quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
With these simple changes, you will get more from your walking program and see the results you are looking for in less time.
About the Author:
Aubrey Reinmiller is a certified personal trainer, a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, certified Senior Fitness Specialist, a Functional Aging Specialist, and author. She is the owner of Vitality Fitness and Wellness, a fitness studio helping those over 50 to reinvent aging! She offers online fitness solutions through www.AubreyReinmiller.com. Aubrey is the author of an Amazon Best Seller book, Reinvent Aging: The Over 50 Fitness Guide to Improve Energy, Strength and Balance.