From Walk To Workout

Tips to Enhance Your Stroll

Just getting back into fitness? We talked to Forte Fitness Trainer Matthew Walters about simple ways to turn a walk into a full-fledged workout. Don’t miss these tips!

Add weight.

Increase the intensity of your walk by adding weight for resistance. Incorporate dumbbells if you have them at home, but don’t stop there. “Go just a little bit heavier so you have that muscle-building stimulus added to the workout,” says Walters.

Another tip? Reduce the amount of time and distance you walk, and add even more weight. “Heavier weights will make the walk more of a loaded carry,” Walters explains.

Another weight-adding option is to carry a heavy backpack or wear a weighted vest. “Adding some kind of external resistance is a great way to get you huffing and puffing,” Walters adds. “It will build muscle and burn fat at a faster rate.

A disclaimer:

Walters warns against adding weight to the ankles and other parts of the lower body, as this can put unnecessary stress on joints.

asian woman walking with weights

Incorporate interval training.

If walking is your go-to exercise, don’t forget to switch it up. Walk slowly for a period of time, change up your speed to that of a brisk pace, and then switch back to slow walking. “Interval training promotes fat loss in a much more efficient way than steady cardio,” says Walters. “Intervals train your body to become more efficient at a higher rate, and your body has to adapt to that heart rate to slow back down to a walking or resting pace.” The result is the same cardiovascular benefits in a shorter amount of time. “Don’t get stuck in one routine, because your body is going to adapt pretty quickly,” Walters says. “Try to increase the intensity of your walk week-to-week and even day-to-day.”

Don’t forget to use your arms.

The more you flex, the better, so don’t forget to use your upper body when you’re walking without weights. According to Walters, you should maintain a 90-degree angle with your elbows, and add in motion with your shoulder joints. Try to keep your elbows in fairly tight to your torso. “Once you get the arms moving, you’re going to move a little bit faster,” Walters says.

Consider walking in water.

With colder days around the corner, water walking might not be an option for a while. But for those with access to an indoor pool, consider taking your workout to the water. “If you have the ability to walk, run, or get your knees up in any aquatic surface, that’s great,” says Walters. Water provides added resistance, giving your muscles an extra workout and reducing strain on joints.

Another Disclaimer:

Make sure the water is at least waist deep for the best resistance. The deeper you go, the more resistance you’ll have.

woman hiking outdoors in Chattanooga

Get outside.

If walking inside on the treadmill is your only option – go for it.  But, according to Walters, you’ll gain more by stepping out your front door. “You’ll benefit from being outside, interacting with different elements, and getting fresh air and a direct source of vitamin D,” says Walters. While elevation and speed can be adjusted on the treadmill, pushing yourself to walk outside can expose you to rugged trails and hills, which add resistance and get your heart pumping. Plus, being outside is great for boosting your overall mood.

Picture of Matthew Walters

Matthew Walters

Trainer, Forte Fitness

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