You may have been walking since you were a toddler, but have you mastered walking for exercise? Walking is an easy, cheap and fun way to burn calories and stay fit – as long as it’s done safely and effectively. Here are seven ways to improve your walking to ensure you get the most out of your next walking workout.
1. Set goals
Working out is about constantly improving. That means not doing the same distance or pace for multiple weeks in a row. Set yourself short- and long-term distance and pace goals to ensure your results don’t become stagnant.
2. Track your workouts
This step makes the first step much easier! By tracking your distance and time, you can set easily measured goals to compare to next time. There are plenty of step-counter and running apps available for free that will keep encourage you to meet your set goals.
3. Walk with a distraction
Read this one carefully. We don’t want you running down the street while watching your favorite online shows, but there are safe distractions available to keep your mind off the workout. Walk your dog, push the stroller or listen to an e-book, and you’ll find your workouts don’t feel quite as long as before.
4. Switch up your route
This one is good for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you should switch things up to make the walk more enjoyable. If you’re walking into new environments, you’ll be distracted by new scenery and focus less on the walking. Secondly, you should push yourself to try a more difficult route. Challenge yourself to take the route with more stairs or hills next time!
5. Watch your posture
If you’re the type to stare at the ground or lean over the stroller, this one is for you. Posture is critical for preventing muscle imbalance and injury. For best posture, walk with a straight back, keep your head up, and engage your glutes and abs. Make sure you have proper footwear.
Yes, it might seem unnecessary for such a common exercise, but stretching can be very beneficial, especially if you’re taking the hills and stairs. Without proper stretching, your muscles will tighten, and you’ll slowly lose mobility and increase the chances of injury. So remember to start with a warm-up and end with a cooldown, taking both of these opportunities to stretch. Your body will thank you.