Walking is an underrated form of exercise, and people often assume that the only way to make it challenging is to walk faster, jog, or even run. But there is another way to boost the intensity of your walks — and get a legitimate, full-body workout in the process: by adding quick bursts of body-weight strength-and-conditioning moves.
“I’m a huge fan of walking,” says Chris Freytag, CPT, founder of Get Healthy U TV. “People think it’s a waste of time, and I always say that intensity is the key.”
Walking is low impact, accessible, and affordable for most people — all you need is a pair of walking shoes. And as long as you pay attention to your intensity, it can give you a tough workout.
If you need proof, try Freytag’s 30-minute walking routine. This workout incorporates brisk walking intervals and several body-weight moves to strengthen your upper and lower body. “This isn’t your typical stroll,” Freytag says.
You can do the circuit around your neighborhood or at a local track, or on a treadmill or indoor track at your health club or gym. If you choose to do it on the treadmill, make sure you have space nearby to do the body-weight exercises. If you’d rather take your walk outside, keep in mind that you may need a bench or curb for your strength-and-conditioning moves.
Aim to maintain a brisk pace so you feel a little winded but are still able to hold a conversation. For most people, 3.5 to 4 mph is a good starting point, but don’t hesitate to adjust your pace to your fitness level.
For the strength-and-conditioning moves, modify as needed and focus on great form with each rep. Make the exercises easier or harder as needed without sacrificing form for speed.
Make It Easier: Use a curb, bench, sturdy planter, or other stable, elevated surface to perform pushups, triceps dips, mountain climbers, and burpees on an incline.
Make It Harder: Add a jump to the squats, lunges, and pushups. Extend your legs farther in front of you during the triceps dips.