How to Work the Walk

walkNo matter how hard you try, some people are just not runners.  Walking, on the other hand, is something most everyone can do.  If running isn’t your speed, there are ways to maximize your walk that will make sure you get the most out of your workout.

Body Position

Shoulders should be back and relaxed with your eyes looking forward and your chin level.  A lot of people are unsure what to do with their arms, but for this the arms should be bent at the elbows ninety degrees, relaxed and swinging forward and back.

You can also shape and firm your butt by making sure to squeeze your glutes together as you push off with your back foot.  Keep those abs tight by pulling in your tummy muscles.  This will not only tone but burn more calories too.

As far as footwork goes, you’ll want to strike the ground with the heel, rolling forward through the arch of the foot and then push off from your toes.  Heel/toe should be your mantra.

Challenge Yourself

If you want to make your workout a bit more challenging, you can try adding weight.  Hand and ankle weights should be avoided, however.  If you want to add weights try a backpack or a weighted vest. You should also consider adding Nordic walking poles.  These have been found to increase calorie burn by 50%.

You can also take it up a notch by adding intervals.  Lift your knees towards your chest as you walk to do soldier kicks where you keep your knees straight.  Inner and outer thigh muscles can be targeted through increasing your stride length. Try one minute intervals of walking backwards (safely) or doing a sideways shuffle for a minute.  Unusual movement is challenging and works those muscles even harder.  You can also try to increase your speed in short bursts or climb stairs in order to increase your calorie burn.

Don’t shy away from hills or uneven terrain.  Hills help to tone those glutes and the back of your thighs and also help you to burn more calories. Walking on trails, grass, sand, gravel or snow will take your workout to the next level as you maneuver across the landscape.

No matter how you do it, just remember that the most important thing is to get yourself up and moving.  Start slow and build yourself up, before you know it you’ll find it to be a breeze!  And those glutes will look nice too!  

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Nicolas Alejandro

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