Perhaps one of the most underrated forms of exercise, a simple walk outside can be your best bet for a workout that benefits your body, mind, and spirit. Friendly on your joints, filled with fresh air and the sounds and sights of nature, and requiring almost no special equipment, walking can be an easy step towards reaching those daily activity goals on your fitness tracker.
But what if you’re ready for more? If you’re craving more intensity while protecting your knees and hips from the impact of running, intervals can be the boost you need to accelerate your weight loss goal.
Interval walking takes advantage of short bursts of faster walking mixed into your regular walk to help you burn more fat and calories. Intervals can be timed or based on distance and are designed to be fast enough to get your heart rate up while being short enough to not exhaust you.
After each faster-paced interval, a short recovery interval allows you to catch your breath and recover. Interval walking is one of the best ways to improve your level of fitness, burn more calories, and even transition to a jogging or running program.
Before you start any exercise program, it is important to check with your doctor to make sure that you are healthy enough for a vigorous workout. Wear supportive shoes, and a fitness watch if you have one. You can also use a stopwatch or a wrist watch with a second hand. You just need to be able to track 30-90 seconds!
Begin with a 5-minute warm up walk at your regular walking pace. Gradually increase your pace until you are at a moderate level of intensity, still able to carry on a conversation with a friend.
After your warm up, it’s time to try your first interval. The objective is simple: walk briskly enough to increase your heart rate and boost the intensity of your workout. Pump your arms, stride confidently, and take shorter and quicker steps than you usually would. Really work to push yourself for 30 seconds!
Then, congratulations! Your first interval is complete! Walk at your regular pace for 90 seconds and let your heart rate and breathing recover to your usual level of effort.
That’s it! Intervals can be repeated as many times as you would like and have time for, allowing for a 5-minute cool down to end your workout. We recommend at least four sets of intervals during your walk.
As you get stronger and more conditioned, you can increase the intensity or duration of the intervals. Keep in mind a ratio of 1:3 - rest for three times the amount of the effort. But, this is just a guide. If you need more rest in between intervals, start where you feel your best!
Interval walking boosts the calories you burn in a workout, so it’s perfect for those days when time is short but you want to get a good sweat. This workout is also a good transition into jogging or running. Listen to your body and accept the challenge!
Your Wellview Personal Trainer is here to help customize your workout. If you have questions about interval walking or any other form of exercise you’re curious about, schedule a consult today and take the first step.
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
Heather Fuselier, CHWC, CFP, TTS
Health Advisor | Email Heather