5 Perfect Ways To Turn Your Walk Into A Workout


I’m all for multitasking-except when I’m walking, and especially if I’m on a treadmill. I cringe every time I see people shuffling at the slowest possible speed at the gym so they can better read their book or magazine. Sorry, guys, but that doesn’t cut it.

In fact, back when I used to team up with Reebok to create walking programs, the one message we all learned is that the best way to reap the benefits of walking is to pick up your pace. And, the latest exercise research continues to bear that out. The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that found that older adults who maintained a 2.5 mile-per-hour pace had a greater 10-year survival rates than people who walked more slowly. Those results held true across all age groups, and I wanted to jump for joy. This is a message that never gets old.

In addition to walking more quickly, here are 5 other tips to perk up your walking workout-and live longer and healthier as a result:

1. Posture

Stand tall, imagine a string coming from the top of your head pulling you up. then tilt your body forward slightly from the ankles, not the hips or waist. Don’t arch your lower back or stick your butt out. Keep your spine in a neutral position by contracting your abdominals. For a more in-depth description of posture, click here.

2. Head Position

Don’t tilt your head from side to side, and don’t drop your chin forward. your eyes should focus straight ahead and not on your feet, so you don’t strain your neck.

3. Shoulders

Your shoulders should be down and back; open your chest for easier, deeper breathing. As you walk, check your shoulders regularly. Are you slouching? Are your shoulders creeping up toward your ears

4. Arms

Let your arms swing freely, but with purpose. It improves your balance, increases circulation, and burns more calories. While walking at your normal pace, swing your arms forward, not across your body. Imagine your body on a clock face, viewed from the side, with your head at twelve o’clock. Your arms should swing from seven o’clock (just behind your hips) to four o’clock (about belly button height).

Since your arms and legs work in unison, your legs can’t speed up until your arms do. To get your arms pumping more quickly, start by putting a 90-degree bend in your elbow, holding your hands in a loose fist. Swing forward, not side to side, keeping elbows close to your side.

5. Feet

Strike the ground with your heel and let your foot roll forward naturally. At the end of your stride, really push off with your toes, to propel your body forward. Concentrate on pulling up your toes as your legs swing forward. At faster paces, you’ll start catching them on the ground. Use a stride length that’s comfortable for you. Don’t over-stride.

Focus on walking at moderate, steady-state pace, using proper form and technique. If you feel that you want to do more, go ahead and increase your walk by 5-10 minutes keeping the intensity moderate.

If you’re working out “aerobically” for more than four times a week, feel free to choose another activity for one or two workouts, just to get some variety going.