Walking: 5 ways to make your walk work harder for your fitness goals

Walking is very beneficial to our health, but it can also be transformed into a proper workout. Here's how

walking
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Walking has myriad benefits for both physical and mental health, but did you know that, with a few tweaks, walking can become part of a proper workout regimen? If you have a fitness goal that seems difficult to achieve at this point, walking could be a great first step (pardon the pun) to getting there. Find out how to take your daily walks to a whole new level.

Then, head to our health hub page for more advice.

1. Combine walking with running

One of the easiest ways to boost the benefits of your walking is to introduce a bit of running. Start with a minute at a time, then gradually increase the ratio of running to walking. Basically, your heart will work harder and you will use more energy (if that's what you want). Need encouragement? Read our guide to Couch to 5K to find out more about this app that's taking over the nation's home workouts during lockdown.

2. Walk while swinging your arms

If walking has one disadvantage, it's that it primarily tones your lower body. To redress the balance, swing your arms vigorously as you walk: this will tone your arms, shoulders, and torso.

  • Want to tone your arms more? Don't miss our guide to the best dumbbells

3. Combine walking with HIIT training

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a short-burst, intense type of workout that lasts no longer than 20 minutes and uses a combination of jogging on the spot, lunges, squats, and/or push-ups. Not for the faint of heart (literally as well as figuratively), this type of exercise burns up to 30 per cent more calories than other types of exercise. Do be careful with it, though: this is usually a next-level exercise if you've already been running and want to take it up a notch.

It's easier to do HIIT with the help of a cross trainer – check out the best in our buyer's guide. 

High intensity training can take on any form you like, whether it's running on a spot, skipping with a rope, or even going for a short, fast swim. These short bursts of activity will boost your heart rate and metabolism in a way walking alone won't. 

4. Walk uphill whenever you can

Walking uphill improves resistance, as well as being an excellent toning exercise for your legs and thighs. If you're finding it too hard work, use walking sticks to help steady you. 

5. Try purposeful walking

Walking with a purpose has been shown to be more beneficial than just strolling – it even burns more calories. So, try to have a specific route or destination in mind and stick to it.