Supercharge Your Walk

Walking is one of the easiest ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine

Credit: Wellness Matters

Grab a friend and take a walk

Walk your way to improved health with these easy tips

Walking is a fun, easy way to keep fit – and anyone can do it! Even walking at a moderate pace of 3 miles/5 kilometres per hour (for at least 30 minutes on most days) has been found to strengthen the heart, improve circulation, combat depression, boost the immune system, improve sleep, prevent osteoporosis, prevent and control diabetes, and help control weight.

Walking delivers less impact to the joints than running, which makes it a great activity for a new exerciser, plus you burn the same amount of calories walking a mile as running a mile.

Make some modifications to your walk

Here are five ideas to make your walking workout more of a challenge:

  1. Change the surface. Walking on sand or soft grass can make your workout a little harder, as the muscles are challenged and used in a different way.

  2. Walk faster. Walking too slowly won’t get your heart rate up. Picking up the pace increases the intensity of the walk. 

  3. Try interval training. Add short bursts of speed or an occasional steep hill or a staircase to your walking workout. This increases the intensity and the number of calories burned.

  4. Use your arms. Swing your arms to ramp up the intensity. You can also involve the arms and upper body by using walking poles (like Nordic walkers) to work the upper body and increase the calorie burn.

  5. Cross train. Try other activities (hiking, step aerobics, bicycling and skiing) to involve other muscles, keep your body challenged and alleviate boredom.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.