If you close your eyes for a moment you can hear him utter these words, “Never underestimate the power of walking.” Who? But Yoda, of course. Okay, he never said that but it could be, couldn’t it?
As much as we love to run and as much as we do nothing but talk about how good it is, we don’t disdain walking; in fact, we just love it. The benefits of walking should not be minimized either: while it is true that an hour of walking is less metabolically effective than an hour of running, it is equally true that it brings many other benefits: it improves circulation, sharpens thinking, burns calories, tones muscles, and creates undoubted well-being. Compared to running, it also has another, undoubted advantage: you can do it even if it is very hot.
If you want to make walking even more effective, you can also turn it into a real workout, thanks to the five programs offered by Very Well Fit.
Regular and fast
Let’s start with a basic workout that alternates regular walking at your usual gait with a faster one. Keep in mind the run times, the sequence and then the progressions, which you will do only in workouts after the first one.
- 5-10 minutes of regular walking
- 1 minute brisk walk
- 1 minute of regular walking
- Repeat for 30 minutes
As you become more comfortable, increase the brisk walking sessions to 5 minutes while keeping the normal/regular walking sessions to one minute.
This workout partially helps with overall tone because it is not particularly strenuous but is great for the mind because it gives you clarity of thought, relaxation and better blood circulation.
Let’s start getting serious. Power walking is very similar to regular walking but at a faster pace and with the introduction of arm movement arranged by holding the elbow at 90° and alternating with the legs to balance the momentum.
Power walking looks a lot like proper running, except for the speed and the fact that one foot is always in contact with the ground (in fact, if you notice when you run your feet both come off the ground, before alternately one or the other touches it and then takes off).
Tip: Take short, frequent strides, not long ones because the longer you lengthen your stride, the more you will land on your heel, eventually curbing your gait.
How to do it? Like that:
- Walk normally for 5-10 minutes
- Walk fast (power walking) for 20 minutes
- Walk normally for 5 minutes to relax.
A great workout if you are short on time, it is very effective in improving cardiac efficiency and fortifying the buttocks, thighs and calves. It is not particularly suitable for those with hip or knee problems.
How to do it:
- Walk normally for 5 minutes on a flat surface to warm up
- Climb the stairs for two minutes, trying to maintain a steady pace
- Go down the stairs normally and then rest for 1 minute
- Repeat for 15 to 20 minutes.
Mix between walking and free-body exercises
Does just walking bore you? Why not introduce some free-body exercises to disrupt the patterns a bit? The result is twofold: you can vary your workout and be less bored, and you can incorporate very useful exercises that train your whole body, not just your legs. Which ones? You can choose your favorite ones (push-ups, sit-ups, burpees) by incorporating them into your workout as follows:
- 5 minutes of relaxed walking
- 5 minutes of more brisk walking
- Free-body exercise of your choice repeated 10 or 20 times (or more, the higher the level of training)
- Repeat the circuit for 5 times.
Walking with weighted vest
This is the master level, and it might be reminiscent of the Karate Kid training: in fact, it involves walking … wearing a weighted vest to increase your body weight. These vests have variable weight because of the ballasts you can add or remove. Those who practice this type of training start with an additional 1 kg and then add as fitness allows.
How to practice it?
- Walk for 5 minutes without a weighted vest at a normal gait
- Walk normally for 15 to 20 minutes wearing it.
The benefits of such training are improved speed, endurance and physical strength. You can also burn more calories and tone your legs more effectively.
It is not the case to have a drink at a bar with it, but otherwise it could become a very good friend of yours.