By Lisa James
Mixing things up is the key to motivation, no matter what fitness plan you follow. If walking is your thing, here are three ways to add a little variety to your outings.
Find Hilly Terrain: Walking on hills not only burns additional calories but also increases muscle tone by forcing your glutes, quadriceps and calves to work harder. What’s more, the extra effort boosts your heart rate for an even more intense cardio experience. Live in a flat area? Try finding a place that will allow you to incorporate stairs into your route.
Bring Weights: Carrying hand weights increases your effort level, which raises your calorie burn. To turn your walk into more of an arm workout, slowly lift your arms in front of you or out to your sides until parallel with your shoulders. If that requires too much coordination, simply close out your walk with a faster pace. No hand weights, no problem: Wearing a backpack filled with books or canned food will also help you burn extra calories.
Work in Some Lunges: This is a great way to keep moving while getting in a good stretch. Start with by taking a wide step forward and dipping down until your thigh is parallel to the ground; then as you start to stand back upright, “walk” forward by lunging out with the other leg. Repeat this motion as many times as you like, then go back to your regular gait. Walking lunges will help strengthen the muscles of your legs, hips, glutes and core.