Working out at the gym can be a great way to get in shape and relieve stress, but sometimes it’s worth it to switch things up. Going for a walk is a great alternative to the gym that still helps you keep moving, lose weight and reach your goals. Walking can also help boost your mood, clear your mind and get in tune with nature, which is known to boost health. The next time you want to get in a workout without going to the gym, try one of these four options to up your walking game:
If you like the stairclimber or the leg press, try hill walking.
Besides raising your heart rate for a more intense, higher calorie burning session, it also helps build strength in your quads and glutes. If you have a trail nearby or have time to drive to one, this is an excellent option to enjoy a change of scenery and the great outdoors. If not, all you need is a short-to-moderate hill. Ideally the hill takes 30 seconds to 1-minute to reach the top.
Walk to the top and complete 8–10 intervals, walking as fast as you can from the bottom to the top. Recover by walking back down to the bottom of the hill at a pace that allows you to catch your breath and repeat.
If you like HIIT class, try walking intervals.
Raising your heart rate improves your endurance, burns more calories and helps you get in better shape overall. If you don’t have a lot of time, one way you can get in an excellent workout fast is by doing short bursts of intervals during your walk. This raises the intensity and gets your heart rate into a higher training zone, lowering the amount of time you need to work out to receive the same benefits.
For example, if you only have time for a 20–30-minute walk around the neighborhood, incorporate short intervals. For every 4 minutes you walk, pick up the pace and either walk as fast as you can or jog at a moderate pace for 1 minute. Return to your normal walking pace and repeat for the duration of your workout.
If you like vinyasa yoga or Pilates, try bodyweight circuits.
Taking the kids on a walk to a local park is a daily routine for a lot of parents. But just because you have to bring a stroller doesn’t mean a great workout isn’t possible. While you’re walking in the park, there are lots of bodyweight options you can incorporate along the way such as lunges, stepups on bench, a quick set of pushups, squats or burpees. Not only are you getting a full-body workout, but you’re also able to bond outdoors with your kids in the process.
If you’re always by the weight racks, try light dumbells.
Weight training can help you build muscle and strengthen your bones. Walking can provide these same benefits, and if you choose to combine the two you’ll get an even better workout. Try wearing wrist weights or holding a pair of light 2-pound dumbbells while you walk to tone your arms and shoulders. If you want to strengthen your core and build muscle in your quads and glutes, a more intense workout option is to walk with a weighted vest.