Many people are now familiar with the walking recommendation of 10,000 steps per day. Because if you move a lot in everyday life, you do something good for your health. But you can do even more: With minor changes, the walk becomes a real fitness booster.
Weights In Hand
Unfortunately, the upper body is neglected when walking – while the trunk muscles are still being trained, the muscles on the shoulders and arms have a break. There is a simple remedy: pick up weights! It is best to grab small dumbbells weighing 0.5 kilograms while swinging your arms. Alternatively, cuffs with consequences can be attached to the wrists. This strengthens the arm muscles in particular. In addition, the metabolism is boosted. Because, as scientists found out, just swinging your arms has a positive effect on your metabolism, but only at medium and fast walking speeds. 2
Caution: Do not use this fitness booster while running! Experts agree that extra weight when jogging is bad for your health. They cause the running style to deteriorate and the load on the joints to increase. It is therefore not advisable to carry weights when jogging. On the other hand, walking can be used briefly to strengthen the muscles. Make sure you walk upright and don’t bend your wrists. If you experience painful wrist strain, stop using weights and seek expert advice (e.g., sports medicine doctor, physical therapist).
When walking, you have a specific parameter at your disposal to get more out of your fitness: the walking speed. When you increase your running speed, not only do you burn more calories, but you also increase your fat metabolism and improve your endurance. You don’t have to goose step all the time. It’s enough to vary your speed and occasionally increase your pace for a few minutes.
It has also been proven that walking speed is an essential indicator of general fitness and health. Therefore, it is also counted among the so-called vital signs. 3 So make a conscious effort to pick up the pace a bit and walk faster.
Walk On Tiptoe
Not only can you vary your pace, but you can also vary your walking style. A straightforward exercise to strengthen your calves is to walk on tiptoe. You will immediately notice the tension in the calf muscles. In addition, you can also consciously tighten the buttock muscles while walking and thus train the buttocks. Walking on tiptoe also strengthens the foot muscles. A simple exercise in killing several birds with one stone. So: No mercy for the calf!
Don’t Miss The Stairs
A very effective way to increase fitness while walking is to take the stairs from time to time. Or to put it better: Don’t miss a chance to use the stairs. Studies have shown that it can improve endurance and the cardiovascular system. 4The fitness boost is immediately noticeable through the increased breathing rate. The thighs and buttocks, in particular, are trained. In the future, therefore, avoid using aids that help to overcome differences in height (elevator, escalators, etc.) when walking as often as possible, and consciously integrate stairs on your way. Many parks with lookout hills offer an ideal opportunity to spice up the walk. Ambitious people run up and down several times – fitness and health benefit from this.
Look For Hilly Routes
It is part of everyday life for people in mountain regions to cope with inclines. Walking upstairs also ensures an increased heart rate and respiratory rate and thus strengthens the cardiovascular system. So consciously choose places to walk that have angles. Parks in cities also usually offer this option. If you decide not to take the (easy) flat route but rather the (demanding) hilly route, you will experience a real fitness boost.
Walk Backward In Between
Several studies have shown that walking backward improves the walking style and improves balance and mobility in both children and adults who have suffered a stroke. 5,6 Balance training in particular also protects older people from falls. Anyone who regularly walks backward for a few minutes improves their general gait. But try it out carefully first, preferably with a training partner. If you feel confident, you can also try looking back over your shoulder on your own. This is not only a proper exercise but also makes walking fun.