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Sign up to the get fit newsletter
Sign up for the ''Get Fit'' Newsletter
  • Tips on managing Stress
  • Ways to stay motivated
  • The benefits of resistance training
  • How to improve your metabolism
  • Learn why "conventional" diets fail
  • How to target stubborn fat areas
  • Healthy and tasty recipes
  • What muscle soreness really means
  • Learn how exercise affects your mood
  • How to choose the right health club
  • Weight loss and diet myths revealed
  • Flexibility, how and when to stretch
  • How to build personal motivation
  • How to conquer procrastination
Email:
Name:
This Month In Body
  • Walk Your Way to Thin
    Walking is simple, convenient, and requires no special training or equipment. Want to burn more calories? You'll need to add a little variety to your walking routine. Here are a few ideas to get started. Read >>
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  • For All the Haters
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  • Belly Fat, Be Gone!
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Health and Fitness News

Walk Your Way to Thin

Get more out of your walks with these walking workouts.

Walking may be your go-to workout, and for good reason. It’s simple, convenient, and requires no special training or equipment. If you’ve got two legs that work, you can walk. But maybe you’re getting bored of your walks. The same path at the same pace each day can get old. Or perhaps you’ve reached a weight-loss plateau and no longer see results. It’s time to change things up.

Want to burn more calories? You can still walk, but try adding a little variety. Here are a few ideas.

Add Intervals

A great way to build speed, burn more calories, and get an effective workout is to add intervals to your walks. To do this, start out with a warm up by walking at an easy pace for about 10 minutes. Then walk as fast as you can at a brisk pace for a couple blocks or for 30 seconds. After this, slow your speed to an easy pace for two minutes. Repeat this pattern of 30 seconds at a brisk pace and two minutes at a normal pace 8 to 12 times. End your workout with a 10-minutes cool down at an easy pace.

Go the Distance

Once a week, set aside extra time for a longer workout that allows you to walk farther than usual. Plan for your long distance walks to take an hour or two. A distance workout helps build endurance while strengthening your heart. Set a goal to walk five to seven miles at a pace that’s 50 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your maximum heart rate, you’ll need to do a little math. All you have to do is subtract your age from 220. So, if you’re 40, your maximum heart rate is 180 beats per minute (bpm). Your target heart rate (50 to 60 percent of 180) is 90 to 108 beats per minute. At this pace, you should be able to carry on a conversation without trouble. Be sure to start your workout with a warm up and end with a cool-down period.

Try Speed Workouts

Including walks that focus on speed is one way to improve your athletic performance. This doesn’t necessarily mean walking at your fastest pace the entire workout. Rather, you’ll walk at a pace that’s faster than normal for the duration of your workout. Spend the first 10 minutes warming up at an easy pace. Pick up the pace for eight minutes. You should be at around 90 percent of your maximum heart rate during this time. Slow down to a normal pace for two minutes, then speed back up for another eight minutes. Repeat this pattern one or two more times. End your workout with a 10-minute cool down. During this workout, your heart rate and breathing will be elevated. If it’s easy to carry on a conversation, you’re not going fast enough. Speed up!

Include Recovery Days

In between the days you do intervals, long distance, or speed walks, give your body a day to rest. A couple days a week, plan a 45-minute recovery walk that’s about three miles long. Walk at a pace that puts your heart rate around 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. At 70 percent, a 40-year old’s heart rate will be around 126. Wear a heart rate monitor or fitness device to track your heart rate. Or do it the old fashioned way and take your pulse along the way. At this pace, you should be able to carry on a conversation but still feel slightly out of breath.