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Walking with weights and walking for Cardio
Walking is great exercise but often times we don’t get our heart rates up enough to call it “cardio”.
I know when I’m out with friends, we often end up chatting and although we have a great time, we find ourselves at a fairly relaxed pace.
We talked in a previous post all about the importance of cross training
And we weren’t kidding! Cross training a must for serious athletes.
Sure, swimming and biking are great and part of a healthy workout routine.
However, don’t overlook the fact that a good walking workout is also a great way to change things up.
You probably know that you need to do cardiovascular exercise.
Cardio reduces your risks of developing heart diseases and type 2 diabetes. It also relieves stress and helps you lose weight.
But let’s face it, cardio is hard. Running, jumping and intense workouts like Crossfit are difficult and not for everyone.
If you have injuries, medical conditions, or just don’t want to feel like you might vomit while exercising, what can you do to stay fit?
The answer could be walking. Walking is a great way to get exercise because it is gentle on your joints but works many muscle groups.
Not only that, but done right, it also increases your heart rate.
Walking also improves your bone health as well as your balance and coordination.
The key to getting the most out of your walking sessions is to increase the intensity in different ways.
Sure, a leisurely stroll is relaxing, but if you are serious about getting in shape, then you need to add in a bit more resistance to your walks.
You do this by changing the pace, walking with weights, and tackling some hills!
Of course, we always recommend that you check with your doctor before embarking on a new exercise routine of any sort.
Mix Up the Pace with a Hike-Walk
Adding intervals into your walks will keep you from getting bored and will help burn more calories.
Hiking on trails is great because of the changing terrain which often includes hills.
This challenges several of the major muscle groups like the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes.
In addition to the physical benefits oftentimes, you get to enjoy some beautiful scenery.
With hiking, you can connect with nature and work those muscles at the same time.
Just be sure to invest in a good pair of hiking shoes; especially when you’re walking with weights out there on the trails.
They are specially designed for the changing terrains and are quite different from a regular walking shoe that you’d use on the sidewalks.
Of course, you should stay out of tall grass and do a thorough tick check afterwards. Bring bug spray and use often.
Some avid hikers recommend that you wear a hat and light colored permethrin-treated clothing when hiking for both safety and comfort; like the items shown below.
Please do a little research before you wander out in the woods for a hike.
There are other important hiking safety tips and this hiking resources web site is a good place to start.
When you begin adding in intervals, start slowly.
Add in 30 – 60 second intervals of very intense walking and then go back down to a moderate pace for four minutes.
You can gradually increase your interval times and speed as you get more comfortable.
Walking faster can also increase your core and shoulder strength because you will be swinging your arms faster to propel yourself forward.
Do not be surprised when you feel a little sore the next day.
Walking uphill is great for heart and muscle health.
You burn up to 50% more calories walking on an incline than walking on a flat course and you increase lower body strength.
Building muscle speeds your metabolism so that you burn more calories, even when you are not working out!
This will speed up weight loss, not to mention make you much stronger.
If you do not live in a hilly area, you can still get the benefit of walking uphill on a treadmill, a staircase or even a parking garage.
Start with a low incline if you are on a treadmill and gradually increase the incline as you become comfortable.
Try not to hold onto the rails and swing your arms, mimicking walking up a hill or staircase.
Add Some Weights
Walking with weights will help you burn more calories and increase muscle.
You heart rate will go up much more quickly when you increase the amount of weight you carry while you walk.
You can read more about why it is a good idea to add hand weights to help with arm strength in this article here.
One thing to be careful of though, is to start light. Start with small hand weights or use light ankle weights.
Starting slowly means use a light weight of 1 pound and work your way up to no more than 3 slowly.
Weights can either be strapped onto your hands/wrists/ankles or carried.
Pay attention to your form and set the weights aside if you start to feel soreness.
If you prefer to walk more slowly because of previous injuries, then wearing a weighted vest (image link below) might be the best option for you.
You can get the benefits of uphill or interval exercise without pounding the pavement harder than usual.
Walking might not seem like an intense exercise but it is extremely beneficial to your body.
It is safe enough to do every day. Being able to stay consistent will help you lose weight and build muscle.
Remember, you do not have to get your heart rate up incredibly high, but you should feel like you are working.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and watch out for uneven terrain or cracks in sidewalks.
Most importantly, have fun trying new ways to make your walk more of a challenge.
When you enjoy doing something you will obviously do it more often and therefore, be more consistent with it.
In order to reap the benefits of any exercise routine, it has to be done consistently.
You can create your own workout routine rather easily.
This post on how to create your own workout routine provides all you need to know to get started on a personalized plan of action to get in shape!
All it takes is a half hour or so really. Think you need more? Just see what 30 minutes of walking can do for you in this post called
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Disclaimer:The information provided in this website is for informational purposes. It is based on my own personal experiences and opinions. I am not a medical doctor and what is written should not be used to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. The product links are not meant to be construed as medications or treatments and you should consult your doctor before taking any supplements, herbal products, or starting exercise programs. We may earn money on product links but all opinions are our own.