Ramp up your fitness level, blast calories or just make your regular walks more interesting with interval walking. It incorporates short bursts of more intense, or different, activity into your regular walking regimen, says Marjorie J. Albohm, president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association in Dallas. Here’s how to give it a try.
Ramp it up
If you want to improve your fitness or lose pounds, increase your effort and pace at regular intervals as you walk, says Albohm.
In an Australian study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, women who performed interval training lost significantly more fat than those who exercised at a consistent pace.
There are plenty of ways to perform interval walking, says Albohm. For example, using your watch to guide you, walk at your regular pace for four minutes and pick up the pace for one minute, or use the interval setting on your treadmill. For outdoor walks, quicken your pace between certain landmarks, such as mailboxes, driveways or parked cars.
Mix it up
To get a well-rounded exercise routine without overtaxing your joints, Albohm recommends stopping for a change of exercise at regular intervals along your walk. For example, stop after a certain time period to stretch or do some arm exercises. If you’re in a gym, alternate walking on the treadmill with upper-body weight work. “Upper extremity strength is important, too,” says Albohm, “and you don’t want to stress the lower extremities, especially if that is where your arthritis is.”
Walk With Ease, the Arthritis Foundation’s proven effective walking program, can help you get moving, shed pounds and feel better. You can use it as part of a walking group, or by yourself.