Walking is a great way to get in the recommended amount of physical activity, but there is a misconception that walking is less effective than other workout routines. However, walking is highly beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight, improving cardiovascular health, increasing energy levels, strengthening muscles and bones, reducing stress and tension, and more. Additionally, walking is easier on your joints than other aerobic exercises, such as running, which puts more pressure on your knees.

If you want to maximize the effects of your walking routine or simply spice up your workout, there are a few things you can do. Our team at The Grove on Forest Lane, a senior living community in Dallas, Texas, is sharing tips on how to give your walking routine a boost!

1. Add a Little Weight

Cardio or aerobic exercises and strength training don’t have to be mutually exclusive. As we mentioned, walking can help strengthen your muscles and bones. Adding extra weight to your walking routine can enhance this benefit.

To do this, carry a couple of weights with you during your walk or strap on a pair of ankle weights. This is a great way to make your everyday walk more challenging while building muscle.

2. Incorporate Intervals

Switch up your walking routine by altering your pace. For example, walk slower for a period of time followed by an interval of a quicker pace. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you need to run. Your slower pace interval could be a focused one where you could maintain a conversation while your faster pace increases your heart rate to a point where you would only be able to speak in short sentences.

3. Use Music to Set the Tempo

If you like listening to music during your walk or workout, why not let it dictate your pace? Choose songs with an upbeat tempo and walk with the beat. This will not only help increase the intensity but also helps keep it fun. Who knows, maybe you will find yourself incorporating a few dance moves into your walking routine!

4. Walk in a Different Direction

This doesn’t mean taking a left instead of a right but walking in intervals of either sideways or backward directions. This uses different muscle groups in your legs. “Walking backward causes us to take shorter, more frequent steps, leading to improved muscular endurance for the muscles of the lower legs while reducing the burden on our joints (sciencealert.com).”

Be careful when doing this, though, so you don’t lose your balance or trip over something behind you.

5. Change the Terrain

Walking on a forest trail, pavement, beach sand, etc., are all different experiences. As such, they work the muscles in your legs differently. If you can do so, switch up your walking routine by trying out a different terrain once in a while. Just be careful when you do, and be sure to wear proper footwear for each.

At The Grove on Forest Lane, our senior living community in Dallas, Texas, offers residents multiple options when it comes to boosting their walking routine. In addition to our on-site fitness center, we also have outdoor walking trails for individuals to explore and enjoy!

6. Add Incline

Utilizing hills or the incline feature on a treadmill is another great way to enhance your walking routine. This automatically increases the intensity of your walk by increasing your heart rate, working your quads, glutes, and more.

While you may be tempted to lean forward, it is important to maintain proper posture. Leaning too far forward when walking on an incline can cause you to lose your balance and put unnecessary pressure on your joints.

The spring season is the perfect time of year to get out and start a new walking routine or give your existing one a fresh boost! However, it is always recommended to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your fitness and exercise routine.

If you would like to learn more about how we help residents at The Grove on Forest Lane lead active, purposeful lives, we invite you to visit our website or contact a member of our team.