Walking is one of the best things you can do for your health and there are ways to change it up to make it even better!

Change speeds! This challenges your balance and your muscles more than maintaining one speed for the duration of your walk.

If you walk the same route everyday try reversing it or walking somewhere new. This also helps keep your brain stimulated.

Try to include inclines and declines,( as long as you can do it safely), to work your muscles differently. This can also challenge your balance and posture. Make sure on the inclines you can remain up tall instead of leaning forward.

To work another set of muscles (the backs of your legs), as well as coordination and balance, try to add in walking backwards, safely of course.

Interval walking is a great way to change up your routine. It has both cardiovascular and muscular benefits. Recent studies in Japan found it also improved sleep, mood, metabolism, decreased blood pressure, and reduced age regulated muscle loss. Working on walking faster also helps improve your muscle power and balance.

The Japanese study found 3 minutes of fast walking and 3 minutes of moderate walking for 30 minutes total to be most beneficial, but I would recommended starting out with shorter bursts of fast walking. Example: start with 30 seconds fast walking and then 1-2 minutes of moderate walking.

How fast do you have to walk? Well it is up to you!

For maximum benefit, aim for increasing your heart rate and having a harder time conversing/talking. You will be slightly out of breath. Fast is considered to be 70% of your maximum effort.

For moderate walking speed, you want to be able to catch your breath and be able to walk while having a conversation. Moderate is considered to be 40% of your maximum effort.

Interval walking can be done anywhere, indoors or outdoors. It can be done for any fitness/ walking level. Doing it 3-4 times a week is recommended. I personally think that interval walking makes the time go by fast but also it’s more efficient because you don’t have to spend as much time doing it to be effective!

As always, let me know if you have questions or would like help with changing your walking routine!