Fit into everyday life
Turn your walk into a workout with these 5 fitness hacks
In stressful everyday life, there is often not enough time for an intensive fitness session. Even a long walk can take on the character of a workout, if you incorporate these tricks and exercises.
It doesn’t always have to be the full-scale cardio unit and training equipment at the gym—even small islands of movement in everyday life have many health benefits. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends around 150 minutes of moderate exercise and 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week to stay fit and healthy. In this way you prevent cardiovascular diseases and reduce the risk of other diseases such as diabetes.
Movement units can consist of a wide variety of sports and activities; after all, people and their needs are very individual. Walking is a real all-rounder here: just 30 minutes a day improves heart health, strengthens bones, reduces unhealthy body fat, and builds muscle and endurance. If you also enhance your walk with these fitness tricks, it becomes the optimal training.
5 exercises and tricks that turn walking into a fitness session
1. Pick up the pace
The easiest way to increase the character of your training is speed. When you increase your walking pace, you burn more calories, put more stress on your muscles and cardiovascular system, and increase fat metabolism. However, you don’t have to walk at a very high pace all the time; it’s enough if you vary the speed over and over again and insert small power walks in between.
2. Uphill route
The geography of your route also greatly influences how fit you are while walking. A path with slight inclines is best, as this will further increase your breathing and heart rate. Admittedly, people who live in mountainous regions find it easier to incorporate this fitness trick into their hike. But even those who live in the flat country usually do not have to do without it completely. Urban parks in particular often have (artificial) slopes that are perfect for walking with that extra bit.
3. Install stairs
If you want to go a step further, you can add steps to your walk. Because climbing stairs has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and thus greatly increases the effect of walking. If you don’t have any or only a few stairs in your area to incorporate into your route, you can alternatively integrate the steps into your own home at the beginning and/or end of your walk as reinforcement.
4. Walk backwards
Would you like to challenge your endurance and muscles, as well as your balance and mobility? So you should walk backwards during your walk. Even a few minutes of walking backwards can have very positive effects on your physical and mental health. However, start very carefully and ideally with a training partner to prevent falls.
5. Hand weights
Walking is a good exercise for the whole body, but we naturally put less stress on the upper body than on the legs. We activate our core muscles when we walk, but our shoulders and arms could use a bit of a physical boost. Dumbbells are perfect for that! They don’t have to be heavy weights: depending on your form, you can strap 1-2 pound dumbbells to your wrists or simply hold them in your hand while doing your lap. This strengthens the muscles of the arms and shoulders and also increases metabolism.
Sources used: who.int, fitbook.de