Improve the Move: Walking Workout
Walking is a great workout for beginners to start a fitness routine, as an anti-aging cardio routine for older adults, and for athletes on days when they are “resting.” For the rest of us, it’s a perfect for the days when you feel tired and not in the mood for a hard core sweat session, because you can probably motivate yourself if you think it’s just a walk in the park.
Before you think “Not Prancercising?!” don’t worry, these won’t look silly. I have taken plyometric cardio moves from my Booty Camp video and made them a little easier, but they still look and feel like a great workout. Whether going for a walk on a trail, or just marching in place in your living room, these 5 moves add more variety and muscle toning to your walking workout.
1-Step knee to kick and hop:
While marching in place or walking on a trail or track, do a rhythm of step right (1) , lift left knee, (2) put left foot down (3), step right (4), step left (1), then lift right knee (2), then put right foot down (3), then left (4). Repeat. (Make it harder: add a hop so that the foot you step on leaves the ground.) Do this for 30-second intervals, then change the knee to a low kick. To kick, lift the knee first, then kick the heel out with a flexed foot. Retract the foot back in with knee bent, then lower foot to the ground, keeping the rhythm of step/kick/step/step.
March in place or walk for 30 seconds.
If walking, then lengthen your step to about the length of one of your legs in front of you, and land your right heel, midfoot, then ball of foot into a right lunge with the knee over the ankle (if it is over the toe or past the toe, you need to step your feet farther away from each other.) Push off your front leg to bring your back left leg next to the right. Step forward into a lunge with your left and repeat for a 30 second interval. Do 4 sets of walking and walking lunges.
If marching in place, step the right leg forward into the lunge, then step it back to meet your left leg. Step the left leg forward into a lunge, then step back again to start position to do the intervals.
(Trainer’s tip-Keep your shoulders lined up over your hips to avoid leaning forward and putting strain on the knee and low back.)
If walking, do 30 seconds of a regular gate, then step your right leg wide and left leg wide, then on the next step bring the feet back in. You can add arms to the move by lifting your right arm out in front with your right leg, and left arm with the left leg at shoulder level to work your delts. Place hands back on hips
March in place or walk down the trail for 8 steps. Stop walking, bend your knees and place your hands on the ground. Walk your hands out in front of you for a count of 4, so that your body forms a plank with head, shoulder hips and heels in one line parallel to the ground, then walk the hands back in immediately. March again for 8 counts and repeat this series 8 times to work your arms, chest and abs along with your legs. (Trainer’s tip: make it harder by adding a jump after you walk your hands back to your feet and stand up.)
Add an exercise band or tubing for a full-body workout with arms. Place the band across your hips and hold the ends with your hands. (Wrap the ends around hands several times for more resistance.) While marching, slightly bend elbows and move them behind you as far as you can, keeping hands near your ribs. Straighten the arms to pull on the band and extend the hands all the way behind you to work the trouble spot back of the arm in triceps kickbacks.
Next, engage your upper back (trapezius and rhomboids) by holding the ends of the band in each hand and lifting the band taut in front of you at shoulder level with arms extended in front of shoulders at shoulder width. Stretch the band and squeeze the shoulder blades behind you while widening the hands out all the way to the sides. (The tube will move closer into your chest.)
Now that’s what I call a muscle march… prancing’s for horses!