The Benefits of Walking
Total time: 40 to 45 minutes.
Muscle burns more calories than fat, whether you’re playing sports or sitting on the couch, says Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., the director of fitness research at Quincy College, in Massachusetts. So adding strength components to your walk will not only burn calories during your workout but also long after it. With that in mind, Barbara Crean, a personal trainer at Clay Gym, in New York City, created this routine. Before you start, make sure your walk takes you to an area equipped with a bench, which you’ll need in the last exercise.
1. Warm up for two minutes, starting at a very brisk pace (at least 3.7 miles per hour on a treadmill), and gradually edge your speed up every 30 seconds. If you’re on a treadmill, you should work up to at least 4.1 miles per hour. For you outdoor walkers, that’s a very fast walk.
2. Walk for 10 minutes as fast as you can without jogging. You’ll burn more calories doing this than by running slowly because it requires extra work to keep your body from naturally breaking into a run.
3. Stop walking, hit the ground, and hold a plank for one minute, making sure that your spine and buttocks form a straight line. Then do 10 push-ups. (If traditional push-ups are too difficult, lower your knees to the ground.) Follow this with 20 forward lunges on each leg. Place your weight on the front foot and lower yourself enough to create a 90-degree angle with your leg before straightening back up.
4. Walk for another 10 minutes, again at top speed. It should be difficult, but not impossible, to have a conversation at this pace.
5. Stop walking, get down on the ground again, and do 10 triceps push-ups (similar to regular push-ups, but with your arms placed outside your shoulders instead of under them). Next, do 40 crunches. Pull your core to your spine as you sit up.
6. Walk for another 10 minutes at your top speed.
7. For the last strength interval, start with dips. Sit on the edge of a bench with your hands on the edge, shoulder-width apart. Lift your rear end off the seat and walk your feet forward while keeping your buttocks as close to the edge of the bench as possible. (The farther away your feet are from the bench, the more challenging this will be.) Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body. Pause for two counts when your elbows reach 90 degrees, then straighten your arms to lift yourself back to the starting position. That’s one repetition; do 10. Finish your workout with 10 lunges on each leg, followed by a one-minute plank.