The Benefits of Walking
Ready to take your stroll to the next level? These routines maximize the health perks of walking. All are designed for the outdoors, but the first two can also work on a treadmill.
The Heart-Health Walk
Total time: 30 minutes.
A consistent, moderate pace offers good cardiovascular benefits, but interval training (short, sharp bursts of high-intensity activity interspersed with periods of low intensity) delivers those gains sooner and in a shorter workout. This routine, designed by Leslie Sansone, the creator of the Walk at Home fitness DVDs, takes advantage of that science and is easily adjusted for beginners. (Just lower your speed.)
1. Walk for five minutes at a leisurely pace (2.5 to 3 miles per hour on a treadmill).
2. Increase your speed to a brisk pace (3 to 3.6 miles per hour on a treadmill) for five minutes. If you’re walking outside, walk as if you’re running late for an appointment.
3. Walk for 30 seconds (or 40 steps) as fast as possible (at least 4.5 miles per hour on a treadmill), then walk at a brisk pace (3 to 3.6 miles per hour on a treadmill) for 2 minutes. Repeat for four cycles or 10 minutes total. (As you grow more comfortable with the workout over the following weeks, you can increase the number of cycles to challenge yourself further.)
4. Walk at a slightly brisk pace (3 to 3.2 miles per hour) for five minutes.
5. Cool down by walking at a leisurely pace (2.5 to 3 miles per hour) for five minutes.