Getting fit can sometimes feel impossible, especially if you have never worked out or used to and are struggling to build back endurance and get back into a routine. We get that! But what if we told you that you could walk your way into a healthier, toner body and weight loss? A short interval walking routine can do that for you, while also improving your health.
Before you say, “No way; I can’t run,” we’re not referring to a walk-run interval plan. Our interval walking plan features steady state walking on a flat incline and interval walking on an incline to get your heart rate up. “Using a heart rate monitor, I found that my heart rate would get just as high walking on an incline as it did when I was steady state jogging without incline,” said certified personal trainer Sarah Chadwell, NASM, who has used the technique in her own training.
Here’s everything you need to know about interval walking and its benefits, and a 34-minute plan that’ll get you started.
Interval walking simply means that you add bouts of higher intensity walking to your routine by adding an incline, increasing your pace, or both. Whether you are just beginning your fitness journey, you didn’t feel like running today, or your doctor prescribed cardio, anyone, and we mean anyone, can do an interval walking workout. It’s really that simple!
You’ll see bigger results without spending more time on your workout: If you previously walked 30 minutes a day at a steady pace, you don’t have to increase the duration of your workout to see a bigger payoff, because you are just increasing the intensity.
It’s better for your health: Interval training is widely used to increase cardiovascular fitness and therefore health. Any activity that elevates your heart rate and requires increased physical effort helps to strengthen your heart.
It’ll decrease your body fat: During the bouts of higher intensity you are burning more calories than during steady state walking. A higher caloric deficit means you will burn more fat and lose more pounds and inches in a shorter amount of time.
You might think there’s no technique to walking, but there’s definitely a few posture tips to keep in mind. “Proper form is important for any exercise that you do. When you walk, proper form helps to increase the efficiency of your workout and prevent injury,” said Chadwell. Follow these guidelines:
Look straight ahead, not down at your feet.
Swing your arms naturally while keeping a bend in your elbows, pumping your arms helps to power your forward movement. Don’t hold on to the treadmill handles.
Brace your abs. This will help keep your back straight.
Keep a smooth gait by using a heel-to-toe step.
This beginner treadmill plan is only 34 minutes.
Warm-up: 5 minutes at a 0 percent incline walking at a 3.0 speed. Your heart rate should be between 120-130 BPM.
First Interval: 5 minutes at a 2-3 percent incline at a 3.5 speed. Your heart rate should be between 130-140 BPM.
Rest/Recovery: 2 minutes at 0 percent incline walking at a 3.0 speed. Your heart rate should drop to 125-135 BPM.
Second Interval: 10 minutes at 2-3 percent incline at a 3.5-3.8 speed. Your heart rate should be between 140-150 BPM.
Rest/Recovery: 2 minutes at 0 percent incline walking at a 3.0 speed. Your heart rate should drop to 125-135
Third Interval: 5 minutes at 2-3 percent incline at a 3.5 speed. Your heart rate should be between 130-140 BPM.
Cool Down: 5 minutes at 0 percent incline walking at a 3.0 speed. Your heart rate should return to 120-130 BPM.