Walk This Way

While fitness walking might seem like a walk in the park, more intensity will work your lower body and exert your cardiovascular system. Turn your casual amble into a strenuous trek with these techniques for heightening the sweat factor:

Be inclined to incline. Strengthen your heart and lungs by walking up and down hills. The sloped surface provides a natural resistance to your efforts, forcing you to pump harder all around. If your local terrain is flat, any ramp will suffice. Try a parking garage (being careful to avoid those cars) or a stadium.

Train on new terrain. Multiply the benefits of strolling over grass, sand, or dirt as opposed to asphalt or cement. The softer turfs cajole the movements of your toes, feet, ankles, and calves to work harder, but absorb more impact so your joints don’t have to. In fact, you can burn up to 50% more calories if you trade in the sidewalk for a shoreline.

Focus on pace, posture, and pump. Walk briskly — 3.5-4 mph — to boost rigor. Be mindful of proper posture — chest should be up, shoulders back, and abs engaged. Not only will this help prevent injury, it enhances muscular and respiratory actions. Pump your arms to increase speed (your legs must cooperate with your upper body’s commands) and muscle movement.

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