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When Walking Isn't Enough

How to Add Variety to Your Walking Program


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  • I need the variety to keep myself motivated.
  • My body is always happiest when I vary my routine. When the brain is happy and challenged, the body is happy.

  • Be active any way you can, every day that you can.
  • Wish I could walk for long periods. It was the only form of exercise that I even remotely tolerated. Now I'm limited to a recumbent bike which is boring!!!!! At my age (65), my options are very limited.
  • If you're on certain blood pressure drugs, you shouldn't work at too elevated a heart rate. Some drugs are designed to keep your heart rate from getting too fast.

    Look for Spark article on why heart rate monitors aren't recommended if you're on blood pressure meds. Measure by an exertion instead.
  • oh i love the outside walking it fun to me i walk by my self
  • I used to walk and liked it. Can't any more because of back problems.
  • Nordic Walking is incredible! I love going out with my poles. Love hiking with them. Less wear and tear on the joints, and if you already have joint problems, well, the poles help you so much! You get more of a work out without feeling like you have had more of a workout. Fantastic.
  • I agree - with Nordic Walking poles, you are also working your upper body and substantially increasing your calorie burn. Good for your posture, too!
  • Good article - for a more complete walking workout - add poles (Nordic Walking) and exercise the UPPER body at the same time.

    I walk four times a week (Tues - Friday) with a local walking group. In May I joined a Nordic Pole Walking group on Saturday mornings - this has been a great experience adding variety and a completely new dimension to walking. Now, when I walk by myself I take my poles along.

    Walking with Nordic Poles is easy to learn, not as tiring, reduced body pains (legs), extended distances and increased walking speed.
  • So, what happens when after you "mix it up"--start running, lifting weights, etc. etc. and still nothing changes? I am stuck at a plateau that will not budge. My body has adapted to everything. I have tried it all--more calories, less calories; run, walk, resistance training, yoga, you name it. Now what?
  • I find a lot of benefit in doing intervals - either the "Scouts' Pace" approach or Covert Bailey's sprints or mixing it up as Figsandolives does. It certainly increases the intensity but doesn't place the same demands on joints as continuous running or jogging would. There's a lot of long-term research supporting the interval approach; Covert Bailey's advocated it for at least 15 years that I know of.
  • Coach Dean,
    Just what I needed to read today. I just finished 4 weeks of 10 minutes a day, and my exercise consisted of walking. I list it as hiking because just walking out the front door is uphill. But I do need to step it up. I am not at all regular on strength training, and need to be.
    Thanks for the very timely article.
    I also love the Walk Away the Pounds DVDs. I bump up the calorie burn by wearing 1.5 lb wrist weights, and also sometimes holding 2 lb hand weights during the workouts. I can really feel that added resistance, especially when doing the fast-paced 5 mile DVD. I also do Zumba, the elliptical at the gym with a resistance program, and have incorporated resistance training with the weight machines at the gym. At home, I use resistance bands or hand held weights with different DVDs.

    When it's cool enough to walk outdoors, my neighborhood route provides several hills for a good cardio workout.
  • Great advice Dean. I agree that walking alone won't cut it. After awhile you can feel it getting easy, then you need to change things up. I joined a gym and take a variety of cardio and strength training classes like step, zumba, kettle bells and body pump and have been getting good results. I also use the eliptical and treadmils, but when using them I either use the fat burn or cardio programs that measure your heart rate while using the machine. These programs keep you in your target heart range by adjusting the resistance or incline throughout your workout. It's great because you don't have to think about it. Just put on your headphones and go for it!

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