Fitness Articles

14 Ways to Add Variety to Your Walks

Bored with Walking? Try These Ideas!

3KSHARES
While a walking program can be exciting and challenging at first, you don’t want to fall into a rut by doing the same thing month after month. Here are some ways to add variety to your workouts, whether outdoors or inside on the treadmill.

Add an Incline
Even adding a moderate hill can significantly boost your energy expenditure so you burn more calories, build more strength, and strengthen your bones.
  • On a treadmill, start with the incline at 2% and add 1% every few weeks. Don't add so much incline that you have to hold on to the treadmill or can't maintain proper walking form. If that happens, bring the incline back down to a more comfortable level.
  • Outside, vary your route to include more hills. The change of route will keep you from getting bored, and the hills will increase the intensity of your workout.
  • Try incline intervals. Instead of walking up a steady incline the entire time, walk up a hill or incline for a few minutes, and then walk downhill (or at a lower incline) to recover for a few minutes. Repeat these intervals during your workout to keep things interesting.
Try Speed Walking
Pump your arms (at a 90-degree angle) vigorously as you speed up your pace. Your arms should move front-to-back and not side-to-side (commonly referred to as “chicken wings”). You can burn 5%-10% extra calories by adding this faster, more deliberate arm movement to your walks. Practice this technique over short distances until you can build up your time and speed, being sure to breathe properly the entire time.

Just Add Water
Walking in the water (waist high and above) is harder than it looks. The water’s resistance makes walking much more challenging. In turn, walking on land will feel easier if you also train in the water. Plus, water exercise is easy on the joints.
  • In the shallow end, try walking the length of the pool (don’t forget to use your arms). Go as quickly as possible for 10 seconds, then slower for a 1 minute recovery. Start with 5 sets and build from there, alternating forward and backward. Be sure to walk with proper form and allow your entire foot to strike the bottom of the pool from heel to toe.
  • In the deep end, strap on a flotation belt for water walking. You can do the same "bursts" described above or vary your routine depending on your ability and preference: Try more or fewer quick bursts, longer or shorter steps, changing directions, etc.
Change Your Stride
Continued ›
Page 1 of 2   Next Page ›
3KSHARES

More Great Features

Connect With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • when my kids and I go walking, we take a basket ball, soft ball, tennis ball something to that nature and play catch or we just kick a rock or bottle or something so its more like play than exercising. - 3/21/2015 2:16:26 PM
  • I enjoy looking at nature, watching for birds, changes in the seasons, flowers, plants and landscape. Living in the country means that we might spot a deer, moose or even bear when we are walking.
    Chatting with a friend or my spouse is also enjoyable on a walk.
    Lately, avoiding falling on ice keeps me busy, too. - 2/27/2015 11:44:05 AM
  • I actually have started walking backwards some when walking with my 10 year old son. When he gets bored he will start walking backwards and I did it too just for fun. I'm glad it's good for you (I do go a lot slower though). - 2/27/2015 8:42:06 AM
  • I've started walking indoors in office building. We have one floor that we use as a track and walk around for 10-20 min in the morning and then the afternoon walk consists of taking the stairs for 7 or 8 flights. - 2/12/2015 10:54:43 AM
  • also add in geocaching! - 12/22/2014 7:38:12 PM
  • Sometimes I go on a regular walk, but do the trail in the opposite dirrection - 12/22/2014 7:37:40 PM
  • Nordic Pole walking!!! - 9/17/2014 10:54:04 PM
  • I'm really enjoying walking now (since it's virtually fall in the upper midwest and nice and cool) and what I do is vary my path (sometimes I go through the park, sometimes I loop around a different street) and my speed. I've even added jog intervals. - 9/17/2014 12:48:28 PM
  • very very helpful thanks for your advices - 3/20/2014 10:56:03 AM
  • I like mixing my walking up when my son goes with me so he's not bored. We walk backwards, skip, hop, and lunges. Never thought to walk sideways we will have to throw that into the mix. - 10/24/2013 11:47:22 PM
  • I recently started downloading audiobooks to my phone and listening to those while I go on my daily walk at lunch. Now, instead of finding excuses not to go out and walk, I can't wait to go so I can find out what happens next in whatever novel I'm listening to. - 10/24/2013 7:23:44 PM
  • I live in the country and love to go walking in the afternoons, but recently my fiance was in a bad car accident. He is recuperating and I don't really have time to go walking much right now. So if you guys could pray for a fast recovery for my fiance that would be great! - 10/24/2013 3:55:37 PM
  • There are always other people on the trails where I walk, and saying hello to them is what I look forward to.

    Pumping my arms helps to keep my hands from swelling, in addition to helping with the stride and increasing intensity.

    I've heard some negative advice about ankle weights while walking. My knees are telling me that the walking shoes are plenty heavy by themselves.

    - 10/24/2013 11:47:45 AM
  • NATURELADY101
    Some good ideas here...I like walking backwards, too. And I tried walking sideways...couldn
    't go too far but it was a challenge. As an added bonus, any time a person changes a routine it's good for keeping the brain 'tuned' and younger, too! What a deal, at LEAST two specific benefits for the price of a walk! :) - 10/24/2013 8:42:16 AM
  • I try walking in different places to keep me alive. - 9/2/2013 1:11:13 PM

x Lose 10 Pounds by June 14! Get a FREE Personalized Plan