Fitness Articles

14 Ways to Add Variety to Your Walks

Bored with Walking? Try These Ideas!

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Experiment with different stride lengths during your workouts. Try shorter and faster strides or slower and medium-length strides. You can try entire workouts at a new stride length, or change it up every minute or two. Different stride lengths and speeds will challenge your muscles in different ways so you can keep seeing progress.

Take Your Dog
Fido will ensure you are walking at a good pace. For an average person (and dog), you're probably in your target speed range when your dog is "trotting" too. Be careful--if Fido tends to pull a lot, it might be dangerous for him. Get more information about walking with your dog.

Change Direction
People move forward, and walking is no exception. As long as you're careful and don't have any balance issues, walking laterally or even backwards can be a good way to add a little variety to your program. Sideways walking is probably easiest and poses the fewest risks. Keep your body facing in one direction and focus on the movement of your outer and inner thighs as you step to the side. Don't forget to go both ways (lead with the right leg, but don't forget to turn the other way to lead with the left leg, too). On the treadmill, try a very slow speed with 0% incline. You can hold on to the railings for support.
Vary Your Program
There are countless of simple ways you can change up your walking routine, from experimenting with different workout durations (short, medium or long), different workout intensities (low, moderate and high), and even different days of the week. The more you change things up, the better your results will be, even as you continue to get more fit.
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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

  • My mother was a Girl Scout leader. She took us on "Wild Paper Hunts." Not only is it good for the environment. I get to stoop and work the knees differently from time to time. - 5/25/2016 10:47:11 PM
  • I learned as a young child to walk to school and back - uphill both ways. Barefoot often enough, and sometimes in deep snow. Sometimes a mean dog would chase me, and I would have to walk faster. Of course, that riled up the dog, who saw it as a game (I thought he had a carnivorous taste for little boys).

    I still go back to the old neighborhood and marvel at how this route really could have been uphill, both ways. There, a faded rusty sign hangs: "Steep ascent ahead. No shoes or dog leashes permitted." The same post holds the same sign, back to back, facing both directions. - 3/20/2016 11:09:40 AM
  • When I walk outside I can't avoid hitting hills - they're all around me! If I start out going downhill I will eventually have to walk uphill to get home! My walk to the library downtown yesterday included a bit of uphill to start then mostly downhill and flats. Reverse that on the way home and it is mostly uphill with a bit of downhill on the final stretch! - 1/6/2016 11:30:06 AM
  • I love to try to beat my own time, so do speed walking when I can, and I love walking outside..but today it's raining, so did a workout indoors today. I walk outside when I can. Saturday while in Lincoln, Maine, I walked a 3.38 mile walk with a REALLY STEEP hill!! LOL and then later that day my hubby and I walked in our woods on our logging property to see how the logger is doing as far as cutting cleanly and doing the trees my husband wanted. (150 acres). It was a great walk with TONS of smelled like Christmas in there! brought some boughs home for wreaths! - 11/11/2015 10:09:19 AM
  • I'm really glad to be back on the treadmill again! I had one that I wore out, but that was years ago. And I used to walk backwards on it (at a very low speed). Walking outdoors is my preference, but so much of the year it is either rainy, too cold, too hot, crazy drivers ( we're in the country, a narrow road with a fog line, no sidewalk or bike path).

    My treadmill is set up to look out over the pond and meadow . . . so I'm on my way! - 9/15/2015 1:09:27 PM
  • Whenever the opportunity arises, I walk backwards. And when my body permits, I'll had skipping. - 9/6/2015 9:07:37 AM
    when I walk, I frequently add a double back flip with a full twist. and frequently back flip, back flip, back flip, front flip, front flip, front flip ... and some times I go out to the freeway at night and try to run across all lanes ... that adds some excitement ... - 8/8/2015 2:15:02 AM
  • 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

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