Here is a great guest post article from my friend Satu. Enjoy!
Before I started writing this piece, I surfed the Internet for ideas and found a great quote from FitnessMagazine.com: “When your brain abandons your workout routine, your body is soon to follow.” If you can make your usual walk even asleep, it’s time to mix things up.
Avoiding workout boredom is not the only reason to vary your fitness walking routine, it’s also a great way to increase your fitness level and calorie consumption. Varying your routine also helps you avoid overuse injuries that can become a problem if you always do the same thing.
Read my suggestions for spicing up your walking routine below. Some ways to add variety you can put into use immediately, while others require some planning.
#1 Vary Duration, Terrain and Scenery
Do you always follow the same old path? Next time you go walking, pick a different route or simply walk your customary route in reverse. You’ll be surprised how different familiar landmarks and building look when you approach them from a different direction.
Another simple way to add variety to your walks is to alternate between short and long walks. If you usually take short 30-minute walks during workdays, add one 60-minute walk to your weekly routine. Likewise, if you always walk on city streets, try walking in a park or even woods once in a while. Walking on an uneven surface is a new challenge for your body, and your brain will love you for it.
#2 Set Goals
Setting fitness walking-related goals is an easy way to make walking more interesting and it’s especially suitable for people who want more structure in their workouts. The advantage of goal setting is that it’s easier to stay motivated when you’re working toward some concrete goal.
Here are two suggestions for setting walking-related goals.
Sign up for a walking event. Walking events are hot right now, and there are plenty of competitive and non-competitive events you can participate in. Many charities organize fund-raising walks that vary form short 2-3 mile walks to half- and full marathons. And did I already mention that training for an event is a great way to make new friends and experience a sense of accomplishment only achieving a big goal can offer?
Set a step goal. Another way to set a fitness walking goal is to start monitoring your daily steps with a pedometer. You can set yourself several short-term step goals and one bigger goal, for instance, achieving 10,000 steps a day. To get started, you only need a reliable pedometer and a gradually progressing pedometer walking program. Pedometer walking is my favourite because it’s easy to incorporate into your everyday life.
#3 Try Walking Hills, Stairs And Intervals
If you feel you’ve plateaued and crave for challenge in your walking, doing intervals and walking stairs is the answer. Interval walking and stair climbing are great ways to build your fitness and speed, and stair-climbing does wonders for strengthening the muscles in your thighs, calves and buttocks. Not to mention the shape, of course.
For interval walking, rotate between walking at your normal pace and walking at a faster pace. For example, walk at your normal pace for five minutes. Then increase your pace for one minute. Repeat until you’ve covered your normal distance. You can gradually lengthen the interval time until you’re walking at a faster pace throughout your workout.
Walking uphill is a challenging but effective way to increase your fitness. It works the same way as interval walking does. When you add walking uphill to your routine, you’ll soon find that when you’re walking on a flat surface that you can walk much faster. Hill-walking is best approached the same way you would an interval walking program. Rotate walking uphill with walking on a flat surface. If you’re walking outside you might want to find a loop to walk that includes a hill.
The third option, stair-climbing, was once a well-kept secret known only to coaches and athletes. The secret of stair-climbing is, that it’s twice as taxing as walking at a brisk pace on a level surface – and 50 percent harder than walking up a steep hill. Stair-climbing is best started gradually by taking two or three flights at a time. Like pedometer walking, stair-climbing can be easily built into your daily routine, if you use stairs whenever you can.
One word of caution though: stair-climbing is not a way to get started if you’re out of shape. Check with a physician first and start building your fitness with gentle exercise.
I hope you found some ideas you can apply to your training. Happy Walking!
About the Author: Satu Hattula writes an active lifestyle blog for office workers. Make sure to visit http://BodyCapable.Com, if you want to know how fitness walking can help you get in shape and control your weight.