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Add High Intensity Intervals to Your Walking Workouts

Making Walking Work

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Updated June 06, 2014

The training effect of only 15 minutes of high intensity interval training is substantial. For example, speed-walk up a short grassy hill, then slowly come down. Repeat, without rest, until 15 minutes is up. And how does one do this without rest? By slowing down, even if you're crawling up the hill. As long as you're fighting for it. Weight loss isn't handed to you on a silver platter. You must fight for it.

Higher Intensity Walking on the Flat

On a flat course, see how fast you must walk before you get so winded you cannot talk. When you reach this point, slow down for a minute or two, then go at it again. Conduct these intervals for 30 minutes, going all-out on the speed-walks. Really swing your arms. Gone will be the comfort of house-walks. But watch the weight come off.

Adding Intensity if Flats are Easy

If your fastest walk on the flat does not require grueling effort try these ways to add an intensity interval:
  • Hold hand-weights and do biceps curls for a minute or two at a time.
  • Walk hills.
  • Lifting your knees to hip level.
  • Wear a weighted vest
  • Do shadow boxing.
  • Walk up and down obstacles such as benches and rocks, while maintaining a high speed.
  • Rough walking: brisk walking on uneven, bumpy and lumpy paths, such as those found in forest and mountain trails.

Your body will be shocked from this new stimulation. A shocked body burns more fat to accommodate the challenge!

Higher Intensity with Kids

If you must bring your kids with you, then:
  • Invest in a special stroller designed for fast pushing.
  • Consider putting your baby in a papoose or back-pack specially designed to hold babies during walks.
  • If your kids are on tricycles, do not let them get ahead of you. I see this all the time!

Calorie Burning

You've probably heard that intense walking burns only glucose, but milder walking burns fat. An hour of house-walking will never produce the same training effect as 15 minutes of high intensity interval walking! This is about fitness, not how many calories are burned during the walking. Most weight loss comes from the after-burn: a metabolism that stays elevated after the walk. A house-walk does not create an after-burn.

Last updated 12/4/05

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