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Maximize Your Lunchtime Walk

30-Minute Walking Workouts

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Updated June 03, 2014

Solo woman walking across bridge
Jim Cummins / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Lunchtime can be a great time to get in a walking workout. Here are tips to make the most of 30 minutes of walking. In 30 minutes you can cover between 1.5 to 2 miles or two to four kilometers. You can burn as many as 200 calories, depending on distance and your weight.
Walking Calorie Calculator

Why Walk for 30 Minutes?
Health authorities including the USDA and CDC recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking. If you enjoy a brisk walk during your lunch break most days of the week, you will have achieved the minimum requirement to help combat the health risks of inactivity and obesity. You should aim for at least 10 minutes of walking at a time to count towards the weekly total.
How Much Exercise Do You Need?

Preparation: Your Walking Plan

  • Where can you walk so you have minimal interruptions? You can use a treadmill, walk indoors, or walk outdoors. Select a route that has fewer street crossings and stops for traffic. If you know how much distance you can walk in 30 minutes, you can map out a circular route. If not, you may want a shorter route that you can repeat multiple times.
     
  • Change into athletic shoes: You could walk in whatever footwear you happen to wear to work or school. But to get a good brisk walking stride, it's best to change into athletic shoes. Depending on the weather, you may also need an appropriate coat, hat, or to change into shorts and a t-shirt.
    Choosing the Best Walking Shoes
     
  • Eat before or after?: Most people prefer to exercise first and have the meal after they finish. If you are very hungry by lunch, quiet your hunger by drinking a glass of water, or have a light snack of a piece of fruit. A light lunch after your walk will nourish your muscles so they can recover and grow stronger.

Warm-Up
Begin with an easy walking pace for one to three minutes. Use this time to shake out the kinks if you have been sitting or standing for long periods.

Good walking posture: Energize your walking by relaxing and loosening your shoulders and standing upright, with stomach sucked in and pelvis tilted slightly forward. You want your chin up and eyes forward.

What about stretching? You can go through a short stretching routine after a couple of minutes of walking. But you can also save the stretching to do after your walk or as its own exercise activity at another time.

Steady State Brisk Walk
Walk at a brisk pace for 10 to 25 minutes, leaving time for a one to three minute cool down at an easy pace.

Aim for a heart rate of 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. Use our heart rate calculator to find your numbers and take your pulse after 10 minutes of walking to check it. Learn to know what this range feels like -- you will be breathing heavier than normal, but still able to talk.

If you find you aren't getting your heart rate into the moderate-intensity zone, try our tips on how to walk faster. Slow to an easy pace to finish your walk.

Intervals for Intensity
Adding bouts of speedwalking or stair climbing can boost the calorie burn of your walking workout. These are easiest to do on a treadmill, track, or a route you have mapped out. After your warm-up at an easy pace, walk as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Then slow to a brisk pace for two minutes. Repeat three to four times, leaving time for a cool down.

If you prefer to use stairs for intensity, Use a set of stairs you can complete in 30 seconds - two to three floors.

Easy Health Walk
Some days you will want to take it easier. You can spend the full 30 minutes walking at an easy pace. Concentrate on good posture on the easy day, and taking full, complete breaths.

Vary Your Lunchtime Walking Workouts
Change it up from day to day to prevent boredom and to keep challenging your body in different ways. Alternate steady state days with interval days. If you always use a treadmill, mix it up with walking the corridors or walking outside.

Invite Others to Join You
Solo walking is great, but you may be more consistent in walking if you have a lunchtime walking buddy. You won't find as many excuses to skip your walk if your friend is ready to get going.

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