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Step up your fitness game with these 7 walking workouts

Get more out of your walk by playing with intervals, adding upper body movements and getting your head in the game.
Finding a walking buddy is always a good way to keep your workout engaging.
Finding a walking buddy is always a good way to keep your workout engaging.NickyLloyd / Getty Images

Walking is having a moment right now.

The pandemic reminded many of us of the power of a walk. Requiring no equipment or gym membership, heading outdoors to put feet to pavement became a lifeline during lockdowns and helped maintain our physical and mental health.

Walking consistently may help improve heart health and reduce body fat, plus it has been shown to relieve stress and can even help treat symptoms of depression and anxiety.

But if walking is your exercise of choice, it can be easy to get into a rut, taking the same route, at the same speed, day after day. You may think a walk is a walk, but there are many variables you can play with to keep things interesting.

These curated routines were designed to help you get more out of the movement — whether you want to up the intensity of your workout, get your arms involved or keep walking from getting stale.

An easy 31-day walking plan for couch potatoes

If you’ve been spending more time than you’d like to admit curled up on the couch, this walking workout is for you. The plan alternates between a 20-minute slow walk and a 20-minute interval walk and is designed to help you make walking a habit. This interval walk works as a standalone workout any time you want to get your heart rate up:

20-minute speed-it-up walk

  • 4 minutes: normal pace
  • 4 minutes: brisk walk
  • Alternate for 20 minutes total

Get the full 31-day plan here.

10-minute HIIT walking workout

Yes, it’s possible to get a high-intensity workout without running. This 10-minute routine can be repeated from the beginning as many times as you’d like for a longer workout.

  • 4 minutes: steady pace
  • 2 minutes: pick up the pace
  • 2 minutes: steady pace
  • Optional strength-training break
  • 1 minute: power walk

Learn more about turning your walk into a HIIT workout.

RELATED: If all I do is walk, is that a good enough workout?

Indoor walking routine

Weather still unpredictable where you live? Whether it’s rainy or too cold, you don’t have to put your walk on hold. This circuit can be done walking around your house. It will get your heart rate up and incorporates some bodyweight strength training too!

20-minute walking & strength

  • 1 minute: Walk around your house at a moderate pace.
  • 1 minute: March in place at a quicker pace for one minute.
  • Strength training circuit: 5 squats, 5 modified pushups, 5 calf raises

Repeat for a total of 20 minutes.

Get a 31-day indoor walking plan here.

Upper body walking workout

If you want to turn your walk into a full-body workout, consider adding in an arm routine. These upper-body movements are simple, but will tone the arms while also upping the intensity of your walk and burning more calories.

  •  Forward punches
  • Side-to-side punches
  • Upward punches
  • Side overhead raises
  • Arm pumping

Get step-by-step instructions here.

31-day interval walking workout

If walking is already a part of your routine and you’re ready to kick things up a notch, this workout is for you. Unlike a beginner interval walk, this routine ups the intensity by cutting down on recovery time.

  • 3 minutes: leisurely warm up
  • 1 minute: fast walk
  • 1 minute: leisurely walk
  • 10 minutes: alternate between fast and leisurely pace
  • 1 minute: fast walk
  • 30 seconds: leisurely walk
  • 6 minutes: alternate between fast and leisurely pace
  • 3 minute leisurely cool down

Get the full 31-day plan here.

Interval treadmill workout

OK, full disclosure this one calls for a bit of running. But by a bit, we mean less than two minutes. Doable, right? Take advantage of the treadmill features to up the intensity of your workout by playing with incline and speed.

  • 3 minutes: warm up
  • 30 seconds: run
  • 1 minute: slow walk
  • 2 minutes: incline walk

Repeat circuit two more times.

Get details on setting the speed and incline on the treadmill here.

Meditative walk

Walking isn’t only good for your physical health — your mental health gets a workout, too. Take advantage of your time walking to boost your mood, de-stress and shift your mindset. Try using your walking time to mentally practice gratitude with these prompts:

· Name 5 things you are grateful for about your kids.

· Name 5 things you are grateful for about your spouse.

· Name 5 things you are grateful for about your work today.

Get more prompts for a meditative walk here.