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Too hot or rainy to walk outside? This indoor walking workout does the trick

Leslie Sansone's walking workout videos are popular on YouTube. Try them on days when the weather doesn't cooperate.
Young woman working out standing up
The workouts incorporate a lot of aerobics movements, like side steps, arm reaches and even some clapping.TODAY Illustration / Stephanie Mansour
/ Source: TMRW

Walking is having a moment! People are incorporating walking routines to lose weight, feel happier and reduce stress. TODAY even launched our own 31-day walking plan this month with thousands of people joining our Facebook group to commit to walking for 20 minutes a day.

July is typically a great time to walk and enjoy the beautiful summer weather, but this year has been especially hot, humid and rainy nationwide, making it difficult for many people to get outside.

On those days when the weather worked against us, I noticed tons of people in the Facebook group recommending Leslie Sansone’s indoor walking videos to get their workout in. I'd heard of her walking program before, but had never tried it out for myself, so I decided it was time.

While you can use her free YouTube videos as one-off workouts, Sansone has also created an app with programmatic content. Here's what happened when I tried both.

Cost and equipment

I started off by trying out the free workout videos on YouTube. Then, I tried out the paid app, which costs $4.99 a month with a free one-week trial.

The program

It’s really based on walking! To my surprise, every workout started and ended with walking and focused on walking as the main form of exercise. The workouts also incorporate a lot of aerobic movements, like side steps, back steps, arm reaches and even some clapping.

Many of the videos focus on walking for a set distance (like a mile) and then end with a cool down. The app offers a larger library of workouts in addition to walking, including strength training and abs.

What the workout entails

Sansone helps turn walks into a full-body workout by changing up the pace, the speed and the movements. During the workout, you walk in all directions — side to side, forward and back, in place — which reminded me of old-school aerobics! She’s really motivating and the music gets you going.

The first workout that I tried was a 12-minute routine with a one-mile walk. It included side-to-side steps as well as some kickboxing moves. Then we did some high knees and arm pushes in the air. It was fun and the 12 minutes flew by. The whole workout was low impact (no jumping!), which I think is great, especially for people with joint issues.

Next I tried a 15-minute, one-mile workout that’s meant for families to do together. It was a slower pace and very family friendly. The moves were low impact and included some modified butt kicks as well as side taps. The workout felt like a dance aerobics class that always came back to walking in place in between different moves.

I loved how it included fun moves, like side steps, that reminded me of aerobics.

I decided to sign up for the Walk At Home app to see if it offered anything different than the free workouts. The one-week free trial is a nice way to test it out before committing to $4.99 a month. After signing up, I got access to the monthly plan titled “Walk, Run and Lift” and it was a much larger offering than the free walking workouts that I found online.

Different trainers led these workouts and they always started with a walking portion that was similar to the videos I did on YouTube. Then they moved on to the run portion, which included higher impact cardio movements and a little jumping. Next, the lift portion required resistance bands to work on the upper body and arms. It was a full-body workout combining cardio and strength, and I loved it!

The workouts on the app that I tried ranged from under 7 minutes (core exercises on the floor) to almost 60 minutes (a 4-mile power walk).

What I liked

I love the concept of stepping up your walking routine to include more movements. Adding arm presses and claps helped get my heart rate up faster, and side steps and other movements worked my lower body to improve balance and stability.

I appreciate how all of the workouts I tried were very encouraging and instructional, which is perfect for beginners.

It’s also great to be able to get in a solid walk while in the comfort of your living room when the weather doesn’t permit you to go outside. I loved that I could log four whole miles on rainy days without leaving my house.

What I didn’t like

There’s not much about this workout that I didn’t like! I was pleasantly surprised that it was much more than just walking in place, which is what I had expected. I may be biased because I grew up loving doing aerobics with my grandmother in her living room and the instruction reminded me of those times. In fact, I started an aerobics TV show while I was in college that used a lot of these walking workout moves to help people get fit in their dorm rooms.

I will say that if you’re looking for a super intense workout or a challenging sweat-dripping session, this may not be for you. These are basic walking exercises and aerobics that you can do in place outside or in your living room. And while it is great low-impact cardio, the movements are not intense or fast enough for an experienced exerciser to feel like they got in a hard workout. The app does include more intense workouts than the free videos on YouTube, although I would say they are still beginner level.

I would recommend this workout to:

  • Beginners who are new to exercise or recovering from an injury
  • Anyone who feels too “lazy” or unmotivated to commit to long or intense workouts
  • People who are mostly sedentary and trying to make physical activity a daily habit
  • Those who live in very hot or rainy climates who need an easy indoor workout option