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How to turn your leisurely stroll into a heart pounding, thigh burning, interval session

By Matt Mombourquette

Going outside for a stroll and getting sunshine on our faces feels amazing and has plenty of health benefits. Thankfully the weather is getting nicer and we’ll have more opportunity to get outside.

A relaxing stroll is nice and, if you are looking to increase your fitness, stamina and well-being even further we can take our walks to the next level. Here are a few suggestions how:

If at any time you feel light headed, dizzy, or too winded to continue at that pace, then slow back down to a stroll for the remainder of your walk.

Over time, try to work yourself up to a point where you can maintain a fast pace for 10-15 minutes straight. Then take the last 5 minutes to stroll and allow your heart and breathing rate to decrease.

You can increase the intensity of your walks by increasing your pace over time; planning to take a walk where there is a grade or a hill and; increasing the amount of time spent on your walk.

If you are just starting with higher intensity walks then and build up your walk time and intensity slowly. Take stock of how you feel after an hour, 5 hours, 24 hours and adjust your duration and intensity accordingly. We are aiming for ‘feeling good’, a little stiff in the muscles, but not so sore or exhausted that you are wiped out for a day afterwards.

This approach to walking is something that can be performed everyday. You’ll likely sleep better at night, feel more energetic, increase your endurance and improve your general mood as a result. If you miss a day, don’t sweat it. Simply plan for the next time you are going out and don’t beat yourself up for missing a walking session.

I would be remiss of me if I did not state that walking, even at a hard pace, does not replace strength training. I’ve talked about this many times in videos and blogs before. The two activities are beneficial on their own; they do compliment one another; but one does not replace the other, both are necessary for optimal fitness, health and well being.

So, get your one to two resistance training workouts in per week and walk everyday. Then, maybe every other day try an interval walk to get your heart rate and endorphins pumping. Sleep well, eat well, and don’t forget to breathe!

Enjoy the outdoors, and keep fit everyone!

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