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How to Beef Up Your Walking Routine

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us use walking and workouts on a regular basis, but it might be fun to give your walking a boost as you strive to get or remain healthy.

WellAndGood.com recommends boosting the physical and mental benefits of regular walking with a few new twists.

Here are some trainer-approved tips to make walking more challenging. See if they fit.

Turn a walk into a workout - Start with your regular walk and switch from speed bursts to recovery mode. Relaxed walks are great for your spirit, but a walk that speeds up the heart with short bursts can be good exercise for the heart. Work into your new walking pace gradually. As always, check with your doctor before altering your exercise routine.

Upgrade the effort - When you load up a backpack with books you turn a stroll into a full-on effort. Make sure you keep your core engaged and start with gradual weight increases. Don't make it so heavy that you are hunching forward.

Head for the hills - Plan walks that include some hills and make it a power walk to exercise your glutes. Challenge yourself with the walk up the hill and recover on the way down. Squeeze your glutes and keep the weight in your heels.

Find a special walk - Look for guided workout walks online that call for a little more effort and offer an interesting area to explore.

Add a few lunges - Start with a fast-paced walk and intersperse a few walking lunges that quickly upgrade the effort and work your whole body.

Include some stairs - Just walking up stairs increases the heart rate, but taking a few big steps with the entire foot landing on each step exercises the glutes.

Add dumbbells - Instead of toting a backpack use 2- to 10-pound dumbbells and do shoulder presses or bicep curls.

Consider wilderness walks or other hikes - If the expanded walks work out, you may want to look for wilderness walks, or other special hikes in your community. Check out the details and consider taking your family along.

With all of these expanded walks be sure to do some warm-up stretches and gradually work your way into the added amount of effort. Always make sure you are using an even path without traffic and monitor your effort to avoid overdoing it.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Saint Peters, Mo.

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