Walking Exercise – SheerLuxe

“A brisk walk – performed at 50-70% of your maximum heart rate – falls into the moderate to intense cardio category, meaning it’ll quickly count towards your weekly goals. For optimal fitness levels, you should aim for 150 minutes of this type of activity per week, equivalent to two-and-a-half hours. Studies show brisk walking can aid weight loss, lower cholesterol and help with blood sugar control. I recommend brisk walking to all my clients – add a pair of wrist weights, like Bala bangles, and keep your stride short, to level things up.” – Louisa Drake, founder of the Louisa Drake Method
“Walking uphill has a similar effect to using the step machine in the gym, or repeated lunges. It strengthens the quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves – it’s a great lower-body workout. Plus, it’s a calorie burner – a moderate, one-hour uphill hike can burn around 400 calories, similar to an hour’s slow jog on a treadmill. Moreover, scrambling up hills and over rocks will firm the core and help balance and coordination, and help build bone density, which is especially important for women.” – Louisa 
“To increase the intensity and calorie burn of your walk, incorporate short bursts of faster walking into your routine. As a rule, aim for a brisk walking pace of around 3.5mph to 4.5mph – this pace should make you slightly out of breath but still able to maintain a conversation. Keep up this pace for a few minutes and then scale it back for a minute or two before going again. Over time, these intervals can become longer and more frequent.” – Becky Robinson, PT at Nordic Balance
“Good walking posture will help you maintain speed and protect you from injury. With every step, aim to land on your heel and roll your foot forward towards your toe. Concentrate on moving your hips forward rather than side to side, too. Keep your eyes forward with your shoulders back and head upright. As you exhale, focus on drawing in your belly button toward your spine as this helps engage your core.” – Louisa
“The military has long used ‘rucking’ to build both strength and endurance, and this is a fantastic way to train, especially if you’re looking for a low-impact way to increase fitness levels. When carrying a heavy load, you’ll experience less pounding on the knees than when running, making it a great choice for low-impact exercise. The weight also requires more force from your muscles, which makes rucking a great form of cardio.” – James Dabbs, founder of Dabbs Fitness
“Walking, especially in the great outdoors, has been shown to reduce stress and improve mental health. This, in turn, can reduce cortisol levels, which is vital as stress can hinder fat loss. If you’re burning the candle at both ends and smashing HIIT classes, try swapping a few intense workouts for walking for a few weeks and see the benefits. Getting outdoors will also trigger the release of endorphins, which can boost mood and reduce feelings of anxiety.” – Lucie Cowan, master trainer at Third Space 
“Consistency is key to achieving and maintaining fitness gains. Stick to a regular walking routine and you’ll continue to see improvements in your fitness levels over time. Keep in mind that walking at a brisk pace is more effective in terms of fitness and health benefits than a leisurely stroll, but consistency wins. Regular walking, even at a slower pace, can still have a significant impact on your overall wellbeing, especially if you’re just starting an exercise routine.” – Becky 
“If you find walking monotonous, there’s plenty you can do to add variety. Changing up your scenery is a good first step – explore local parks, nature trails, urban areas and scenic routes. Changing your surroundings can make each walk feel like a new adventure. Music and podcasts can also make a walk more entertaining, while audiobooks are a great way to enjoy a good story or learn something new as you exercise. Walking at different times of the day can also bring fresh perspective – early morning and late afternoon walks offer different atmospheres and lighting. If you walk in low-light conditions or near traffic, consider reflective vests and lights to stay visible. If you struggle walking on your own, book in a weekly walk with a friend or consider joining a walking group to provide a sense of community, motivation and the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.” – Becky 
“Whether it’s walking longer distances, increasing your pace or tackling more challenging terrain, having specific goals will help keep you focused. Gradually increase the intensity – for example, if you’re walking two miles a day, increase it by half a mile each week, adding more distance as your stamina improves. Wearing a fitness tracker is a good way to stay on top of your goals – it’ll track steps, measure heart rate and provide valuable data to help keep you motivated.” – Becky 
“Choose a route that incorporates hills or varied terrain to add variety and intensity. Walking uphill – or incline walking on a treadmill – offers superior benefits when compared to walking on a flat surface. First, it engages the posterior chain, which refers to the muscles on the back of your body, including the lower back, glutes and hamstrings. Strengthening these muscles can enhance overall posture, which can positively impact pelvic alignment and reduce the risk of postural issues. Walking on uneven terrain – think sand or grass – will also improve balance and stability, working your core and smaller stabilising muscles.” – Lucie 
Pay attention to how your body responds to increased intensity. If you experience pain, fatigue or discomfort, it’s essential to rest and recovery. Remember everyone’s fitness journey is unique. The most important thing is to listen to your body, adjusting as needed.” – Becky
For more from the experts visit ThirdSpace.London, NordicBalance.co.uk, LouisaDrake.com & DabbsFitness.com.
DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.
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