Easy Love-Your-Heart Walks to Take Now!
"Walking is man's best medicine," declared Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, and modern medicine agrees. A recent study at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, found that exercising briskly for just 10 minutes (including walking at a pace that elevates your heart rate but allows you to carry on a conversation) delivers immediate benefits in burning calories and fat and maintaining healthy glucose levels.
The American Heart Association recommends you multiply that 10-minute walk by three and get 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week. Ready to get started? Here are three easy 10-minute walking workouts you can do anywhere—at home, in the office or outdoors.
Your Morning Walking Workout
Your morning workout has four easy-to-learn steps; start out doing each one for about 30 seconds:
- Walk in place at a moderate pace, letting your legs warm up a bit.
- Step to the side—left foot to the left, then bring your right foot to meet it, then back to your start position. After 10 side-steps, switch sides.
- Kick gently forward, alternating legs (don’t worry about which leg you start with—it doesn't matter as long as you alternate).
- Raise your knees, bringing alternating knees up to about your waist, keeping your back straight and tummy in.
Alternate these moves for about five minutes, then pick up the pace with a slightly faster walk, elbows pumping to elevate your heart rate.
Your Lunchtime Walking Workout
Use your lunchtime as an opportunity to get yourself moving. You can repeat the morning routine or, better still, invite a friend or co-worker to get outside and walk with you, making sure to follow a brisk pace. (A partner can help you push your 10-minute walk to 15 minutes—that's about a mile.)
Do Afternoon Aerobics
Before you settle in for a relaxing (or not) evening, you're going to repeat your four basic walking moves, but with more arm movement to get your heart pumping faster. After a few minutes' warm-up, add a forward arms-scissor motion (as if you're clapping your hands with extended arms) to your side-step; during your kicks, reach your hand down toward the opposite leg; and during knee raises, touch both hands to your knees. Return to walking in place to cool down. Congrats—you burned about 150 extra calories today!
You can get a muscle-toning, calorie-burning workout just by walking in place, stepping side-to-side, kicking gently and raising your knees for 10 minutes three times a day.
Written by: Leslie Sansone, founder of the Walk at Home exercise program and teacher of walking based fitness classes From our sister publication, REMEDY (Winter 2010)