I love watching my step count soar during long walking workouts, but sometimes I still crave a little extra something. Instead of challenging myself to walk 10 minutes longer or logging in another mile, I add bodyweight moves into the mix — squats, lunges, high knees, and, if I'm feeling brave, maybe a burpee. After I challenge myself to complete a set or two of each, my boredom has disappeared and I'm dripping in sweat.
My spur-of-the-moment circuits have served me well, but to find out how to really pump up the intensity of my walking workout with bodyweight moves — and safely, at that — I reached out to Corinne Fitzgerald, a head coach at Mile High Run Club and an NSCA-certified personal trainer.
"Adding exercises either during or after can add to the overall intensity of the workout, and can also help you target more muscle groups," Fitzgerald says. "Also, endurance exercises like walking or jogging are very repetitive, so it can break up the monotony of the workout and keep it more exciting."
While I prefer to add the moves to the middle of my walk, you can also finish off your walk with bodyweight circuit training — Fitzgerald says there are benefits to both approaches.
"When in a longer walk for exercise, some may find it boring to keep going for 30 minutes or more, so they end up cutting the walk short. By adding exercises during the walk, you give yourself small milestones to hit, and that is an incentive to keep going."
On the flip side, if you're looking to build endurance during your walks, Fitzgerald says it might be beneficial to do your strength circuit after the walk is complete. "If you find that it's challenging for you to start again after stopping, then doing your strength work after a walk might be best for you. Another added benefit to waiting post-walk is that you will be properly warmed up before you hit your circuit."
No matter where you place your bodyweight moves, Fitzgerald has a workout recommendation for you. Next time you head out for a power walk, give one of these simple, equipment-free circuits a go.
Each round should take 6-8 minutes to complete — totaling 32 minutes. Complete "Round 1" two times, and take a two-minute rest in-between. Then, complete "Round 2" twice, with another two-minute rest in between.
Round 1: Complete twice
15 air squats
10 push-ups — these can be done on a wall for a modification
10 reverse lunges — repeat on each side
30-second side plank — repeat on each side
Every 5-10 minutes, stop for a round of 10 squats, 10 push-ups, and 10 mountain climbers.
Every time you see a certain color car or, say, a squirrel, do 10 burpees. Fitzgerald recommends getting creative here. Click here for more health and wellness stories, tips, and news.