Episode 127: February 26, 2013
by Ben Greenfield
Sometimes, especially after a long day of work, I just don’t feel like going to the gym. Other times, especially when I’m traveling, I may not have access to a gym or exercise equipment. These are the times when it comes in handy to head out the door for a fitness walk.
Despite the title, a fitness walk does not simply involve walking, but instead combines walking with special body weight exercises designed to help you burn fat and build lean muscle en route. Compared to regular walking, which actually doesn’t burn many calories unless you’re walking uphill or carrying some kind of weight, a fitness walk can actually give you a big fitness boost.
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How Many Calories Does Walking Burn?
As I alluded to, walking doesn’t actually burn that many calories. For average calories burnt per mile, multiply your weight by about 0.5. For example, I weigh 175 pounds. So I would burn roughly 85 calories a mile. Ultimately, that is not very significant when you consider that the average mocha is around 400 calories - so you’d have to trudge almost 5 miles to burn off that one beverage!
This is where a fitness walk comes in handy – think of it as throwing a calorie curveball at your curveball that amps up your metabolism by working far more muscles than simply walking – and keeps you burning calories long after you’ve finished your walk.
How to Do a Fitness Walk
Here’s how a fitness walk works (it’s actually quite simple):
Walk for a certain period of time, such as 3, 4, or 5 minutes. Walk as briskly as possible, with a high foot turnover and a vigorous swing of your arms. To burn more calories, give you more energy, and work your core muscles, focus on deep diaphragmatic breathing as you walk.
After you’ve walked for the set period of time, simply stop and do 10-20 repetitions of a body weight exercise, which could be a push-up, squat, or lunge variation. Occasionally, I’ll do a fitness walk holding a light set of dumbbells or a Gymstick to give myself even more exercise variety.
Once you finish your body weight exercise, simply start walking again!
Your fitness walk can last 20 minutes, or, if you’ve got a long chunk of time carved out, up to a couple hours. In this episode, I’ll give you a sample 80-minute fitness walk that you can modify to be as short as 20 minutes or as long as you’d like!
Get-Fit Guy’s Fitness Walk Workout
This 80-minute fitness walk is designed to give you a full body workout during the course of a brisk walk. It includes 5 separate body walk exercises that are performed every few minutes during the walk, and requires no equipment except a pair of walking or running shoes. It can be performed by beginner exercisers who need a structured workout, seasoned fitness enthusiasts who would like a new workout, or travelers who have limited gym or health club access.
Here are videos for each of the exercises in this fitness walk:
Walk for 4 minutes. Make sure it is a brisk walk in which you swing your arms vigorously and practice deep breathing.
After 4 minutes, stop and do 15-20 Hindu Squats.
Start walking again – for another 4 minutes. Then stop and do 15-20 Mountain Climbers
Walk again for 4 minutes, and this time stop and do 10-15 Reverse Lunges for each leg.
Walk again for 4 minutes, then stop and do 10-15 Push-Ups.
Finally, walk another 4 minutes and do 10-15 Russian Twists per side.
Now you start over, and continue the cycle, for up to 80 minutes. Of course you can just do 1 circuit for a quick 20-minute walking workout!
That’s it! You now know how to get a great cardiovascular workout with some added body toning moves too. Enjoy your fitness walk!
If you have more questions about how to do a fitness walk, or have your own ideas, then post them in the comments section of the Get-Fit Guy web site or join the conversation at Facebook.com/GetFitGuy!