Fitness Tips

3 Exercises to Add to Your Walking Workout for a Boost of Benefits

Much like Kevin Jonas, walking has long been underrated. But as we continue to shake this "all or nothing" mentality about fitness, the value of a good stroll becomes even more apparent. "The benefits are vast," says Onyx trainer Juliet Root. "Walking improves muscular endurance and strength, it increases energy levels, boosts our mood and cognition, and even strengthens the immune system. I use it as a form of ritual to connect to my body, mind, and spirit—I pop on a podcast, head out into nature, and away I go into an immersive experience that I look forward to every day."

Given all its perks, it’s unsurprising that walking is one of the best exercises you can do for longevity, and a favorite form of physical activity in the Blue Zones, where the longest-living people on the planet reside. In these areas you'll find that walking is in integral part of daily life. Walking in and of itself is considered a weight-bearing exercise. So, while it's not strength training, it does help build muscular endurance because your body has to support its own weight. If you want to add even more benefits to your next stroll, try one of these walking exercises from Root.

3 walking exercises to level up your next stroll

1. Carry some weights

"Walking already works your core and entire lower body, but adding in some weights can take things up a notch and work your upper body, as well as spike your heart rate," says Root. Dumbbells, your dog who won't leave the dog park until you carry him away, ankle-and-wrist weights. There are lots of options to choose from here, but since walking is a muscular endurance activity, stick with a lighter weight you can carry for the long haul.

2. Take breaks to do mobility work

"I love to incorporate mobility exercises into a walking routine," says Root. "You can do hamstring kicks, alternating quad stretches, hip circles, and arm swings to gain more flexibility and function in your entire body."

Here’s a quick mobility workout you can do on the go: 

3. Add bodyweight movements

Root also recommends incorporating bodyweight movements, like lunges and squats, to add intensity to your walk. Just be extra aware of your movements so that you don't phone it in on your form in order to increase their benefits and reduce your rise of injury.

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