Step it up

Heading outdoors to hit your step count? Make your daily walk work harder by toning as you go, with these tips from fitness expert Jennie Gadsby.
Published 23 April, 2018
1. Swing your arms

‘Using an effective arm motion while walking can burn 5-10 per cent more calories and engages more of your core muscles. Here’s how: arms should be bent at your sides, with elbows at 90 degrees, and hands relaxed. As you step forward with one foot, swing your opposite arm. The movement should be forwards, not up, with elbows kept close to your body (not out wide) and hands should rise no higher than your chest.’

2. Vary your pace

‘Mixing up the pace is great for boosting cardiovascular fitness and keeping your workout interesting. Try 30 seconds of faster walking or jogging every 2 minutes. Not quite ready for a jog? Try skipping, just like you did as a kid. It’s a good way to progress from walking to running.’

3. Add weights

‘If you don’t want to walk further or faster than you already do, adding hand or ankle weights is a great way to make your usual walk more challenging; it also helps to strengthen and tone your muscles. If you find wrist weights uncomfortable, try holding a small set of dumbbells instead. I prefer using ankle weights, as it keeps my hands free. Start with very light weights – I recommend 0.5kg – and increase gradually. But be cautious if you have lower-body joint problems or are overweight, as additional ankle weights will increase impact and could affect your natural stride.’

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