If you think about HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts, you might not think about walking. In fact, walking might be the farthest thing from your mind, when you consider how most HIIT workouts involve moves like burpees, pushups, jump squats, and sprints. However, the idea of a HIIT workout is not based on the moves that you do but the way in which your workout is structured. As the name implies, HIIT involves short intervals of high-intensity movements and short recovery rest periods in between. Therefore, you can structure a walking workout that can provide some of the same benefits that more traditional HIIT workouts do.
Benefits of HIIT Workouts
The benefits of HIIT workouts is that they are considered to provide an efficient and high-intensity workout that helps you to burn a lot of calories and build strength in a short amount of time. Some champions of HIIT workouts also suggest that it may improve your health and fitness levels at much higher rates than other steady-state workouts.
Benefits of a Walking Workout
Walking is a low impact and easy workout for many people. Regardless of your fitness level, ability, or endurance, walking is a great cardiovascular activity that does not require a gym, equipment, or particular clothing. It is a phenomenal way to get moving and keep your general fitness levels up, even when in recovery from an injury. One thing to remember is that for a HIIT workout to be successful, you need to be performing the activity at maximum effort during the interval. Of course, this can be hard during a walking workout as we are all comfortable in our normal walking pace and maintaining a more intense pace can be difficult.
A Walking Workout
There are many variations on a walking HIIT workout that you can do, depending on your endurance level and how intense you would like to make it. There are several levels of walk that you should move between for the workout:
- Recovery walk: this is the level that you walk at in between higher intensity sessions. Keep this walk steady and consistent, but do not push yourself too hard.
- Conversational pace walk: this is the level of walk where you should be able to hold a conversation, but still be moving at a decent speed.
- Speed walk: this pace should be when you push yourself hard while walking. You might not be able to maintain a conversation and should be actively pushing yourself to move as much as possible.
- Fast walk: this is the fastest pace that you can walk at. You will only need to hold this pace for short periods of time, but it should be at maximum intensity.
The program that you choose to follow may vary, but it should involve variation between the different kinds of walks mentioned above. Here are several examples of workouts that you could do:
- 10 minutes of conversational walk, 2 minutes recovery walk, 10 minutes conversational walk
- 3 minutes speed walk, 1-minute recovery walk (repeat six times)
- 1-minute fast walk, 1-minute conversational walk (repeat 10 times)
- 5 min conversational walk, 5 min speed walk, 4 min conversational, 4 min speed, 3 min conversational, 3 min speed, 2 min conversational, 2 min speed, 1 min conversational, 1 min speed
As you are able to see from the above, there are a lot of variations on walking HIIT workouts that you can try, depending on your fitness levels, time availability, and endurance. Whatever you elect to do, make sure to put maximum effort into the higher intensity intervals in order to get the most that you can out of every single workout.
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