Moving up to a step goal of 10,000 steps or more can seem overwhelming at first, but if you take it one step at a time, you might surprise yourself. Adding longer and faster walks to your walking routine and finding ways to get active can kick up your step count as well as improve your cardiovascular health. It’s important to build up your endurance and pace yourself because getting fit is a marathon, not a sprint!
Try Brisk Walking
You don’t need to jog to increase the intensity. By simply waking faster, you’ll get a more intense workout and you’ll get more steps in per minute. If you’re already actively walking a mile or more each day, you’ve got a great base to begin. Break your intensity increases up into manageable chunks.
- Always warm up by walking at a leisurely speed before increasing the pace
- Start with fast-walking intervals
- Try two minutes normal walking, one-minute fast walking. If that seems too easy, bump up your brisk walking time by 15-second increments. If you’re not ready for a minute yet, knock off 20 seconds and try again. Adjust until you find a comfortable combination.
- Follow your initial interval ratio for one week
- Increase your brisk walking intervals by 15 to 30 seconds each week. Keep the increase gradual!
- Start reducing the normal walking time during your intervals until your routine is mostly fast walking!
Not into intervals? Try using Pacer’s GPS walk tracking to measure your pace. If you walk the same route on a routine basis, see if you can complete your walk a little faster than you did yesterday! You don’t have to track your progress every second if you don’t want to. Just start the GPS track, do your walk and see how you did. Increase your pace little by little and you’ll be working up a sweat and getting more steps before know it!
Take Longer Walks
You can also get more intense by taking longer walks. It’s obvious that the further you walk, the more steps you’ll get. You’ll also find that by taking longer walks, you’ll have time to fully warm up and walk in a brisk, easy pace which can mean even more steps. You’ll want to increase the distance slowly, just like you add intervals of brisk walking to increase your speed.
- Start with a route that you’ve walked before and you can complete easily without any problems.
- Add a short distance to your route, and see how you feel.
- Make sure that you’re only adding a short distance! The last quarter of your walk can be the most tiring, so try to keep a steady pace and stick to your plan.
- If you live in city, this could be as easy as adding an extra block at a time to your walk
- If you live in a more rural area, one block may be very far! You may need to walk a bit and then turn around, or find an area like a park or mall where you can walk for a few minutes, then turn back.
- The longer you walk, the more you’re likely to sweat and get hot. Make sure to wear light clothes (in the summer) and drink plenty of water. Summer heat can be dangerous, so stay safe and stay active!
- Find something to do to keep your interest while walking! You can try listening to podcasts or audiobooks, or finding a walking buddy to talk to.
- Pay attention to your body. If you’re feeling sore or tired on a particular day, stick closer to home and walk slower. It’s often better to take 2 laps of a shorter route so you’re close to home in case you need to end your walk early.
Again, if you are consistently walking on a regular schedule, you’re off to an excellent start. Staying consistent with your efforts is the biggest factor in helping you improve your walking endurance and staying injury-free.
- Keep your weekly intervals uniform without big increases or decreases in time or miles. Make increases gradual!
- Log your planned workouts and check them off when you’re done. It will help you see your progress.
- Rest days are important. Be sure to schedule them, but don’t take them randomly.
- If you do miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up. Write down why you missed it, consider any changes you may need to make to avoid missing workouts again, and then keep moving forward.
Set a Goal
It’s easier to maintain your momentum and stay consistent if you have a goal. Find a local 5k Run/walk nearby and focus on it. Or, chart your own 5k (or less, or more) walking path, and work up to it! It’s totally fine if you aren’t ready to go the whole distance. You can try adding in fast/slow walk intervals, or just complete part of the goal distance and work up to the rest. Having a goal in front of you helps you stay accountable, gives you something to strive for, and makes the consistency factor much easier to maintain.
You may be tempted to dramatically increase your speed or distance because the gradual additions feel too slow. Resist the urge to go to fast, too soon! You may be able to double your walking speed or distance for one day, but over a week or month you may find yourself sore, injured or burned out. Walking is an activity you can do for your entire life, and it will still be there in a month or two once you’ve built up your endurance!
Most importantly, don’t allow yourself to feel intimidated. Just because you can’t walk for 5km straight doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to in time. Be patient with yourself and remember that every small step moves you towards your goal!