Who says you need a pricey gym membership to get fit and strong? As the weather gets warmer, the great outdoors can be every bit effective as a treadmill.
A study published by the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that
being outdoors has an overall positive effect on vitality, enthusiasm and energy.

Walking can boost mood, help tone and contribute to weight loss. Whether you want to be more active or find your get-up-and-go, we've got the easy walking workouts to suit every need:

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Goal one: More energy

you needed an incentive to ditch your daily vending machine habit for a
brisk stroll, look no further. A Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology study found that a 10-minute walk provided more of an energy boost and a reduction in tension than eating a sugary snack. Heading outside for your walk will further increase energy, especially if you're getting enough sunlight to boost vitamin D levels.

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  • Start by walking at a slow-to-moderate pace for two minutes then
    speed up, but not so that you're out of breath, and walk at this pace
    for a further two minutes.
  • Then, speed up again for four
    minutes, so that you're walking at a fast enough pace to raise heart
    rate and starting to get out of breath - but so that you're still able
    to hold a conversation.
  • This increased blood flow will leave you feeling more alert.
  • Repeat this cycle twice more.

Goal two: Fat burning

Don't knock walking when it comes to reducing body fat. One Duke University study found aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, the most efficient type of exercise for shedding body fat. Intervals are a great way to prevent workout boredom setting in and they'll also help to boost fitness levels. You'll also burn more calories exercising in this way.

  • Start
    by walking at a moderate pace for five minutes to warm up. Then speed
    up so that you can still hold a conversation, but so that your heart
    rate is raised and you start to break a sweat.
  • Hold this pace for three minutes.
  • Slow down to a stroll for one minute and repeat.
  • Repeat this four minute cycle a total of five times. As you get fitter, ensure you continue to up your walking pace!

Goal three: Improve muscle tone

out for a walk is great time to multi-task - you can interrupt your
walk with minimum hassle to incorporate multi-muscle moves to strengthen
and tone while you're on the go. And equipment-free workouts may be
just the thing to help you achieve your goals - research shows
bodyweight workouts improve strength, endurance and power.

  • Pick a route with a park bench
  • Warm up by walking at a moderate-to-fast pace for five minutes.
  • Stop
    and perform one minute of walking lunges to work entire lower body.
    Take a stride forward with right leg and lower hips towards ground
    bending both knees to 90° angles. Push off with your left foot and bring
    your left leg forward to your starting standing position before
    switching legs.
  • Walk at a brisk pace for another five minutes
    and then stop at your bench to try some step-ups. Step onto the bench
    leading with your left leg. Keeping the left foot on the bench, step
    your right foot up onto the bench too. Step back down, leading this time
    with the right leg and bringing your left foot down to join it on the
    floor. Keep this going for a minute and then try it again leading with
    your right leg.
  • Staying on your bench, move into push up
    position. Stand facing the bench, position hands on the seat and walk
    your feet out behind you until legs are fully extended. Bend elbows and
    lower chest towards the bench before pushing back up to starting
    position. Do two sets of 15-20 push ups.
  • Walk at moderate pace for five minutes to cool down.

Goal four: De-stress

Need to unwind
with a quick routine? A simple outside stroll is the answer you've been
looking for! A University of Washington study found spending time with
nature helps to boost cognitive function. The important thing to remember - when heading out for your R&R walk - is that (for once) speed and intensity aren't everything.

  • Start
    out by strolling at a leisurely pace for five minutes focusing on each
    step. Concentrate on how your feet feel as they make contact with the
    ground - are your arms hanging loosely by your sides?
  • Use this
    time to focus on your breathing: practise breathing deeply – you can
    inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth if you find this
    easier and more natural. Continue walking at a slower pace to maintain
    this breathing.
  • Focus too on walking posture - keep your spine
    straight, allow arms to hang loose and take care not to over stride.
    Speed up your pace and maintain a moderate pace for five minutes. Just a
    small change in pace can further boost endorphin production which will
    help to alleviate stress.
  • Stretch out upper body by standing
    with feet hip width apart and arms extended overhead. Interlace hands
    with index finger extended upwards. Breathing deeply, slowly bend upper
    body to the right. Hold for five seconds before returning to centre and
    repeat on the left. Stretching is not only relaxing, it also helps to
    improve blood flow to your muscles and range of motion in your joints.
  • Finish your walk by strolling for five minutes practising the deep breathing technique above.


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