Want to walker faster, sidestep injuries and beat boredom? Then take a cue from professional athletes who include activities like weight training, pilates and yoga in their workout routines to strengthen and stretch the muscles that their sports overlook. If you’re like most walkers, you likely need more upper body and core muscle strength along with greater flexibility. Try a few of the following exercises at the end of your walks, or combine them to create a standalone mini-workout. Perform eight to 10 repetitions of each strength exercise, and hold the stretches for one minute.
Improve your core strength
Lying on your back with your arms at your sides, palms down, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. Tighten your abdominal muscles, and raise your hip bones toward the ceiling creating a straight line from your upper back to your knees. Hold for two seconds, then slowly lower back to the starting position.
Pilates double-leg lowers
Lying on your back, raise your feet toward the ceiling, keeping your legs together and straight. With your hands behind your head and your elbows wide, pull your abdominals in and curl your shoulders off the floor. Keeping your legs straight, lower both legs as far as you can while keeping your back raised, then return to the starting position.
Increase your flexibility
Yoga high lunge
Step forward into a lunge position aligning your front knee over your front heel and keeping your back knee straight, toes facing forward. Reach overhead keeping your arms straight and place your palm together. Press your hips forward to intensify the stretch in the front of the back leg.
Pilates front-thigh stretch
Kneel on one knee and place a large exercise ball beside your front foot. Using the ball for support, press your pelvis toward the ball creating a diagonal straight line from your back knee to your head.
Strengthen your upper body
With your feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, bend forward until your torso is parallel to the floor. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, raise your arms until they’re parallel to the ground. Lower the dumbbells until your arms are straight.
Dumbbell triceps extensions
Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight and above your shoulders and your palms facing in. Bending your elbows, lower the dumbbells toward your head and then return to the starting position.