Get Out of the Cold with an Indoor Walking Workout

Want to shrink body fat, improve your mood and boost your immune system? Start walking!

I'm a fitness expert and the creator of the Walking for Weight Loss, Wellness and Energy DVD, so I'm often asked about the best workouts that don't require a gym membership. I’ve created a 30-minute workout exclusively for iVillage that can be done indoors -- all you have to do is simply walk in place.

After you warm up, start each interval with two minutes of brisk walking. To boost your intensity and work more muscles, add in arm movements throughout your workout. Aim to do this workout five days per week for the best results. Start by walking on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for your first week; add in Saturday during weeks 2 and 3; and then add in a fifth day.

Warm Up

Goal: Warm up and elevate your heart rate
Easy-Pace Walk: 2 Minutes
Toe-Tapping Arm Circles: 1 Minute

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent and arms at your sides. Quickly tap your toes, alternating between right and left foot while tracing circles with your arms for one minute and then walk in place.

 

Interval Set #1: Side-Leg Sweeps

Goal: Work your hips and thighs
Brisk Walk: 2 Minutes
Side-Leg Sweeps: 1 Minute

Start with your feet together, knees slightly bent, hands on your hips and abs tight. Sweep your left leg out to the side of your body, lifting it 45 degrees and flexing your foot. Quickly bring it back, bend your knees, and then sweep the right leg.

 

Interval Set #2: Heel-Dig Pressbacks

Interval Set #2: Heel-Dig Pressbacks

Vanessa Rogers Photography at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach

Goal: Work your backside and strengthen your shins
Brisk Walk: 2 Minutes
Heel Dig Pressback: 1 Minute

Stand with your feet together, knees slightly bent, arms by your sides, palms facing back. Extend your right leg out, flexing the foot and digging your heel into the floor as you press your arms behind you past your hips. Quickly switch feet and keep alternating for one minute.

 

Interval Set #3: Skater Taps

Interval Set #3: Skater Taps

Vanessa Rogers Photography at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach

Goal: Work your hips, thighs and glutes, and build coordination and agility while keeping your brain stimulated
Brisk Walk: 2 Minutes
Skater Taps: 1 Minute

Stand with your feet together, knees bent and right heel lifted off the ground. Bend your elbows and bring your left arm slightly in front of your body and push your right arm back. Take a wide step out to the right. Tap the left foot into the right, lifting the heel as you swing your right arm forward and left arm back. Repeat quickly for one minute, changing sides each time you tap.

 

Interval Set #4: Inner-Thigh Crossovers

Interval Set #4: Inner-Thigh Crossovers

Vanessa Rogers Photography at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach

Goal: Target your inner thighs
Brisk Walk: 2 Minutes Inner-Thigh Crossover: 1 Minute

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your hands on your hips. With your toe pointed, sweep your left leg across your right, crossing the midline of your body and then come back to starting position. Alternate legs for one minute.

 

Interval Set #5: Box Steps

Interval Set #5: Box Steps

Vanessa Rogers Photography at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach

Goal: Improve coordination and agility while engaging your hips and glutes
Brisk Walk: 2 Minutes
Box Steps: 1 Minute

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your elbows bent and hands in fists. Imagine there is an outline of a square on the floor in front of you. Step each foot forward to the "corner" of the box and then step back the corners behind you, letting your arms swing naturally. Repeat as many times as you can for one minute.

 

Interval Set #6: Wide-Row Tap Backs

Interval Set #6: Wide-Row Tap BacksVanessa Rogers Photography at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach

Goal: Improve your posture and strengthen your upper back and glutes
Brisk Walk: 2 Minutes
Wide Row Tap Backs: 1 Minute

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your arms extended out straight at shoulder height, hands clenched. Extend your right leg behind your hip, tapping your right toe on the floor while pulling your arms back, fist to shoulder. Return to the starting position and alternate legs. Repeat as many times as you can for one minute.

 

Interval Set #7: Stepping Chest Push

Interval Set #7: Stepping Chest Push

Vanessa Rogers Photography at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach

Goal: Strengthen your chest and thighs while building coordination
Brisk Walk: 2 Minutes
Stepping Chest Push: 1 Minute

Stand with your feet together and knees slightly bent. Bend your elbows and pull your arms back, bringing your hands just outside of your chest with your palms faced outward. Take a wide step forward with the right leg and extend both arms in front of you as if you’re trying to push a heavy door closed. Return to start and alternate legs for one minute.

 

Interval Set #8: Heel Walks

Interval Set #8: Heel Walks

Vanessa Rogers Photography at Canyon Ranch Miami Beach

Goal: Strengthen the shins to prevent muscular imbalances that could lead to trips and falls
Brisk Walk: 2 Minutes
Heel Walks: 1 Minute

Just as it sounds, walk forward on your heels, flexing your toes all the way off the floor for four steps and then walk backwards. Repeat as many times as possible for one minute. If these muscles are weak you may need to take a brief rest. Just go for as long as you can.

 

Cool Down

Hip Flexor Stretch 
Goal: Release tension in the hip flexors and quadriceps
Hip Flexor Stretch: 1 Minute

Bending your left leg and grabbing your foot with your left hand, pull your foot back toward your butt. (Extend your right arm for balance or hold onto a chair or wall for more support). Push your hips forward and take some deep breaths, holding the stretch for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

Calf Stretch
Goal: Release tension in the calf muscles
Calf Stretch: 1 Minute

This helps stretch two calf muscles, the gastrocnemius and the soleus. First, stand with your feet together and hands on your hips. Take a wide step back with your right leg and press your heel down into the floor. Hold for about 15 seconds. (If you don’t feel a stretch you may need to widen your stance). Next, bring your feet a little closer together and step forward. With your right heel still on the ground, bend your right knee slightly, holding for 15 seconds. Switch sides and repeat both stretches.

 

 

Tips to Maximize Your Walking Workout

 

Maintain good posture
Walking with good posture can make you more comfortable and boost your calorie burn by engaging more muscles in the process. When you walk, think of standing tall, keeping your shoulders pressed back and down, with your ears lined up with your shoulders (avoid jutting your chin forward). Keep your hips neutral -- don’t tuck your pelvis under or arch through your back. Even if you are walking in place, be sure to make your movements powerful and push off the floor with each step. Support your back and work your abdominals by keeping your abs lightly braced in towards your spine (you should still be able to breathe comfortably).

Monitor your efforts
The pace of your brisk walking intervals during this routine should be challenging, but not impossible to maintain. Pay attention to your breathing -- it should be hard to carry on a long conversation, but a yes or no answer is manageable. If things start to feel too easy, be sure to ramp up your efforts to stay in your own personal challenge zone.

Up the intensity the right way
A simple way to amp up your walks is to simply pick up your pace, while maintaining good posture and engaging your abs. But if you still want more, consider adding some weight. Holding onto hand weights while walking can be tough on the joints, so if you want to up the challenge level this way, wear a weighted vest. The vest adds the additional pounds where your body can handle it safely (at your core) and helps you burn more calories since you’ll have to work harder to move at the same pace.

Choose the right shoes
Whether you're working out inside or out, proper footwear is a must for an enjoyable walk. Look for a comfortable pair or walking or cross training sneakers with the right amount of support and fit for your foot. Wide feet for example need a wider toe box; flat feet need more arch support. Ask the athletic store clerk for assistance finding the perfect pair for you.

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