If you’ve been taking part in #walktowellbeing then you’re going to love this easy workout to complement your training
Walking conveys a host of mind and body boosting benefits including improved joint health, increased mood, reduced stress and enhanced fitness, to name but a few. If you’re looking to reap the rewards of this great form of exercise by being able to tackle steeper hills, pick up your pace or increase your step count, then try these strength training exercises twice or three times a week.
Each move targets those muscles involved in walking to develop strength, coordination and endurance. Perform each exercise in a circuit format, moving quickly from one to the next to complete all five. Rest for up to two minutes between circuits and complete up to five circuits in total.
Step up (15 reps each leg)
1. Begin standing with a step or box just in front of you. Place one foot onto the box, pushing through the heel of that leg to step up onto the box.
2. Slowly bend your hip and knee to step down, then repeat on the other leg. Make sure you place the whole of your foot onto the step with each rep. Keep your chest up and back straight throughout.
3. The higher the step, the harder the challenge – just make sure that your front knee remains in line with your toes and doesn’t move in or out as you step up or down.
4. Hold a dumbbell in each hand to increase the challenge.
Back extensions (12 reps)
1. Begin lying on your front with your arms extended straight out in front of you.
2. Slowly raise one arm and the opposite leg, as well as your head and chest, two inches off the floor. Try to maintain a constant distance between your chin and chest to keep your head in a neutral position.
3. Lower to the floor and then repeat with the other arm and leg to complete one rep.
Plank march (8 reps)
1. Begin in a plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Engage your core, as well as squeezing your glutes. You may also squeeze your lats (just below your armpits) for added stability.
2. Slowly raise one leg off the floor, take it out to the side slightly then place it back down on the floor. Do the same on the other leg. Reverse the movement to bring both feet back to the start. This counts as one rep.
3. The aim is to keep your hips completely level as you lift and move each leg. Exhale as you lift and inhale as you lower.
Hip bridge (15 reps)
1. Lie on your back with your hips and knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and your arms straight out to the sides for support.
2. Contract your glutes to lift your hips off the floor, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Keep the back of your neck long, without dropping your chin towards your chest.
3. Hold this position for a count of one then slowly lower your hips to just off the floor, and repeat.
4. To increase the challenge, shift your arms so they are resting on the floor by your sides, or even off the floor altogether.
Sit to stand (10 reps each leg)
1. Stand with a box or chair just behind you, then raise one foot off the floor slightly, taking your arms out in front of you for balance.
2. Bend your hip and knees to sit down onto the chair. Allow your upper body to move backwards so your shoulders are above your hips. Move your upper body forwards to create a little momentum, then straighten your legs to return to standing.
3. Throughout the exercise, make sure your back remains straight and that your knee and toes stay in line with each other. Perform 10 reps on one leg, then swap legs and repeat.
4. Start with a box or step that is higher than your knee, then reduce the height of the box to increase the challenge. Alternatively, aim to lightly touch the box with your glutes before returning to standing as opposed to sitting on it completely.
Professional PT Kristoph Thompson guides us through a quick and easy home workout each month. If you enjoyed this one, why not share your fitness results over on Facebook @healthandwellbeingmag