Walking is a form of therapy for me. I like to get outdoors and enjoy the sights, smells, and smiles of others out on their daily stroll. Whether you’re walking solo, with your mom (like me most days), with your partner or a friend – there is something so cathartic and relaxing about walking.
Don’t you ever feel like there are some days you just need to get moving? You’ve been cooped up in the house for too many hours or you’ve had a long day at the office – fresh air and a little circulation will do you SO much good!
Whether you’re beginning a regular fitness regimen, re-starting after an injury or a break or want to level up your walk – add in these three bodyweight cardio exercises to get your heart rate up and burn more calories.
On a walk at the park where I’m trying to up the intensity, I will add step ups, push ups and mountain climbers every time I come across a bench.
Perform on set of these 3 exercises consecutively at every bench. All 3 bodyweight cardio exercises shouldn’t take you more than 2 minutes at each bench: 10 step ups, 10 push ups, 15 mountain climbers – then continue your walk.
Take note: benches are usually a little bit higher than they seem when you’re standing on them versus sitting so you’ll actually be stepping up quite far. Test it out first to make sure you are comfortable that you can safely perform the step up before you begin. If you don’t feel confident, switch to high knees or lunges.
Place your left foot on the bench and use all your weight to step yourself up using only the left leg. Simultaneously bring your right leg up but don’t let it rest on the bench, drive the knee upwards. *You can rest your right foot on the bench if you need to for balance* Finally, bring your right leg back down to the ground and step off the bench with your left foot. Alternate this process for 10 repetitions.
Place your hands on the front of the bench shoulder width apart and walk your feet out until your body is completely straight. You want to have a flat back, suck your tummy in to keep your core tight and squeeze your booty to help keep everything in alignment.
Once you’re in place, use your arms to lower yourself toward the bench. Go as far as you can go while maintaining good form, if you can only push a couple of inches, that’s fine. Then push back out to the straight and flat position.
The bench will make this more of an incline push up which is a little easier than a standard push up. If you need it to be easier than this, use the high back of the bench, instead of the low front.
Mountain climbers are a great cardio exercise to get your heart pumping quickly. For this work out I alternated 5 reps of slow controlled knee drives and 10 fast knee drives.
To do a mountain climber, place your hands on the front of the bench, walk your feet out until your body is straight, core is tight, booty is squeezed and tight and your back is flat. Alternate driving one knee at a time toward your chest. Perform 5 (each side) slow and then 10 (each side quick).
Walking is my time to disconnect from technology and decompress. I elect not to listen to music, personally, because I just want to be present and take in the environment around me. I also don’t talk on the phone or take pictures. Often times, I’m walking with my mother and we chat about plans, ideas, inspiration and sometimes even troubleshoot or problem solve life issues.
I don’t walk to consciously burn calories but it’s definitely a bonus. Walking is a great low-intensity steady state cardio and the perfect way for anyone to start a weight loss or fitness journey. Just remember you are on your own path – making the best choices for you.