I’ve always thought that walking doesn’t get enough credit. Sure it’s not as sexy as running, but it’s a great workout perfect for so many levels of fitness. It’s particularly awesome during pregnancy when you no longer want to jostle your bump and the postpartum period when you’re wanting to ease back into fitness. Today, Nikki Glor shares moves you can do during your next walking workout!
Staying in shape while pregnant and getting in shape after having a baby is not walk in the park … but it could be. After a complicated emergency C-section and surgery three months later, I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to jog or do jumping jacks ever again (especially scary for a fitness instructor). I discovered that taking walks with fitness moves and intervals saved my body, built my stamina and gave me a de-stressing break from the nonstop baby needs at home. I recommend them to all my clients who are getting in shape after having a baby (once they cleared by a doctor, usually around 6 weeks after our baby is born).
If you are pregnant and have been active up until conception, including active walking is often the best way to work out because there is no bouncing (bladder discomfort) and keeps you in a less-strenuous exertion level while providing many benefits of more intense workouts.
I created a video (DVD/App) called the NikkiFitness Walking Workout for exercise when you can’t leave the house, and below are some suggested walking moves you can do when you CAN get out of the house … and back on track with your fitness goals!
Walking Hamstring Curls
Step forward with right leg and bend left knee, doing a hamstring curl by engaging the hamstring and bringing the left heel towards your backside. Bend both elbows into biceps curls as you curl the leg and straighten them as you lower the leg. Repeat on the other side for each step.
Step forward with the right leg and kick the left leg backwards, keeping it straight. Bring the left leg back to start and in front of you to land your next step, while kicking back the right leg. This will engage and tone the glutes (butt). Add a triceps toner by doing kickbacks with both of your arms for every step. Lift the elbows high and behind you, with fists at your ribcage. Straighten both arms as you kick back the leg and engage your triceps. Keep elbows where they are and bring your first back towards your ribs.
Five minutes into your walk, stop and stand with legs wide, toes pointing slightly out to the sides and directly under your ankles. Lower down so that your hips and knees are almost in line, and keep your shoulders back, over your hips and straighten legs back up again. Do an “air push-up” with arms at the same time by bending elbows at 90 degrees, and lifting them to shoulder height. Pull the elbows back each time your squat, to engage your upper back muscles (squeeze shoulder blades together but keep shoulders relaxed and away from the ears.) Each time you stand up, push arms forward like you are doing a push-up, to engage the chest. If you chose to walk forward while doing this move, step forward with one leg as your stand up, moving like a sumo wrestler, being sure to keep knees and toes wide and out to the side. The rhythm would be step, squat, step, squat.
Outer Thigh Lifts
Continue walking forward but bend the right leg as you step on it. Lift the left leg out to the side with a flexed foot, toes forward and heels back parallel to the floor, along with your arms (straighten them and lift fists to shoulder height to work the shoulders). Bend the left leg forward and bend it to step forward while lowering arms. Repeat on the right side by lifting the flexed foot and leg out to the right about 2 feet off the ground and raising the arms out to the side to shoulder height, then lower arms and land forward on bent right leg.
While you’re walking, add this interval for a little plyometrics to increase your heart rate and fire up your muscles even more. Step forward on your right foot. Punch your right hand to the ceiling while lifting your left knee off the ground and hoping off the ground with your right foot. March left, right. Then step left and hop on your left foot with left hand punching the sky and bring right knee up to hip level. The rhythm should be right step, (1) right hop (2), left step (3) right step (4), left step (5), left hop (6), right step (7), left step (8).
Step forward on your right foot. At the same time put both closed fists up by your chin (“put up your dukes”). Bring your left knee up to hip level then thrust your flexed right foot forward, pushing through the heel as if to knock a door down. Punch your left (opposite side) fist straight out and across the body toward the right. Bring your right arm back in quickly and snap your left leg back in and down. Repeat on the other side. The rhythm should be step right (1), left kick (2), left step (3), right step (4), left step (5), right kick (6), right step (7), left step (8).
This move works legs, thighs and shoulders. Step forward and wide right with your right foot while bringing your right arm up to the right at shoulder level and slightly to the front. Step the left foot forward and wide left while bringing your left arm up to left at shoulder level and slightly to the front. Your arms should now be in a V formation. Step the right foot forward and center, while bringing the right arm back to the hip. Step the left foot forward and bring the left fist back to your hip. The rhythm should be: right wide, left wide, right center, left center. As usual, repeat the interval for 30 seconds.
Rainy Day Indoor Bonus Moves
On rainy days, take the walking workout to your treadmill or one at the gym. If a treadmill is not available, get my 30-minute no-equipment Anti-Aging Walking Workout DVD or download the app for itunes or android. It was shot on a beach, so it’s another way to cheer you up on a rainy day! There are 15 bonus moves that march your muscles past a basic walk.
If it’s not rainy, do the treadmill or video workout on Friday so that you can add an increased incline and moves at least once that week. In week 1 walk uphill at 3 grade incline; in week 2 walk uphill with an incline of 5. Week 3 = 10 incline and week 4= 15 percent incline.
Walk uphill on the treadmill for 30 minutes total (uphill targets calves and glutes much more!) for each indoor workout. However, every 5 minutes do an interval of 30 seconds walking with legs wide on the treadmill, then 30 seconds crossing legs slightly like a runway model. This will target inner and outer thighs. For the last 2 minutes of the 30 minute uphill walk, turn to the right and skip uphill by stepping the right leg out, then jumping the left leg up to meet the right and landing on the left foot first, then stepping the right foot uphill again. For the final minute, turn and do this on your left side. Use the handles for support the first few times you try this. It also works the inner and outer thighs, and you get a mood boost by skipping — you can’t help but smile!
Music. I have upbeat music playlists in different genres on my website at Nikkifitness.com but you can also just create your own by combining your favorite songs. Maybe you chose music from a trip you took, a time in your life that was especially happy, or something beachy.
Audiobooks. This is my secret walking weapon! I download audiobooks from iTunes or the library to my phone, throw on some headphones and ONLY allow myself to “read” while walking. This way, you look forward to your walk even more because you are dying to know what happens next!
Friends. Workouts are always better with friends. Instead of going out to eat, drink alcohol, or go to a movie, make active playdates with friends so you can both motivate, laugh, make the time fly by, and avoid the extra calories that other plans might add.
A big thanks to Nikki for the workout and tips! I’m totally going to have to do the audiobook one… —Erin