You’ve made the decision. Today’s the day. You’re a woman in midlife and you’re going to get serious about walking as exercise. The benefits of brisk walking are just too many to ignore, as we’ll discuss with the brisk walking tips that follow.
Walking is so simple, anyone who has the physical ability to walk can turn a stroll into a workout that burns calories, strengthens muscles, provides health benefits, and nourishes their overall fitness.
I know these things, because I LOVE To walk and have been doing walking workouts for over 20 years. For me, walking is not only good for my health and fitness, it is also a great way to relieve stress and think creatively. I’ve come up with some awesome ideas while striding down the path!
I also know that the way we approach and engage in our walk can make a big difference in how much benefit we get out of it.
Strolling is nice. I love to stroll down the beach with a cup of coffee and zone out as I watch the waves roll in. The people watching is pretty interesting, too. I love to be on the beach, it’s relaxing, and sure I get in the steps, but it’s not really a workout for me. That’s more like my fun time.
Instead, I know that these 10 simple brisk walking tips for a more effective workout are very helpful for women over 50. Increasing our walking speed (and maybe doing a little bit of power walking) has lasting health benefits. If you commit to incorporating these easy suggestions, you’ll be stepping your way to a fitter self as you get older!
By the way, if you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!
Make sure you are physically able to engage in any type of workout. Check with your physician before starting a new type of fitness routine.
Benefits of Brisk Walking
1 | Get your mind right and commit to the workout
A walk for fitness is like anything else you do – if your heart isn’t in it, the results will be lacking.
Even if you’re not in the mood for a walk, you know it’s the right thing to do. So spend a few minutes in quiet time, meditate or just sit quietly. Take some deep breaths and put on your walkin’ shoes!
If you keep a calendar, is your workout time recorded on it? This is your time to spend caring for your body and it should be given high priority.
No one is going to get your body in shape, fit and strong, except you. As women over 50 (and the Over 60 Clubbers, like me) we absolutely must be committed to keeping our bodies strong and well tuned.
2 | Don’t forget the warm-up!
Be kind to your body and include a simple warm up before beginning your brisk walking workout. You’ll feel better during, and after, your walk.
Not sure what to do for this warm up? No worries. I found the perfect, short walking warm up routine for you, video included if you’re a visual learner, so no excuses. Do these four quick exercises and you’ll be good to go: Walking Warm Up Exercises
I put a sticky note on my forehead to remind myself to do these warm ups because it’s such an essential walking tip. I am the worst at remembering this essential piece of the fitness puzzle.
Midlife comes at us with a vengeance, and a brisk walking workout is a very effective way to tick off the aerobic piece of the workout pie.
3 | Walk before eating a meal
Walk before eating if you can, or have a light snack and wait for the bigger meal until after your workout. If I’m feeling a wee bit hungry before a fitness walk, I’ll have a few Triscuits with peanut butter to hold me over and give me energy while I workout. This is an important brisk walking tip!
If you walk a half hour or so before your meal, it decreases the amount of sugar and fats that accumulate in the blood after eating, particularly when your meal is high in protein or carbs.
That recent physical activity will also stimulate your metabolism to burn energy and calories.
How about walking after a meal? If you’ve consumed a large meal, wait about 45 minutes or so before your walking workout. Your body is trying to digest a large mass of food and if you walk vigorously as well, the blood supply may over extend itself. Your heart is forced to perform at twice its rate.
4 | Walk outside if possible, and vary the route
I’m partial to outdoor workouts and am not a fan of the gym, so my walking tips and comments are not entirely objective. Weather and environment permitting, why stuff yourself indoors on a treadmill when the beautiful outdoors with fresh air is waiting for you?
My first winter back in Michigan after 13 years in Florida was brutal in this regard, so I had to be creative about getting in the daily steps. Now that the weather has turned I look forward to my daily walking workouts. They’re a part of my fitness routine that I love!
It’s helpful to keep motivated when your route is varied, so try to alternate where you go and in which direction. Have you noticed how completely different your walk looks when you go in the opposite direction? Try it and see.
5 | Keep up the pace!
Your goal is to be walking at a brisk pace. What does this mean, exactly?
Brisk walking is not strolling, and it’s a quicker pace than a moderate walk. You’re not running or jogging, but there is an ‘urgency’ to your step. The benefits of brisk walking, or power walking, are many!
You can gauge if your walk is brisk enough by:
- the growing warmth and possible sweat you’ll feel
- heavier breathing
- feeling your heart rate elevate
- you can talk if needed but not sing a song (I mean, would you really want to anyway!)
Additional Brisk Walking Tips and Benefits:
- Improves your circulation
- Strengthens your muscles
- May help you lose weight
- Supports your joints
- Might even help you sleep better 🙂
6 | Stand up straight and keep your gaze forward if possible
This brisk walking tip can seem so simple, but pay attention the next time you’re out for a brisk walk and see if it applies to you. Don’t put yourself at risk for falling, but make it a goal to look ahead rather than down.
Stand straight with your shoulders relaxed, using good posture. Keep your upper body forward just a little bit. Maintaining proper form will help you get more out of your walking program.
I tend to be a sloucher, so try to remain aware of where my eyes are looking (not at my tootsies), with my shoulders back, tummy pulled in and abs contracted. For me, it helps to reinforce not only the correct posture but I’m working my ab muscles, too. Two-for-one benefit. 🙂
7 |Avoid phone conversations
They’ll turn your walking workout into a simple stroll without even realizing it. It’s kind of like talking on the phone, hands free of course, while driving. You think you’re paying attention to the road, but you’re not 100% with it. Maintaining a good walking speed is important!
Same goes for your walking workouts. If you’re on the phone, you’re not really concentrating on the fitness routine. If you wouldn’t have a phone in your ear while lifting weights, doing yoga, zumba, etc, why would you have that conversation while walking?
8 | Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for walking briskly
The last thing you want to do is cut your workout short because the pants are too tight, the shoes are killing your feet, the girls are bouncing too much or you wore the wrong socks.
These are just examples, but I think you know what I mean with these brisk walking tips. Don’t just run out the door without thinking about what you’re wearing, and what is on your feet.
Are you wearing the right bra? How about the top and bottom of the outfit? Are you good to go? And, a good pair of walking shoes is a must! Here is another option for a very comfortable pair of shoes for walking, indoors and outside.
9 | Use a fitness or step tracker for accuracy of steps and time walked
Hint: your walk wasn’t as far as you think.
I wasn’t a good judge of distance when I first started walking. I thought I had walked so far because I was sweating and it seemed like, well, a long time. So I must have done a good job, right?
Not. It wasn’t until I invested in a fitness tracker that I learned how long and at what pace I needed to walk in order to benefit my body. Here are some of my favorite, affordable fitness trackers.
10 | Incorporate some higher intensity intervals into your walking workout
Make this decision based on your overall health and abilities. Or, go the full gambit and add HIIT, or high intensity interval training to your workout routine. That’s a different conversation, but you can read more if you follow the link in the previous sentence.
I’m referring to actions such as:
- turning up the speed and the incline at periodic intervals if you’re on a treadmill
- finding an outdoor walking route that includes some hills
- adding some step climbing to your workout. My current walking route includes a couple of hilly areas, but nothing too extreme. I add on some stair climbing at the end of my walk using the stairs in my home.
If you’re thinking that high intensity interval training (HIIT) isn’t for you at this stage in your life, you might want to learn more about LIIS, which stands for Low Intensity Steady State exercise. Very simply, it’s exercising for a continued period of time at at moderate level. For example, a 30 minute or more moderate level, brisk walk can be very beneficial. And you’re not pushing your body at a high intensity level at any time. Learn more about LISS cardio.
Bonus Tip: Backward Walking
Here’s a bonus walking tip for you, in case you’re open to a simple and unexpected way to make your walking routine more effective: walk backwards. Yep. Backwards.
Walking backwards activates a number of different muscles than walking forward, and has quite a few benefits. Of course, being confident of the path you are on, and what is upcoming, would be really important for your safety!
I’ve tried this indoors, in my home, for a couple of reasons. One, I know the route my little feet would be treading in reverse, and, it’s just me and myself with no onlookers.
I have to admit I’m not ready to share my backwards walk with the neighborhood, not just yet. But I can see how the feet and other muscles are used differently, so that motion strengthens our feet and legs in a new way.
Read more about the benefits of a backward walking routine.
As women over 50 we need to nurture our health with attention to both fitness and nutrition. We’re not living in 20 year old bodies anymore, not even close. But even so, we can look our best, feel great as we age and enjoy life to the fullest, if we’re willing to put in the time and effort.
Think about how you could reap the health benefits of an increased walking speed, whether it’s a brisk walk, power walking, or just a small increase in walking speed. Every little bit of effort you put into it will come back to you in a good way.
These 10 simple walking tips for a more effective workout are just one way for us to stay strong and fit as women in midlife. Most of us could think about how to walk faster and more. So…where will you be fitness walking today??
Grab your FREE Printable, 10 Simple Brisk Walking Tips for More Effective Walking, right here, in the Resource Library!
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50 thoughts on “10 Simple Brisk Walking Tips for a More Effective Workout”
These are excellent tips. Walking is such a great low impact exercise for any age. I love doing my daily walk, usually going out for an hour each day. I try to do mine before meals as well because it makes me appreciate the meal more afterward and I feel like I’m more hungry than if I just eat because it’s meal time.
That’s a great point, Sarah! Sometimes we eat just because it’s the appointed time, and not because our bodies need the nourishment. Thanks for your thoughts. 🙂
Excellent tips!!I had to chuckle about your distance estimates. Yes I always think the distance is farther than it is! Wishful thinking but not effective exercise measurement!
Thanks Haralee, I’m glad you appreciated the tips! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
I used to walk 4 miles a day pushing a double stroller, it was great exercise, the kids liked being outdoors (we’d sing and talk as I walked) and I loved looking around at what color people were painting their house or what flowers they were planing.
Hi Karen, yes…so many other benefits to walking that add to our life! I do the same thing as I walk, checking out the latest plantings in my neighbor’s yards!
Terrific information! I am just starting a walking exercise program. I have RA and just had a broken leg that required surgery. I’m trying to strengthen the leg and get healthier at the same time.
Hi Rena, I wish you well in your journey to gain strength in your leg and become healthier. You have some additional challenges but it can be done at your own pace and in your own time.
Thanks for the tips! My summer walking partner and I are gearing up for our summer walking routine, so this will be perfect. For me, it helps to have someone to walk with. It keeps me from flaking out!
I agree that a partner is a great way to keep focused and on track with the goals of your walk. Have fun, Lisa!
I used to run, and I loved it. Now it’s walking with Hubby. I always like to get my workout in before eating in the morning. Can’t convince Hubby of that. He wants his FULL breakfast and then walk. *sigh* It’s not the same but since he’s retired we do it together. You have some wonderful tips in the post. I’ll be taking your advice.
I think it’s wonderful that you can walk with your hubby, Marisa! I ran, or jogged, when I was in my 40’s, but it’s been a brisk walk for quite awhile now. Thanks so much for stopping by. I love your site by the way, and subscribed. 🙂
I have just enjoyed a five mile walk along the route of a local river. We did stop for a pub lunch
Hi Anne, I think that a five mile walk with a nice lunch worked into the day is lovely! Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂
Thanks Candi for these great tips for a more effective walking workout. Think they’d work me me. Most of them I do already, and I’m going to try that backward walking tomorrow. Visiting you at MLSTL. Happy WALKING!
Hey, that’s great! I would love to know what you thought of the whole backward walking experience! Thanks for stopping by, Nancy 🙂
Excellent tips. I’m a committed walker – hubby and I walk before work each morning. We’re fortunate that we have a lovely beach a short drive from our place with a great boardwalk. Even on really bad day job days that morning walk is a tick in the box.
I love that you have a scenic area for your walk, and you have a walking buddy! Thanks for stopping by, Joanne
Hi Candi. I love walking and would like to add this form of exercise to my fitness routine. This would be much more fun than my regular routine at the gym. I don’t have any trouble keeping up the quick pace, since I already run, but as you reminded me varying the walk up with hills wouldn’t hurt. Thanks for the great tips.
Hi Christina, it sounds like you already have a healthy fitness routine in place! Thanks so much for stopping by for a read. 🙂
Sharing to FB.
Candi I definitely agree about the need for a fitness tracker – I thought I walked MUCH further than I actually did and once I got the tracker I ended up taking two walks each day to get at least 8,000 steps in. I also bought good shoes with lots of under heel cushioning so my “dodgy” hip doesn’t complain too much. And walking outside is 10X more enjoyable than on an eliptical machine!
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂
I know…those doggone fitness trackers are too accurate! I love my walking shoes, the best I’ve ever had. It makes the workout more enjoyable when your feet feel good. Thanks, as always, for your support.
I agree with all your tips Candi, I try to walk everyday and love getting outside in the fresh air. It’s also good to get it in early in the day is my tip. Visiting from #mlstl
Hi Debbie, I loved the early morning walks when I lived in a tropical climate. They were the best! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Fab tips, I have arthritis and walking is one of the things I need to do to keep my joint strength. We have a little dog now and he encourages me to walk everyday, through the park and along our cheshire canal. I love looking at the step counter afterwards, it does encourage you to walk. I do envy your strolling by the beach with coffee though.
Hi Lorraine, it sounds like fun to have a little friend to walk with. I’m sure he is good company! My beach strolling days are fond memories at the moment, as I recently moved from South Florida to the Midwest. But I can close my eyes and still feel the breeze and smell the gulf waters. 🙂
Great tips, Candi! Just met you on Sue’s blog today. I walk a lot but still go to the gym. I have a walking buddy and she graciously walks one of my dogs when we go. We walk for 60 minutes and log at least 7500 steps on the Fitbit. I try not to talk on the phone with two dogs in tow, but walking really gives me good ideas for my blog and I manage to capture some great images along the way.
Hi Terri! I find that walking can open up my creativity, too. It must be the fresh air! Thanks for stopping by. 🙂
Great tips Candi and best of all walking is free and most people can do it. Apart from the physical benefits, the mental health benefits are also huge. If I’m stressed I usually go for a run or a walk in the park and it soothese my mind and brings clarity. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and promoting healthy and positive aging. xx
Hi Sue, I love that you run and are such a wonderful example of fitness to women! For me it’s walking to relieve stress, but whatever we do, it is good for our physical and mental health! xo
Hi Candi, I met you initially from Sue’s site and now on #MLSTL. I was reading about you, and I immediately smiled. A coffee snob. Something else we have in common. I love all of the information on walking. You remind me I should warm up. Interesting information for walking before a meal. I have subscribed to your site. I am sharing SM. I am glad I met you:) Erica
Hi Erica, yes, I am definitely a coffee snob! Thank you so much for subscribing, and I’m very happy to meet you, too!
I am an avid walker over 50 and I follow at lot of your tips. I don’t do backward walking but now I will give it a try. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Pam, good for you to be willing to try backward walking! I still haven’t worked up the nerve to try it in my neighborhood, maybe soon. 🙂
Thanks for the great tips Candi. The weather is perfect for walking where I live right now–warm enough you don’t need a jacket, but not so warm it’s terribly uncomfortable. I will put your tips into practice for my next walk. #MLSTL
Hi Christie, thanks for stopping by for a read. I love walking in weather just as you described! 🙂
These are great tips. I try to head out with my boys hiking a few times a week but when we can’t get a hike in a walk around the neighborhood does quite well as a substitute. Though I have noticed the more we hike and walk the faster our pace naturally is and we have to walk further to get that same workout benefit.
Hi, and thanks for stopping by! Yes, I know that as we gain strength, endurance and speed we have to up our game a bit. Hiking sounds like great fun with the boys!
I love to go walking! Thank you for these great tips and for linking up at #BloggingGrandmothersLinkParty
Hi Lori, thanks so much for stopping by for a read!
Great tips and info! As soon as it starts to cool down I am going to start walking again, it always makes me feel so much better. Right now I just go walk around the mall without stopping for a while, but your right about being outside!!
Hi Holly, I know that the weather can be a detriment if it’s too hot. I found that when I lived in Florida during the summer months. But any type of walking is better than none!
Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 1! Pinned ♥
Thank you for offering this option, Dee!
Thanks for the tips, especially the warm up routine! If I can look as good as you once I get a routine going, then I am all in!!
Thank you so much, Catherine, I’m glad you stopped by!
I’m a walker too! It really is the only exercise that gets at stubborn fat, especially when you can add some hill work in. People often think it’s not as good as running but because of the safety, I think it’s the best exercise. #MLSTL
Hi Sara, I absolutely agree with you! It’s a wonderful all-over workout for me when I keep up the pace.