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Interval Walking - With or Without a Pedometer

Updated on March 29, 2012

How to Interval Walk

Exercise is More Than Just Weight Loss

Exercise is beneficial for reasons other than just weight loss. One of the most known alternative benefits of exercise is improved health. Exercise can reduce the risk of obesity-related health problems including prediabetes, diabetes, and heart disease. But the benefits don’t stop at weight loss and improved health. Exercise also boosts brain power. According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a modest aerobic walking program prevents atrophy of the hippocampus (the portion of the brain responsible for memory) and may even make it larger. Exercise is also known to protect against many forms of cancer including those of the breast, colon, endometrium, prostate, and lung.

Proper Posture for Walking
Proper Posture for Walking | Source

What is Interval Walking?

Interval walking is an exercise in which a person alternates between periods of high intensity and slower recovery walking. Interval walking boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories and fat in a shorter period of time. You heard right – in a shorter period of time. You just lost your excuse of not having enough time to exercise! Interval walking for 20 minutes every other day shifts your metabolism into high gear and you burn more calories and fat than if you walked at a constant, steady pace for 40 minutes. Interval walking not only burns more calories and fat in those 20 minutes but due to higher intensity of the workout you continue to burn more fat and calories even after you stop exercising!

To get the most out of your walking routine you should wear athletic shoes with proper support and choose synthetic athletic socks that will wick away moisture and keep your feet dry and cool. Warm up your muscles before you start interval walking by starting your walk at a slow or moderate pace. Be sure to maintain proper posture while walking, keeping your abdominals tightened, your chest lifted, and your chin parallel to the ground. When taking a step roll your foot from heel to toe and contract your glutes (butt muscles). Remember to start out slowly and build your way up to the intervals. Listen to your body and remember not to push yourself too hard at first.

Example of an Interval Walk

  • Warm up with a 5 minute walk at an easy pace – this is in place of stretching
  • Walk at a brisk pace for 15 seconds and then at a slow pace for 60 seconds
  • Repeat the 15 seconds and 60 seconds 8 times
  • Cool down with a 5 minute walk at an easy pace

You should not stress too much over keeping track of time. Set a timer or watch to keep track of 20 minutes for you. Then you just have to focus on counting 15 seconds, 60 seconds, 15 seconds, 60 seconds and so on. Remarkably, counting the minutes for intervals makes my workout fly by.

Funny Pedometer Joke
Funny Pedometer Joke | Source

How to Gauge How Fast You’re Walking

The easiest way to determine your pace without wearing a pedometer is to count your number of steps per minute. Then use the following chart to convert your steps to miles and pace:

  • 70 steps per minute = 30 minutes per mile = 2 miles per hour
  • 105 steps per minute = 20 minutes per mile = 3 miles per hour
  • 140 steps per minute = 15 minutes per mile = 4 miles per hour

The average 150 pound person burns between 80 and 100 calories per mile. However, several other factors determine exact number of calories burned such as height, weight, fitness level, terrain, clothing, and temperature.

Interval walking can be done just as easily on a treadmill as outdoors – don’t let cold weather or 98 degree days keep you from getting your exercise. Another fun way to perform intervals is on a bicycle. You can use a regular bike or a stationary bike to get the same results. Interval walking/training may not be for you and that’s perfectly acceptable. What’s most important is that you find an exercise program that works for you and that you stick with it.

Walking Dogs
Walking Dogs | Source

Easy Ways to Add Exercise into Your Day

  1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  2. Walk to daily errands if possible
  3. If you must drive, park as far away from a building as possible
  4. At work, take phone calls standing up
  5. Perform leg lifts while washing dishes
  6. Walk your dog - if you don’t have a dog ask a neighbor or friend to borrow theirs
  7. Contract and relax muscle groups while sitting
  8. Power clean the house – run around like you’re having company in 20 minutes and the house HAS to be spotless
  9. Use a push mower to cut your grass – or better yet use a reel mower and get exercise while protecting our planet
  10. Play with your kids – seriously, get in the trampoline with them or throw a dance party


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    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Great to see you VengefulArt! I love walking too because it releases extra energy that I don't know what to do with :) Enjoy your walk.

    • VengefulArt profile image

      VengefulArt 6 years ago from Las Vegas

      This is great because its easy ways to incorporate exercise into daily life. I'm ADD so moving and jolting is what i do best. lol

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Thank you Kamalesh :) make sure to get out and enjoy a walk today!

    • Kamalesh050 profile image

      Kamalesh050 6 years ago from Sahaganj, Dist. Hooghly, West Bengal, India

      Excellent hub, Very Interesting and Useful. Nicely written and presented. Thanks for sharing.

      Take care. Best Wishes, Kamalesh

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi Ubani - judging from your profile picture you already know a pretty decent workout routine :) Thanks for stopping in

    • ubanichijioke profile image

      Alexander Thandi Ubani 6 years ago from Lagos

      Wow! Great ideas worth trying. Wonderful!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi Cloverlead, I hear what you're saying. My exercise time is the only selfish thing I do daily. When something comes up and I miss my walk or bike ride I get all out of sorts and irritable :)

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      I enjoy going for walks, especially in the evenings because it helps me to unwind. I will have to try the interval walking technique, thanks!

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi Rob :) I couldn't imagine running in intervals. Running is hard enough as it is - then add in mini-bursts? No thanks. I love walking with my earbuds in and music cranked so high I can't hear anything else.

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 6 years ago from Midwest USA

      Great hub with an excellent description of interval walking. In high school track, one of the most brutal training regimens we endured was interval running. To me, walking sounds much more palatable. Thanks for bringing such an important activity to readers.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi Jen :) You have all the motivation you need right there hahaha I don't miss chasing babies around. 2 and 3 is such a fun but rough age. They're busy, busy for sure. However, the image of you peeling a "busy" little boy off the ceiling is quite funny!!

      Ha Haunty - She's a future drill instructor! Of course I took the stick from her right away, goofy kid. And I bet I'm the most reasonable person you know. I have NO idea what you're getting at :)

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 6 years ago from Hungary

      A stick?! haha... She is some personal trainer at that. And I agree, you can't do crazy. All the ideas you write in your latest hub are very reasonable things to do. ;)

    • profile image

      jenubouka 6 years ago

      Good point about exercise, though they should invent a pill for the motivation it requires to do it, mine comes from my two year old, if I don't take him on the daily 5 mile walk I end up having to peel him off the ceiling. Thank god for the baby jogger.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      I take regular walks on my off days from interval walking. My youngest went with me all summer because she was still too young for the summer camps her sisters were in. At one point she even became my little personal trainer. Once when it was super hot out I wanted to stop for a break and get a drink. She picked up a stick and warned me "Now is not break time - walk." I couldn't believe it!!

      Your brother keeps up a pretty decent pace! I don't think I can do crazy :D

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 6 years ago from Hungary

      Maybe you can talk one of your daughters into interval walking when they are bigger. I hope so. Or maybe one day they will ask, 'Hey mom, can I do that cool thing with you?' My brother does it because he wants to overcome distances as fast as he can. He isn't hyper, but rash. Going by your chart, he gallops at 4-5 mph without stopping. He is crazy and you are trained. It would be fun to see you two meet. :)

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi Hypno! You're right, please shower after breaking a sweat - or you might have a hard time making friends :D

      Agua - please do your walking indoors so you don't fall over from dehydration! Oooor you can wait until you get back to a more suitable season. This summer I had to do my walking really early or indoors to beat the heat.

      icciev - thanks for the vote! My main reason for exercise is the "happy hormones" that get released and put me in a good mood (endorphins I believe). Let me know if you try this and like it :)

      Haunty - I would love a walking partner for my intervals - I'll have to meet your brother and see if HE can keep up with ME. Does your brother do it for exercise or is he just hyper?

    • Haunty profile image

      Haunty 6 years ago from Hungary

      Thanks for the great hub, Ardie! I've never heard of interval walking before. It turns out to be similar to what my brother does all the time. He alternates between sixty secs of hyper-speed walking and zero secs of very easy-paced walking. No person can walk alongside him and not get an extensive workout.

    • icciev profile image

      icciev 6 years ago from Kuwait

      Really amazing and interesting hub, thanks for the great information provided, I think I should start doing some exercises. Voted up

    • aguasilver profile image

      John Harper 6 years ago from Malaga, Spain

      Living in SA Asia, walking in 32C with 90% humidity is hard to look forward to!

      But I will try it when I get back on level ground with seasons again!

      I always seem to have to park the farthest from my destination anyway!!!

      Good hub, voted up, thanks.


    • hypnosis4u2 profile image

      hypnosis4u2 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Yes, any form of interval training burns more calories in shorter time than slow long duration exercise. Breaking into a sweat is okay providing you shower afterwards :) Nice job on this this I enjoyed reading it.

    • Ardie profile image

      Sondra 6 years ago from Neverland

      Hi Arlene, you're too funny :) Too bad I don't actually practice what I preach - teasing, only teasing. I like walking because I can't do anything high impact or I'll rattle my brain loose. Thanks for the votes!!

    • profile image

      Arlene V. Poma 6 years ago

      Very, very nice piece, Ardie. Now, should I walk after I devour my next fried chicken dinner? Naw--just kidding! I do like parking my car far, far away from my destinations. This Hub of yours is purely motivational. Thanks! Voted up, useful, interesting, and AWESOME. That is, if I make it off my sofa!