Everything to know about the new walking workout trend

WWe put together everything we learned about the benefits of walking this time last year, we couldn’t have predicted the way social media influencers would popularize putting one foot in front of the other in 2022, but here we are. Right now, Tinx’s Rich Mom Walk (#RMW), Mia Lind’s Hot Girl Walk, Ally Bennett’s Treadmill Strut Workout, and Lauren Giraldo’s 12-3-30 Workout (few) have generated thousands of hashtags and millions of views across TikTok and Instagram. . On Google, searches for “12-3-30 workout” have increased 350 percent in the past 12 months, while searches for “hot girl walk” have increased over 5,000 percent!

And if you needed more proof that the walking workout trend is gaining traction, boutique fitness studios like SLT in New York City, digital platforms like Peloton, and luxury gyms like Equinox now offer dedicated treadmill classes for all activities.

Since walking is so familiar to most people, it’s easy to assume that there isn’t much room for customization within this niche. But after connecting with various fitness brands trainers now offer walking workouts, it’s clear that no two classes are exactly the same.

What to expect from a group walking class

Each treadmill walking workout will be unique, so it’s worth reading the details of the class you plan to attend. But one thing they all seem to have in common is an emphasis on high-intensity, low-impact training (aka HILIT).

“The focus is on providing low-impact cardio that gets your heart rate up and works your muscles,” says Pamela Trujillo, CPT, an instructor at SLT. “Taking a HIIT walk class at SLT Tread will include 25 minutes of strength training on a Megaformer and 25 minutes of cardio on a Woodway treadmill. Our walking classes are designed just like our running classes, except with walking.” Think: different speeds, turns and distance intervals.

At Equinox, you can expect a lot of hill workouts. “Precision Walk: Elevate is a climbing workout that focuses on the use of a treadmill incline to create a low-impact, high-intensity alternative to running,” says Taylor Spiernak, a group fitness manager and trainer at Equinox in NYC.

And while Equinox and SLT offer in-person classes, Peloton offers an online walking workout option. Peloton trainer Kristen Ferguson says the platform offers four different types of walking content: fun, music-based walks (“for members who like to move to specific music genres with some challenging surprises in their workouts”), power walks (“for walkers who use both legs like to push their pace by keeping them on the ground”), Hikes (“which I think surprises most members with how challenging they can be”), and Walk + Run (“the perfect progression for a walker who wants to dip their toes into running . This is a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio which means that no matter how long the interval you walk, you run the same.”)

Treadmill walking workouts compare to walking outside

Treadmill walking has the same health benefits as any type of walking: it can improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strength and muscular endurance, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and increase energy levels.

An added bonus of taking your steps on a treadmill is that you can add more variability to your workout, which is great for people who get bored easily when doing steady state cardio. “You can control the tilt and speed with this kind of creativity,” Spiernak says.

Trade workouts offer a greater level of predictability and safety. Environmental factors such as air quality and weather conditions are not an issue, and the indoor class setting offers a safe place to run or walk. “For many of our members, [the class] Ultimately allowing them to go for a run or a walk at night, or a time when they wouldn’t normally feel comfortable being outside alone,” says Spiernak. “You’re never alone—that’s the beauty of the group fitness experience.”

How to Get the Most Out of a Treadmill Walking Workout

Since you’re not moving as fast as you are running, it’s common to think that treadmill walking workouts are easy. But this is a misconception. Your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) should still be high during push efforts.

“Even though it’s low-impact, these inclines combined with speed walking can really get your heart rate up and make you sweat,” says Trujillo. And don’t forget proper walking form: “Stand up straight, relax your shoulders, engage your core, and use your arms to help power you as opposed to holding onto the handrail,” adds Trujillo. “At the risk, lean your body forward from your ankles to your waist, so that there is a straight line from your head to your heels, which will keep you away from your lower back.”

In addition to proper form and energy output, Ferguson says there are two other things to keep in mind—one technical and one mental: “Bring comfortable shoes and an open heart to see where the journey may take you,” she says.

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