Your quest to tone your legs and tighten your glutes doesn't mean you need to buy a gym membership and spend countless hours sweating on the treadmill and elliptical machine. If you live near a large hill, getting a quality workout is as simple as walking up the hill on a regular basis.
Adopting hill-walking exercise isn't difficult, but it doesn't mean you should find the nearest hill and start sprinting up it. "Health" magazine recommends a hill that takes you less than a minute to walk to the top. Always stretch before attempting this workout, and once your body is limbered up, walk up as briskly as possible so that you're breathing hard. Your body gets a chance to recover as you walk back down the hill. Try for 10 total reps, if possible, and remember to stretch afterward.
Any time you're doing a type of cardiovascular exercise, including walking up a hill, your body receives benefits that aren't as apparent as toned arms or a six-pack of abs. A cardio workout, in which you increase your heart rate, helps send oxygen-rich blood throughout the entire body, releases endorphins that help improve your mood and increases your metabolism, which helps you maintain your weight. Cardio exercise helps loosen and stretch your muscles, and can also help your body manage its glucose levels, which is helpful for diabetics.
Whether you're trying to lose weight or just want to maintain a healthy body, walking up hills can help you burn plenty of calories in a short time. The calories you burn in any activity depend on your weight and how hard you're pushing yourself, but NutriStrategy reports that walking uphill at 3.5 miles per hour will help a 130-pound person burn 354 calories in 60 minutes. If you carry up to nine pounds, you can burn 413 calories in the same amount of time.
Walking up a hill won't bulk you up in the same way as lifting weights at the gym, but it will do wonders for your overall muscle tone. You'll notice increased toning of your calves, quads and glutes. To tone your arms, pump them quickly as you walk and consider wearing small wrist weights. Walking uphill also requires the use of your core muscles, so expect some ab toning if you follow this workout for an extended time.
- Health: Walk Off Fat: The Hill-Climbing Workout
- FitDay: The Best Toning Tool: Hill Walking
- Bodybuilding.com: 5 Great Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise
- Self: The Awesome Benefits of Cardio
- NutriStrategy: Calories Burned During Exercise, Activities, Sports and Work
- Fitness: Walking Workout: A Firmer Butt in 30 Minutes
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.