Walking is just as much a cardio workout as running, swimming, or cycling. In fact, if you want to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time, walking is your best bet. But what exactly makes walking more effective than other cardio activities? The answer has to do with “working” your legs. Your legs contain the largest muscles in your body and are responsible for almost all of your movement. As a result, working them burns more calories and fat than working any other part of your body. Working your legs also helps avoid injury and strain on other muscles such as hips and back. When you work your legs regularly by walking or another type of leg-intensive exercise, you’ll strengthen those muscles and avoid strains caused by other types of exercise.
Does Walking Tone Your Legs?
Yes, walking tones your legs. Walking regularly can improve your cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and prevent weight gain. Additionally, it can also tone your legs by improving muscle tone and definition. To tone your legs, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity walking every day. You can break up this time into shorter sessions if you prefer. Additionally, additional strength training workouts can help you achieve additional toning results.
How To Tone Your Legs With Walking?
1. Toning Your Legs With Walking
Before we move on to the different ways to tone your legs with walking, it’s important to understand what leg toning actually is. Leg toning refers to the process of making the muscles in your legs firmer and stronger. This is done by exercising your leg muscles regularly to make them more prominent. Walking is a low-impact exercise that can easily be included in your routine and allows you to improve your leg tone in a matter of weeks. It’s great for all fitness levels and can be done anywhere.
2. Build Strength With High-Repetitions
When it comes to building strength in your legs, it is important to engage your muscles by doing high-repetition exercises. Doing so will help strengthen the muscles in your legs and make them toned and firm. Walking is a great way to build strength in your legs with high repetitions. To do so, you first need to find a hill. The steeper the hill, the more challenging the exercise will be. Once you’ve chosen the right hill, walk up it and make sure to engage your leg muscles the whole time. Another way to build strength with high repetitions is by walking backward. Backward walking is a great leg exercise because it engages your leg muscles more than normal walking does. Another way to build strength in your legs using high repetitions is by walking with weights.
3. Add Speed With Jogging
Adding speed to your walking workout will make it a more challenging exercise and help you build strength in your legs faster. Jogging is one of the best ways to add speed to your walking workout and make it more challenging. If you’re a beginner, you can start by adding a few quick steps to your walking routine and then gradually increase the number of steps as you become more comfortable. Jogging is a great way to tone your legs because it increases blood flow to the muscles in your legs, which helps them grow stronger. Another way to add speed to your walking workout and make it more challenging is by walking on an incline.
4. Increase Cardio With Running Variations
Running is a high-impact exercise that provides a great cardio workout and helps strengthen your legs. When running, you should be focusing on lifting your knees high. This not only helps you run faster but also helps strengthen the muscles in your legs. There are a few running variations you can try out to help tone your legs. One variation is high knees, where you lift your knees as high as you can while running. Another variation is skipping, which is a great way to tone your legs because the motion is similar to lifting your knees high while running. Yet another variation is lateral bounding, which is similar to skipping but with a side-to-side movement rather than a straightforward one.
5. Tone Your Thighs With Stretches
Walking is an excellent exercise for toning your thighs, but it’s also important to include some leg stretches in your routine. This will help you relax and slow down your heart rate after a workout and prevent soreness in your muscles. There are many great stretches you can perform at the end of your walking workout to help tone your thighs. A few easy legs stretches you can try out include the wall sit, the quad stretch, the hamstring stretch, and the walking lunge. It’s important to note that these exercises don’t directly help you tone your legs. They are, however, an important part of a complete leg-toning workout.
Benefits Of Walking For Toning
- Regular walking will strengthen your legs, improve your metabolism, and increase your calorie burn.
- Getting your heart rate up and working your legs will also help you avoid injuries associated with other types of exercise such as running, especially as you get older.
- Walking strengthens your core muscles, which also helps with avoiding lower back pain.
Tips To Help You Tone Your Legs While Walking
1. Jump Squats
Want to tone your legs quickly? Try doing jump squats. This intense exercise not only builds strength in your legs but also targets your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It also improves coordination, balance, and core strength. Simply put one foot in front of the other and go down into a squat position while keeping your back straight. Then, push back up and jump as high as you can. If doing this exercise feels too intense, try doing the same movements while balancing on one foot at a time instead. This will give your legs a break while still delivering the same benefits.
2. Hops And Drops
Hops and drops are a simple way to get your legs toned while also engaging your core. This exercise trains your legs by increasing their explosive power. You’ll also be strengthening your lower back, core, and glutes. What’s more, it’s easy to do anywhere, so you can do it at home or at the park. To do hops and drops, start by standing up straight with your feet together. Then, jump up as high as you can and land back on the ground with the same foot you jumped off with. Next, drop your knees down and jump back up. Repeat this exercise as quickly as you can. If you’re just starting out, do one leg at a time. Once you’re comfortable, try doing both legs at once. This will make the exercise more challenging.
3. Strength Train With Weights
If you want to tone your legs, lifting weights using high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be an effective solution. This type of workout combines strength training with high-intensity aerobic exercise. It’s also a great way to burn calories, reduce anxiety, improve your mood, and more. When it comes to lifting weights for your legs, there are a few exercises you can use. If you want to work your quads, squats are a great option. If you want to work your hamstrings, lunges are a good idea. If you want to work your calves, standing and seated calf raises are a good choice. Another option is to do a leg press machine. This lets you add weight and target specific leg muscles. You can also do leg extensions and leg curls. Be sure to mix up your workout routine and vary your leg exercises each week. This will help prevent your muscles from getting bored.
4. Rotate Your Steps
While walking is an effective leg workout, most people walk the same way every time they hit the trails. This means you’re likely getting the same leg workout each time you walk, which can make it challenging to see results. One way to challenge your legs and get different results is to rotate your steps. To do this, you’ll need to vary the way you walk. For example, try bringing the ball of your foot to the ground first before pushing off with your toes. Or, try lifting your toes first before putting your ball on the ground. These small variations will engage different muscles and help you see results quicker. You can also try varying your speed. Fast walking will target different muscles than walking at a slower pace. This is also a great idea if you’re looking to burn more calories.
Walking is the ideal way to tone your legs. But to walk for toning, you’ll have to walk briskly enough to reach your target heart rate. Toning your legs is a slow process, so you can’t expect to see results in just a few weeks. It will take several months of regular walking to strengthen your legs and see a difference in tone.