Strength Exercises for Walking

You might think of walking as just a lower-body exercise.

That’s not necessarily the case, says Carrie Boyle, a walking coach with the Bridgehampton, New York–based virtual walking program 99 Walks and a National Academy of Sports Medicine–certified personal trainer. “We’re activating the entire body when walking.”

Your core, upper back, and shoulders support good posture, while your arms swing or pump at your sides. With each step, your glutes (buttocks) engage, and your calves, ankles, and feet keep you stable, Boyle explains. Those muscles work even harder if you walk uphill or add weight (by wearing a backpack or weighted vest), she adds.

Uphill walking also targets the quadriceps (the muscles in the front of your thighs), glutes, and calves more than walking on level ground does, research finds.

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