There are 10 super ways to make your walking sessions more intense — and you probably never even considered some of them — but they truly do work to melt fat and greatly improve heart health.

10 Ways to Add Intensity to Walking 

Speed. Set a treadmill to 4.2 mph, or maybe 4.5 mph, and see how long you can keep pace without transitioning to a jog. Add a slight incline. Do not hold on.

Inclines. Inclines are the obvious way to increase the intensity of walking. Some treadmills go up to 30 percent incline., tirachard

Holding on will cancel out the incline effect, so don’t cheat. What would your walking speed be if you were ascending a 30 percent incline outside?

You’d be crawling. Likewise, when using a very high incline on a treadmill, BE REALISTIC with the speed so you don’t have to hang on. To avoid having to hold on, you’ll need to set the speed to perhaps one mph for super high inclines.

Outdoor hills are even better because the terrain is variable. Going up a steep forest floor at a brisk clip is quite intense. You can also try a snow slope in snow shoes; go for it.

Inclines plus hand weights. Hold 2-5 lb. dumbbells while walking a treadmill grade. Be an animal and hold 10 lb. dumbbells.

Regular walking plus very heavy hand weights.  See for how long you can walk around the gym holding a 15 or 20 lb. dumbbell in each hand — arms straight. Or try 10 pounders.

You’ll also want to experiment with kettlebells; their unique design has an inviting feel and may be more comfortable than dumbbells.

Panaerobics. While holding 1-5 lb. weights, do arm exercises while on a treadmill or outdoors. Some arm exercises are shoulder press motions, lateral raises, frontal raises and curls.

Sergei Popov,

Weighted backpack, with or without incline. Load a backpack with rocks or a few dumbbells and get going on a treadmill, a hiking trail or residential sidewalks.


Lunge walking. Do shallow, medium or deep lunges. While lunge walking, add even more intensity by holding weights or combining this with panaerobics.

Shadow boxing. While using a level tread or incline, throw uppercuts, crosses and jabs.

Walk backwards on a treadmill incline. Set speed to 1 mph  (YES — ONE MPH) and incline to 15 percent. See how long you can last– without holding on. Add even more intensity by shadow boxing or holding light hand weights.

High knees. Bring knees up as high as possible while walking on a treadmill or outdoors.

Employ any or all of these 10 fantastic ways to add intensity to your walking workouts, and the excess fat will start coming off — or, if weight loss isn’t your goal, you sure as heck will reap many benefits as far as cardiovascular health, bone strength and joint strength.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.