In the past few months, many of us have added a daily walk to our everyday lives. But did you know you can turn it into a running workout too?

While many of us have fewer places to walk during this COVID-19 pandemic, just getting out of the house and getting some exercise has become a popular activity for many people, taking the right amount of walking Relieve homesickness, offer appropriately distant opportunities for a change of scenery and bring structure to often misshapen days.

Taking a walk is also a great way to get exercise. And while keeping them loose and flexible, especially if they’re primarily for the fresh air or sanity, there are plenty of ways to make them tough enough to feel like a moderate up, too feels like intense training. This is the key: Many of us – especially those who rely on classes like indoor cycling – lack cardio options as many gyms stay closed (and if yours is open you may not feel safe to resume) .

The change begins on purpose. “Understand the difference between a recreational walk and a fitness walk,” Jayel Lewis, a certified international personal trainer and business coach in Philadelphia, told SELF. “If you are about to go for a workout, identify before you go and prepare for success before you go.”

In other words, decide ahead of time that you are going with the goal of increasing your heart rate or building some strength and endurance. Block a running workout on your calendar just like you would in a gym or Zoom class, she says. Then make a plan of exactly how you will carry it out. Here are some options to consider when turning a walk into a running workout.

1. You don’t have to worry about equipment, but putting the part on will help.

One of the best things about running as a sport is accessibility, says Ellen Barrett, an ACE-certified teacher in Washington, Connecticut who offers yoga, Pilates, and dance classes online.

However, putting a little bit of thought into your preparation can put your mind and body into fitness building mode. “It’s like actors putting on their costume, wig, and makeup and transforming into a character – the same goes for fitness,” she says.

Start with the shoes; While she wears almost anything, including Crocs, on a trip to the park with her family, Barrett chooses appropriate footwear for more serious hiking. You don’t need to buy expensive new walking shoes, but comfortable and closed options like running shoes, walking shoes, or tennis shoes provide a little more support. (If you go to workout, be sure to leave the flip flops at home.)

A sports bra will reduce uncomfortable shifting and jumping – which can be an issue even when you’re doing a less strenuous activity like running – and moisture-wicking clothing will keep you cooler and reduce friction on hot days. Of course, a mask is definitely an essential accessory these days to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and there are some masks that are especially good for walking and running.

Getting everything ready the night before, especially if you’re out for a morning walk, will make it easier for you to get out the door in the time allotted for you, she says.

2. Start with a dynamic warm-up.

Before you start running, take some time to increase blood flow and activate the muscles you need for walking, such as hip flexors and quadriceps, recommends Kristine Theodore, trainer and co-owner of Runaway Fitness in Chicago. Spend a few minutes doing leg swings, lunges, calf raises, tapping your toes, or any other combination that makes you feel relaxed.

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