Whole-Body Wellness Challenge: 3 Strength Intervals for Your Walks

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Shake up your walking routine—and burn even more calories—with these easy moves.

The Whole-Body Wellness Challenge is rooted in the understanding that health isn’t just about fitness. This month, we’re sharing fun and easy ways to bring everything you love about SilverSneakers classes and your time at the gym to other areas of your life. You’ll find workouts, tips, and activities to help you build strength, eat healthier, sleep sounder, and be more present in your life so you can feel good—body, mind and spirit.  

Walking is hands-down one of the best types of exercise you can do. First, you can do it anywhere, be it on the trails, around your neighborhood, or right in your living room.   

Plus, you don’t have to be out for hours to reap the benefits. Studies show that just five minutes of walking a day can give you a health boost. In fact, a regular walking routine can help you beat stress, lower blood pressure, lose or maintain weight, and keep blood sugar numbers in a healthy range.   

It’s also easy to turn a daily walk into a total-body workout. “You can break up your walk with different kinds of steps to build strength and mobility,” says SilverSneakers instructor Shannon Thigpen  

She likes to add strength intervals to her walks. The literal change of pace and motion gives your muscles a new challenge, which in turn helps them become stronger. Intervals also boost your endurance so that you have more energy all day long.   

Follow along as Shannon shares her favorite fun and beginner-friendly ways to add variety to your walks.   

How to Use These Strength Intervals  

You can try these intervals during any walk—and you don’t have to be outside to try them. Just be sure you have some open floorspace. Watch Shannon as she demonstrates three moves that you can sprinkle into your walks: high knees, walking lunges, and side steps. Then try them on your own.  

To create a full workout, set a 1-minute timer or keep an eye on your watch during your walk. At the top of each minute, pause and do one of the strength moves 10 times. When you’re done, continue walking at your normal pace for the rest of the minute. That’s one round.   

“The goal is to work up to 10 rounds while feeling strong and in control,” says Shannon. Feel free to mix-and-match the strength intervals—or stick to your favorite.  

When you’re ready to try this workout outside or in your home, remember that safety is key. “Make sure you’re on flat ground in an uncrowded and uncluttered area,” reminds Shannon. You may also want to do these intervals near a bench, tree, fence, or wall for support, if you need.  

You’re also free to make this workout your own. Sub in one of your favorite strength moves from a SilverSneakers class, play with the interval length, or rope your walking buddies in to make it a game. Just be mindful as you’re having fun: “No matter what moves you choose, pace yourself,” says Shannon.  

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As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.    

Bonus Challenge: Try a SilverSneakers LIVE Cardio Mix Class 

SilverSneakers Cardio Mix is a 45-minute online class that features low-impact aerobic movements that can be modified for different intensity levels. See the latest SilverSneakers LIVE schedule and RSVP for classes here. 

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