people running away from the camera

How to Maximize Your Cardio

Hopping on the treadmill or hitting the pavement to run or walk is a go-to exercise if you are training for a race or just want to hit your step goal for the day. Even though walking and running are very natural, daily movements, there are still ways you can elevate and maximize your workouts.

Below are four tips to help you get the most out of your runs (or walks).

Loosen up

man and woman run in the woods

Surprisingly, your hands have a big part to play when it comes to running. Clenching your fists while running will cause your arms to tense up, which can then stress your upper back and shoulders. This will restrict your arm and shoulder movements, which then decreases your running speed and efficiency. To avoid clenching your fists, pretend you are holding a butterfly in each hand – meaning, close your fingers to keep it from flying away, but gently enough that you do not crush it.

Keep a record

person looks down at their phone after a run

Whether you pick up a pen or use a phone app, recording the details of your workout will help you improve and stay committed to exercising. Track everything about your runs – the distance, incline, speed, route, etc. When you are feeling like you have not been making progress, keeping a record of how you have improved provides you with physical evidence that your hard work is paying off.

Move like you are running late

man walking fast to a meeting

If you prefer walking over running, walk like you are late for an appointment. Walk quickly enough to cover a mile in 15-20 minutes. This will get your heart rate up, burn more calories, and elevate your mood.

Elevate your run (or walk)

man running up hill

You will burn anywhere from 25 to 40 percent more calories by walking or running on inclines versus striding on a flat surface. Along with torching calories, you will also increase your stamina and get your blood pumping.