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Time-Saving Workouts: Lift While You Walk

By HERWriter
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to save time on your workouts, try lifting while you're walking MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

Do you have a hard time fitting in cardiovascular activity as well as strength training? Both are equally important, especially as we age, to keep our heart healthy and our bones strong.

In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, “strength training can be very powerful in reducing the signs and symptoms of numerous diseases and chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, back pain and depression.”

My suggestion is to multi-task while on the treadmill and interval train or lift weights while walking. This can be done with short bursts of more intense aerobic activity. You should also not worry about this taking away from the quality of your aerobic activity.

As indicated by Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. on MayoClinc.com, “Longer, less frequent sessions of aerobic exercise have no clear advantage over shorter, more frequent sessions of activity. Any type of aerobic activity contributes to cardiovascular fitness.”

Let’s first start with the walking motion on a treadmill. One of the benefits of walking on a treadmill instead of on the pavement is that the treadmill will cause less impact. This is especially important if you have back or knee issues.

When walking step evenly, making sure your heels hit the treadmill first, then roll through your arch and push off with your toes.

Be careful not to hold onto the machine with a “death grip”. If you need to hang on, you’re either going to fast or have the treadmill on too much of an incline.

I would suggest doing this at a moderate pace for about 10 minutes before adding some weights.

Now, it is time for some upper body work while walking. First, bring the treadmill to a slower pace where you feel comfortable not holding on to the sides. Use light weights to perform the following exercises:

Dumbbell Curls

Hold weights at sides, palms facing out. Bend arms, bringing top of weight towards shoulders. Do 20 repetitions.

Overhead Sholder Press

Bend arms at a 90 degree angle, holding dumbbells. Hands should be in an overhand grip, with palms forward. Slowly raise arms up and in, using a pressing motion, then lower back down to 90 degrees. Do 20 repetitions.

Now it is time to put the weights down and go back to your moderate walking for 10 minutes. After the 10-minute walking interval, you will need to stop the treadmill completely to perform the next round of exercises. Come to the side of the treadmill and hold on to the side handle for balance if needed.


Stand in a split stance with your right foot forward and left heel lifted. Bend the front knee, keeping upper body upright. Make sure you keep front knee and toe at a 90 degree angle. To return to the starting position, push up through the front heel without locking out the knee. Do 2 sets of 15 lunges on each side.

Dumbbell Row

Place one hand on the side of the treadmill. Hold weight in the opposite hand. Bring leg of weighted side back into a split stance. Bend over from waist, supporting your weight on the treadmill rail. Keeping abs in, row elbows up high past rib cage, contracting side of back and lower back down.

Alternate by switching legs and moving weight to other side. Do 2 sets of 15 on each side.

Tricep Extension

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Hold a dumbbell behind your head with your elbows bent and pointing forward. Keeping elbows tight against sides, straighten your arms until the weight is high above and directly over your head. Do 2 sets of 15 on each side.

Treadmill Push-ups

Stand on treadmill in an angled position, with your feet on the outer sides of treadmill (not the moving belt of the machine.) Leading with your chest, lower yourself down, then push yourself back up until your arms are straight. Do 2 sets of 15.

Online References:

“Physical Activity - Growing Stronger – CDC.com.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web 13 Nov. 2012.

“Which is better — 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day, or one hour of aerobic exercise three times a week? Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. – MayoClinc.com.” The Mayo Clinic. Web 13 Nov. 2012

Joanne Sgro-Killworth is a Television Fitness Expert, Certified Personal Trainer and Sport Nutritionist. She is Certified in Pilates, Pre-natal/Post-Partum, Yoga and Senior Fitness. She specializes in Weight Loss, Post-Rehab and Post Cancer Training. Joanne's fitness plans and recipes are available globally on her website www.fitnessanswer.com. She resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her husband and son, where she runs her personal training business, Fitness Answer, LLC.

Reviewed November 14, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

One must always go with safe and better workout. If you are not aware of what exercise you must carry on than it is better to hire a trainer who would guide you well!

March 1, 2013 - 1:28am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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