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A 30-Minute Treadmill Workout (No Running Required)

Think walking is easy? You'll be feeling this one tomorrow.
by Brianna Steinhilber /
Image: Running on the treadmill
Research shows that walking may be one of the most underrated forms of movement. Getty Images
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If you think you’re going to have to sacrifice your hardcore workout to put walking on the schedule, think again.

Science has shown that walking can hold it's own against exercises typically seen as more effective — boasting some pretty impressive mental and physical benefits.

Take it back to the basics, without losing any intensity, with this walking workout that combines intervals, incline and changes in direction, designed by Nikki Glor, celebrity trainer, group fitness instructor and creator of the Anti-Aging Walking Workout.

Minutes 1–3 (Warm up): Walk at 1.5 incline and speed of 3.5.

Minutes 3–6 (Steady state): Keep incline to 1.5 (where you started) and walk with a wide stance — to work the inner thighs — for 2 minutes. Then walk for 2 minutes like a supermodel and cross your feet slightly as you step. This works the outer thighs.

Minutes 6–15 (Intervals): Increase the incline to 6 and walk one minute at 4.5 speed fast interval, one minute at 3 speed for a recovery interval. Repeat four times. Recover on the last minute before going uphill...

Minutes 15–21 (Toning): Walking uphill forward (works glutes and calves). Set uphill incline at 15 (as high as it goes) and speed at 3mph. Walk forward for 2 minutes. Then … If you are coordinated and feel strong enough to try this, keep the same incline, as high as it goes, and LOWER speed to 2mph. Turn around while steadying yourself on the handles. Walk uphill backwards (works quads) and pick your feet up high to avoid tripping. It will feel faster than the speed reads so I encourage starting at a low speed and increasing it only if you want more of a challenge. Do this for 2 minutes (or 100 steps, don’t turn your neck around to look at treadmill clock, you could lose your balance.) Turn back around by holding the handles and repeat faster forward uphill walk and slower backwards uphill walk one more time each.

Minutes 21-23: Keep Incline at 15 (all the way uphill) and do a side step hop. Turn to face the right handrail and step with your left foot out. Hop and bring your right foot close to your left food to land. Quickly step your left foot uphill again. It will look like you are skipping sideways uphill. Do one minute facing the right handle and one minute facing the left handle. (If you skipped walking uphill backwards in the last section, you can do this more times.) This side skip works the inner and outer thighs!

Minutes 23-27: Lower the incline to 1.5 (where you started) and walk with a wide stance — to work the inner thighs — for 2 minutes. Then walk for 2 minutes like a supermodel and cross your feet slightly as you step.

Image: Nikki Glor
Nikki Glor performing the "Dead Sled."Courtesy Nikki Glor

Optional: Try the dead sled: Turn the treadmill off, hold the front handles and push the floor away with your legs! You’ll really rev those leg muscles, work the core and get out of breath fast with this interval you can repeat until those muscles are “dead."

Minutes 27–30: Lower speed to 2.5 and cool down. Follow with a stretch of your calves, quads, hamstrings glutes and hip flexors.

Think walking can't be a good workout? Check in with us tomorrow.

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