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Get Your Steps in Rain or Shine With These Beginner-Friendly Indoor Walking Workout Routines

Good news: You don't need a lot of space or any equipment (other than supportive sneakers!)

Heading outside for a nice stroll seems easy enough. It’s a great way to relieve stress and ease your daily worries. But what happens when it’s raining, snowing or unbearably hot or cold? That’s where an indoor walking workout comes in! You don’t have to step foot outside and can still enjoy all the health benefits. Plus, it’s easy to incorporate into your daily routine. We asked the pros how to get started — see what they have to say.

The benefits of an indoor walking workout

You already know that walking is good for your lungs, your heart and your mental well-being. But an indoor walking workout has its own benefits. Three top perks:

  • It’s convenient: If you’re walking at home in particular, then James Rodgers, a UESCA-certified running coach, says you can still exercise easily while caring for family members or pets.
  • It’s weather-friendly: “Indoor walking has the benefit of avoiding the elements outside, for example, wind, rain or hot sun,” says Rodgers. He also notes that you don’t need a lot of equipment to complete these workouts. One exception: “Focus on your shoes, ensuring they’re suitable and comfortable.”
  • It’s gentle on your lungs: Milica McDowell, PT, DPT, a certified exercise physiologist and VP of operations Gait Happens, adds, “if you live somewhere where the air quality isn’t great, an indoor walk is better for your lungs, for sure!”
A mature Black woman sitting on her bed while tying her sneakers
The Good Brigade/Getty

Indoor walking workout: 4 easy ones to try

According to the CDC, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. Striving to hit that number is a “key way to enhance your health,” says McDowell. And you can do that with an indoor walking workout. Here, four good options to get started:

1. Mini walk

“If you aren’t currently engaging in an indoor walking practice, you can start with 3 x 10 minutes mini walks a day — and yes, stepping in place counts if you are limited for space!” says McDowell. You’ll want to walk at a moderate pace if you’re new to walking workouts.

How do you know what an ideal pace is? McDowell says a good indicator is to “make sure you don’t fail the ‘talk test’, meaning you want to walk at an intensity where you can still easily carry on a conversation.” When you can’t walk and talk, you’re pushing yourself too hard.

2. Stair walk

The stairs in your home are one of the best walking tools you could use. All it involves is walking up and down the stairs. “Start by walking up to the top and slowly down, taking your time and resting at the bottom if needed,” says Rodgers. Depending on your fitness level, you can do this for several repetitions and then increase the number over time.

“This exercise targets key leg muscles: quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes,” says Rodgers. “It can also increase your heart rate more than regular walking.”

A close-up of a woman's feet on stairs as she does an indoor walking workout
Konstantin Aksenov/Getty

3. Heel-toe walk

Walking is a lower-impact exercise, but McDowell says you can optimize it even more by focusing on a heel-to-toe type of walking pattern. “Contacting at the heel then rolling through to the toes, then pushing off the big toe — it’s your gas pedal — is a way to optimize your walking mechanics and avoid overuse injuries.”

4. High-knee walk

“Walking with high knees can help improve your balance and coordination and is a variation of regular walking,” says Rodgers. Make sure you have enough space indoors when trying this workout. To get started, Rodgers suggests walking with higher knees for four times for 30 seconds during your regular walk, with one minute of regular walking in between.

More walking trends that improve your health:

Walking for Weight Loss: Discover How Al Roker’s Easy Walking Hack Is Helping Women Burn Fat 6.3x Faster

What Is the Scooby-Doo Virtual Challenge? How This Fun Smartphone Game Boosts Your Health

Fitness Pros Say the Viral Hot Girl Walk Boosts Health, Happiness and Confidence — Here’s Why

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.

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