Walking workouts that will help you achieve your health goals with hill, treadmill, indoor and StairMaster plans

Plus, walking workout plans for outdoors, the treadmill and StairMaster

group of women walking outside
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Walking is a great way to get fit, stay healthy and release feel-good endorphins, whether you walk outdoors or inside on a treadmill. Now, it's time to take your strolls to the next level with our expert-approved walking workouts. 

While aimlessly strolling around the park is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, if you want to walk your way to feeling fit and healthy, and reap the endless health benefits of walking, you'll have to take your strolls to the next level. 

The good news is, walking is a great way to work out for many people. You don't need an expensive gym membership to get started, although investing in a pair of the best women's walking shoes and maybe some of the best walking socks too will support your feet and keep you comfortable as you stride. 

If you're weighing up the health benefits of walking vs running, you might be surprised to hear that walking actually has lots of unknown benefits. “Walking is appropriate for people of all fitness levels and even those suffering from limited movement,” says Steven Virtue, fitness content and programming manager at Total Fitness. “It promotes a range of movement to help keep joints supple and engaged, which builds strength and increases mobility.”

What's more, walking is also great for your mental health.  “Low-impact exercises, such as walking, are particularly effective for stress and anxiety release," says Steven. "Fresh air and time away from our screens are essential when so many of us are working from home or spending the day indoors.”

Ready to take your daily walk to the next level and reap the benefits of walking workouts? Our walking plans have got you covered, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned stroller. 

woman checking fitness tracker on walk

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1. HIIT Walking Workout for beginners 

This four-week plan, created by celebrity personal trainer Hollie Philippa, promises to get those glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves moving. It will help burn calories and fat, while toning and building strength. A combination of HIIT, Hill and Distance walks will help you burn calories, strengthen and tone, and build endurance. It's a great plan if you're walking for weight loss specifically. All you need is your walking shoes and 30 minutes. Do three walks a week, and make sure to take a rest day between workouts. 

Week 1

HIIT: Power walk for 25 mins and complete 20 walking lunges before and after your walk. 

HILL: Find a hill and power walk up it and then down. Repeat for 30 mins and count your steps using one of the best fitness trackers for ease.

DISTANCE: Complete a steady 30-minute walk and count how many steps you use with your tracker. 

Week 2

HIIT: Alternate your speed between as fast as you can go without breaking into a jog and a brisk walk for 30 mins.

HILL: Repeat the hill workout in Week 1, but increase your pace. (You can do this on a treadmill, too.)

DISTANCE: Complete a 15-minute walk, then try to beat your time on the way back. You should complete this workout in under 30 minutes. 

Week 3

HIIT: Intersperse 20 walking lunges, 20 squats and 20 star jumps with 5 mins of power walking in between each set.

HILL: If you have one, use a treadmill or find a hilly area to walk. Start with a warm-up walk for 2.5 mins. Then alternate 5 mins walking briskly on the flat with 5 mins uphill. For each uphill interval, increase the incline on a treadmill by one or two points. If your form is slipping, reduce speed. Finish with a cool-down walk for 2.5 mins.

DISTANCE: Complete a 30-minute walk and try to beat the number of steps you did in Week 1.

Week 4

HIIT: Repeat the HIIT workout in Week 3, but try to up the number of reps to 30 and increase the power-walking pace, without losing form.

HILL: Set your incline to your highest elevation yet (or choose a hill with a steep incline) and every 5 mins try to increase your leg speed.

DISTANCE: Repeat the workout from Week 2, but try to improve your time.

woman walking up grey steps outside

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2. Stair Walking Workout for Intermediate Walkers

Just simple tweaks to your existing walking workout can make all the difference when it comes to improving your health. “Including stair workouts and hill walking in your weekly program will boost your fitness and increase muscle tone,” says trainer Scott Laidler. “Plus, it can help increase strength and endurance and get that heart pumping, too.”

Routines in this four-week program include a mixture of steps and exercises that will help boost your stair-climbing and uphill-walking prowess. If you don’t have access to a treadmill or StairMaster, just double up your outdoor workouts.

Week 1

Workout 1: Indoor treadmill

  • First, walk 5 mins at 2% incline, 4mph, jump off treadmill and perform 25 lunges.
  • Then, walk 5 mins at 3% incline, 4mph, jump off treadmill and perform 25 reverse lunges.
  • Next, walk 5 mins at 4% incline, 4mph, jump off treadmill and complete 12 jumping lunges.
  • Finally, walk final 5 mins at 5% incline, 4mph.

Workout 2: Outdoor stairs

  • Walk six flights of stairs (around 60 steps, repeating if you can’t find a tall enough set of stairs).
  • Next, walk down, then jump on and off the last stair for 1 min.
  • Then, walk four flights of stairs, missing out one stair on each step, then walk down.
  • Form a plank with hands placed on the bottom step and perform mountain climbers for 45 secs.
  • Walk up three flights, alternating between hopping up for three steps (hold on to the handrail) and walking up three steps.

Week 2

Workout 1: Outdoor hills

  • Select a medium-large incline. Walk up and jog back downhill for 8 mins; at the bottom of the hill hold plank for 1 min.
  • Lunge up your hill and walk back down for 8 mins, at the bottom of the hill shadow box (punch out alternate arms across your body) for 2 mins.
  • Alternate eight lunge steps up the hill with six side steps on each side and repeat back down.
  • Walk fast uphill and walk down slowly to finish.

Workout 2 : Indoor StairMaster

  • Warm-up at intensity level 3 for 5 mins.
  • Step for 5 mins at level 5, leave StairMaster and perform weighted calf raises (hold a 2-5kg dumbbell in each hand, stand feet hip width apart and rise up on to balls of feet and back down) for 1 min.
  • Next, step for 5 mins at level 6, leave StairMaster and perform 20 squats.
  • Then, step for 5 mins at level 7, leave StairMaster and do mountain climbers for 30 secs.
  • Finally, step for 5 mins at level 8.

Week 3

Workout 1: Outdoor stairs

  • Walk ten flights of stairs (around 100 steps, repeating if you can’t find enough stairs). Walk back down.
  • Jump on and off the bottom stair for 1 min.
  • Walk six flights of stairs missing out one stair on each step and walk back down.
  • With hands resting on the bottom step, perform mountain climbers for 45 secs.
  • Alternate hopping for three stairs with walking up three stairs for the rest of the session, then walk back down.

Workout 2: Indoor treadmill

  • Walk 5 mins at 4% incline, 5mph. Jump off the treadmill and perform 25 squats.
  • Walk 5 mins at 5%, 5.5mph. Jump off the treadmill and complete eight burpees.
  • Lunge continuously for 3 mins on the treadmill at an incline of 5% and at a comfortable pace.
  • Jump off the treadmill and hold a squat with arms above head in Y position for 90 secs.
  • Walk 5 mins raising incline by 0.5 every 30 secs.

Week 4

Workout 1: Indoor StairMaster

  • Warm-up at intensity level 3 for 5 mins.
  • Step for 5 mins at level 6.
  • Climb hard for 5 mins at the highest level you can do.
  • Leave StairMaster and perform 30 star jumps.
  • On StairMaster turn 45 ̊ to your right and climb at level 5 for 3 mins.
  • Turn to your left and climb at level 5 for 3 mins.
  • Leave StairMaster and perform plank jumping jacks for 90 secs.
  • On StairMaster pick the highest level for you, then skip a step as you climb for the rest of the session.

Workout 2: Outdoor hills

  • Walk fast uphill and lunge back down x 4.
  • At the bottom of the hill, perform 40 star jumps.
  • Travel up the hill doing turning squats. Walk back down.
  • At the bottom of the hill, shadow box for 2 mins with a squat every four punches.
  • Repeat turning squats x 2.
  • Forward lunge uphill with four jumping lunges every six steps. Walk back down and repeat x 4.
  • Finish walking with high knees uphill, walk back down and repeat x 2.

women walking on treadmill

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3. Power Walking Workout Challenge 

Get faster, stronger and slimmer in just 30 minutes three times a week with this souped-up speed-walking workout by trainer Chris Richardson from Zero Gravity Pilates.

Don’t worry if you can’t get to a gym. Instead of a treadmill incline, head for a hill and when it comes to miles per hour, think of 2-3mph as moderate and 6-6.5mph as very fast. The exercises are mostly self-explanatory, but for the farmer’s walk, take short, quick steps with weights on your ankles.

“Adding these to your walks will boost your muscles’ strength and endurance, as well as improving your balance and walking gait (the way you walk),” says Chris.

Week 1

Day 1: Cardio walk & strength exercises (outdoors if possible)

  • Walk 20 mins (moderate/2-3mph).
  • Single-leg calf raises x 20.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 30 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 20.
  • Bridges with an exercise band around knees x 20.

Day 2: Incline walk (treadmill) & strength exercises

  • Walk 20 mins (moderate/2-3mph), incline gradient 2-3.
  • Single-leg calf raises x 20.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 30 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 20.
  • Bridges with an exercise band around knees x 20.

Day 3: Speed intervals & strength training

  • Walk 18 mins (3 mins at 3mph, 3 mins at 4mph, 3 mins at 5mph).
  • Repeat x 2.
  • Single-leg calf raises x 20.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 30 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 20.
  • Bridges with an exercise band x 20.

Week2

Day 1: Cardio walk & strength exercises (outdoors if possible)

  • Walk 20 mins (moderate-brisk/3-4mph).
  • Single-leg calf raises x 25.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 45 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 25.
  • Bridges with an exercise band around knees x 25.

Day 2: Incline walk (treadmill) & strength exercises

  • Walk 20 mins (moderate/2-3mph), incline gradient 3-4.
  • Single-leg calf raises x 25.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 45 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 25.
  • Bridges with an exercise band around knees x 25.

Day 3: Speed intervals & strength training

  • Walk 18 mins (3 mins at 3.5mph, 3 mins at 4.5mph, 3 mins at 5.5mph).
  • Repeat x 2.
  • Single-leg calf raises x 25.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 45 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 25.
  • Bridges with an exercise band x 25.

Week 3

Day 1: Cardio walk & strength exercises (outdoors if possible)

  • Walk 20 mins (brisk-fast/4-5mph).
  • Single-leg calf raises x 30.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 60 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 30.
  • Bridges with an exercise band around knees x 30.

Day 2: Incline walk (treadmill) & strength exercises

  • Walk 20 mins (moderate-brisk/ 3-4mph), incline gradient 4-5.
  • Single-leg calf raises x 30.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 60 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 30.
  • Bridges with an exercise band x 30.

Day 3: Speed intervals & strength training

  • Walk 18 mins (3 mins at 4mph, 3 mins at 5mph, 3 mins at 6mph).
  • Repeat x 2.
  • Single-leg calf raises x 30.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 60 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 30.
  • Bridges with an exercise band x 30.

Week 4

Day 1: Cardio walk & strength exercises (outdoors if possible)

  • Walk 20 mins (fast-very fast/5-6mph).
  • Single-leg calf raises x 35.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 75 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 35.
  • Bridges with an exercise band around knees x 35.

Day 2: Incline walk (treadmill) & strength exercises

  • Walk 20 mins (moderate-brisk/ 3-4mph), incline gradient 5-6.
  • Single-leg calf raises x 35.
  • Farmer’s walk with ankle weights x 75 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 35.
  • Bridges with an exercise band x 35.

Day 3: Speed intervals & strength training

  • Walk 18 mins (3 mins at 4.5mph, 3 mins at 5.5mph, 3 mins at 6.5mph).
  • Repeat x 2.
  • Single-leg calf raises x 35.
  • Farmer’s walk x 75 secs.
  • Jumping lunges x 35 secs.
  • Bridges with an exercise band around knees x 35 secs.

Now it's time to grab your walking shoes, put on your workout gear, and get walking! 

Faye M Smith

Faye M Smith is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years experience in the magazine industry. Her continued work in the area of natural health won her the coveted title of theHealth Food Manufacturers’ Association (HFMA) Journalist of the Year Award 2021. 


Currently Acting Health Editor across several brands including woman&home, Woman and Woman’s Own, Faye specialises in writing about mental health, the menopause, and sex and relationships. In fact, having previously been the go-to sex columnist for Now magazine, there isn't much she won't discuss when it comes to women's health. This makes her the best person to review must-buy sex toys, describe how to have a mind-blowing orgasm or explain how to navigate sex in the shower without it ending in a medical emergency. 


While not anti-gym, Faye’s fitness routine is more focussed on finding inner balance rather than burning excess calories. An advocate of mindfulness, she loves power breathing, yoga and plenty of walking in nearby woodlands rather than a sweaty HIIT class. Follow her @fayetuned