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Last Saturday on the Trail: February 25th

February 25, 2023 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Charge your heart-rate monitors, grab your ankle weights, and lace up your sneakers – the New Canaan Land Trust’s 2022 Winter Hiking Challenge is underway!

Follow the campaign on social media as we post tips and tricks for getting the most out of your winter walking workout. Then join us on Saturday, February 25th at 10:00 AM for the finale of the Winter Hiking Challenge – a fitness hike led by a member of the New Canaan YMCA.

February 10th – Incorporating Intervals

This week, try spicing up your hikes by incorporating intervals. Interval walking takes advantage of short bursts of energy to get your heart rate and metabolism going. The NCLT recommends this 22-minute interval workout:

  • Start with a 5-minute warm-up, walking at a comfortable pace
  • Begin walking briskly for 1 minute. The brisk pace is like you’re walking at Watson-Symington, and there’s a cute dog ahead on the trail asking for pets.
  • Walk at a moderate pace for 2 minutes. This intensity should be like your mobile coffee order is ready for pickup – and you need to grab it before it gets cold.
  • Walk as fast as possible for 1 minute. The pace doesn’t need to be a jog/run, although it can be if you want – this intensity can be like your dog has escaped her leash and run ahead on your walk – still in sight, but you need to catch up before she disturbs other walkers at Watson-Symington.
  • Walk slowly for 2 minutes. Good, you caught your runaway dog. You can relax and slowly walk towards your car.
  • Repeat this Walk briskly/Walk at a moderate pace/Walk as fast as possible/walk slowly. You can repeat this as often as you want, but we recommend repeating this cycle at least twice.
  • End with a 5-minute cool down, walking at a comfortable pace.

February 15th – Walking with Weights

Work on building strength and boosting your metabolism by walking with weights! Adding weights to your walks makes your exercise more efficient while still being lower-impact than running or jogging.

  • Wrist weights or dumbbells can help build strength in the upper body when you pump your arms.
  • A weighted vest increases the intensity of a workout because your effective body weight is higher.
  • Ankle weights can help strengthen your legs, but use them with caution, as they can lead to joint stress.

Slowly incorporate weights into your walks by using them every other workout. Start with lighter weights and work your way up to heavier ones as you gain strength. Don’t feel like you need to commit to a 30-45 minute walk on day one – start walking with weights for around 15 minutes, and increase the time as you advance.

February 17th – Change Up the Terrain

Sometimes all you need to make your walks more challenging is to change the direction you’re walking in! Try walking your usual trail in the opposite direction. You can even step off the trail and push your body to walk over obstacles such as rocks and logs to bring variety to your workout.

You can always change the physical terrain you walk on as well. If you usually walk on the road, try walking on one of NCLT’s public access preserves. Changing from road to trail works your leg muscles in a different way, and different types of terrain require different upper body and balance to keep you stabilized on the path.

Utilizing hills is a great well to make your workouts more intense. Climbing helps you build strength in your legs and boosts your metabolism.

February 22nd – Guided Walks

Did you know that guided workouts aren’t just for cycling and yoga? Many apps will help you up your step count while listening to a fitness professional push you to your limits!

Aaptive – Aaptive has over 6,000+ audio and visual fitness classes, including ones specifically for walking outdoors! You can test the app with a 7-day free trial (then $14.99 monthly) and try outdoor walks such as “Walk for Your Heart,” “Small Steps Add Up,” and “Walk Show Game Show.”

Peloton Digital – Try Peloton Digital free for 30 days (then $12.99 monthly) for various outdoor walking workouts. Peloton offers classes like “20 min Disney Walk,” “Spotify Surf Rock Sunshine Walk,” and “20 min Power Walk.”

YouTube – If you want free guided workouts, check out YouTube! YouTube has a video for everything – search “Guided Outdoor Walking Workout” and select the video that speaks to you!


February 24th – Bodyweight Exercises

You can build strength while walking with more than just weights. Pause your walk and do some bodyweight exercises on the side of the trail! These strength training intervals could include:

  • Push-ups
  • Planks
  • Lunges
  • Calf-raises
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Squats

None of these bodyweight exercises require equipment, so you can do them anywhere! Try walking for five minutes and incorporating some bodyweight exercises for one minute – 20 seconds on, 1o seconds off. Repeat this cycle for however long you want your walking workout to last!


February 25, 2023
10:00 am - 11:30 am


Watson-Symington Preserve
100-110 Wellesley Dr
New Canaan, CT 06840 United States
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