I tried this 30-minute indoor walking workout — here's why it's perfect for the holidays

a photo of a woman doing an indoor workout
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Walking is such a simple activity yet it can do wonders for the mind and body. I find it only takes a 30-minute jaunt around my local park to loosen up my joints, improve the circulation around my body and experience a much clearer headspace. 

Unfortunately, when winter hits the days become shorter and the weather can be a little unpredictable. So I set myself the task of finding a way to incorporate walking into an indoor workout and ended up finding a workout perfect for the holiday season when many of us are traveling and don't have access to a gym or our favorite fitness equipment but still want to move and feel good.

I figured I'd need a bit of a goal so I found a workout that would have me tick off a total of 4,000 steps in just 30 minutes. I thought 4,000 steps was a pretty solid base mark to get me going. Recent research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology found that walking just 3,867 steps can kickstart a healthier life, significantly lowering the risk of mortality from any cause. The latter sounds a little morbid but it's pretty impressive to know that walking has the potential to elongate our life. Plus, it's reassuring to see that 10,000 steps is no longer the prescribed number of steps being recommended for us to try and fit in every day.

I found an indoor walking routine on YouTube that promised to hit 5,000 steps, but still, I wasn't convinced it would actually feel like a workout or that I'd feel as good as I do when I'm outside getting some steps in. With the saying, don't knock it till you try it running through my brain, I shoved on my best gym leggings and hit play on an indoor walking workout routine. Keep reading to find out how it went down.

What is the indoor walking workout?

After doing a little research, I stumbled across Olivia Lawson, a certified fitness coach who shares walking-specific workouts to YouTube where she has over 130k subscribers. The workout technically lasts a total of 34 minutes and is designed to more than just clock up 5,000 steps on your fitness tracker. 

Lawson has created a series of walking based exercises that burn calories, engage your abs and raise your heart rate up. One thing I was particularly grateful for in this indoor walking routine was that there were no repeats. I can get pretty bored and lose motivation when workouts repeat the same exercises multiple times, so I was pretty excited to give this walking one a go. Feel free to view the routine below before reading on to find out how I got on.

I tried this 30-minute indoor walking workout — here's why it's perfect for the holidays

It wasn't boring

Like most people over the pandemic, I got obsessed with home workouts which helped me pass the hours of lockdown and keep fit while gyms and sports clubs were shut down. A week into the first lockdown and my parent's living room became a HIIT studio, where I jumped up and down from burpees to weighted lunges to the sound of sped-up pop songs and the graining sound of the workout video's beeps letting me know I had five seconds left of an interval. It was a little loud and chaotic but it was my way of coping with a national lockdown.

So the thought of doing a walking-based workout at home, honestly, sounded a little boring to me. I envisioned walking on the spot for 30 minutes, with the most excitement coming from some high knees. But as much as I hate admitting I'm wrong, I was wrong!

The workout stepped straight into alternating crossover steps with the arms extending in and out in sync with the leg movement. After 45 seconds I got a quick five second break and then I dived straight into a movement involving a step back, a touch of the ground with the hand which then drove into a high knee.

This cycle of completing a new step-based exercise every 45 seconds continued for just over 30 minutes. From the get-go go I was stumbling trying to coordinate my body and keep up a good pace. I loved the unexpected challenge and excitement of what I thought would be a pretty monotonous walking workout. I also thought how this is a perfect way to pass away the Boxing Day blues before another round of turkey and stuffing.

It was a great way to start to the day

Anyone who fits in a run or gym session before starting their day will know how well it sets you up for the day. Instead of rolling out of bed and stumbling into your clothes, spending the first hour of your day groggy and half-asleep, consider incorporating a simple indoor walking workout. It can help wake you up, stretch and loosen your muscles, and put you in a good mood for the day.

Need convincing that exercise can benefit your mental well-being? Just take a look at the research, studies have proven that exercise can alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression, and negative moods, while also boosting self-esteem and cognitive function.

I found the indoor walking workout that I followed weirdly empowering. As silly as it may sound, I got a lot of mileage from grasping the movements and keeping up with the pace of music (although Lawson says you do not need to follow the beat). Moving my body in a low-impact yet energizing way felt very uplifting and I had a little skip in my step as I left the house that morning.

If you're looking to start your day off in a healthier and more energizing way in the New Year, the Christmas break is a perfect time to start trialing a new morning routine. Why not make this walking workout the first thing you do one day and see how it makes you feel? You needn't even leave the house to complete one so you no blaming the weather for not getting your morning steps in.

a photo of a woman checking her workout stats

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It elevated my heart rate

As soon as I stopped feeling silly about doing a walking workout in my bedroom and got more confident with executing each move, my heart started to raise, my body temperature went up and I started to feel how this style of workout can have great physical benefits if completed regularly.

My goal going into this workout wasn't concerned with calories but, if it was, an indoor walking routine is a great way to keep the heart rate elevated throughout and burn calories as a result. Want to hear another bonus? It was a totally free way to warm myself up in my house on a very cold Winter's day. I'll do anything to avoid putting the heating on during a cost-of-living crisis.

Bottom line

An indoor walking workout is suitable for all fitness levels and is a lot more rewarding than it may sound. I found it was a really fun way to get my heart rate up and get my body moving without having to leave the house.

It's a great style of workout to add to your bank and one I recommend taking with you on your Christmas hols. Whether you are trying to work off your third day of roast turkey sandwiches or just need some respite from your family for a half hour over the holidays, this is the perfect exercise escape.

More from Tom's Guide

Jessica Downey
Fitness Writer

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her love for keeping fit and fueling her body with healthy and enjoyable food quite naturally led her to write about all things fitness and health-related. If she isn’t out testing the latest fitness products such as the latest running shoe or yoga mat for reviewing then she can be found writing news and features on the best ways to build strength, active aging, female health, and anything in between. Before then she had a small stint writing in local news, has also written for Runners World UK (print and digital), and gained experience with global content marketing agency, Cedar Communications.


Born and raised in Scotland, Jessica is a massive fan of exercising and keeping active outdoors. When at home she can be found running by the sea, swimming in it, or up a mountain. This continued as she studied and trained to become a PPA-accredited magazine journalist in Wales. And since working and living in London, she splits her time between weight training in the gym, trying new fitness classes, and finding scenic running routes. Jessica enjoys documenting this on her fitness-inspired Instagram page @jessrunshere where she loves engaging with like-minded fitness junkies.


She is a big fan of healthy cooking and loves learning more about this area with expert nutritionists she has met over the years. Jessica is a big advocate for building healthy relationships with food rather than building restrictive attitudes towards it. When she isn’t eating or running she also enjoys practicing yoga in her free time as it helps her to unwind and benefits her performance in other sports.