Tips to help you 'walk in' the New Year

One of the easiest ways to make it happen is to get walking.

But in order to put your best foot forward in a walking program, you need to take your workout off of autopilot. If you have the same old program, you're going to have the same old body.

Are you ready to mix things up? Here are some tips on hitting the trail:

Actually hitting the trail is a great idea, especially if you train indoors. Walk outside, on a trail, up hills or stairs which will add strength to your routine and burn more calories.

You can also pound the pavement at a new locale. Walk the zoo, the mall, beach or a park

Adding interval speeds to your walk elevates heart rate, torches calories and covers more territory. Try six different speeds during a half hour walk using a faster pace than your normal stride.

Have a goal. Pedometers help many strive for 10,000 steps a day. Or get a bit competitive by trying to pass others ahead of you.

Some say having purpose to your promenade will add benefits. Walk a dog, train for an event.

When all else fails, interval train. Stop for dips or crunches during your walk to hit on various muscle groups.

Finally, why not arm yourself with the tricks of the trade, like an MP3 player to get some music that will really move you.

Or, better yet, some effective yet crazy looking Nordic walking poles.

"If you remember when you were a kid you'd find a stick on a trail and you'd pick it up and start walking with it. There's actually some benefit in doing that," fitness expert Ken Alan said.

Alan says Nordic walking is great for the novice exerciser, increasing heart rate, oxygen consumption, and burning up to 30 percent more calories. The only downside: looking silly.

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