Adding an Incline
Adding an incline (in other words, simulating walking uphill) to your walks will help you in two ways. First, it gets your heart pumping, increasing the intensity level of your workout without increasing the impact on your joints. Second, climbing works your butt and leg muscles like nothing else, sculpting your glutes and hamstrings until they are sleek and lean.
Stair climbing is a fun, easy way to introduce some incline into your walking routine. One of the best ways to use stair climbing is by adding it during a 10-minute break in your day. You'll burn a lot of calories (in 10 minutes, anyway) and keep your heart pumping long after you stop going up the stairs (going down is good, too, by the way). Many office buildings have stairs, of course, and you can easily design a route that will allow you to walk through the building without anyone thinking you are just wasting time. If you need to make a copy, for example, take the scenic route to get to the copier, and then take a different route back to your desk. No one will be the wiser, and your body will thank you.
Rest assured, hiking doesn't necessarily refer to backpacking, i.e., carrying a heavy pack on your back, and walking for miles up into the mountains. For your purposes, all hiking means is heading to the mountains or even walking on a flat path while you're wearing trail shoes.
Trail shoes look like a combination of sneakers and mountain boots. They are lighter than boots, but have treads that allow you to walk on rocks and dirt. They are an absolute necessity for hiking — sneakers just won't do the job. Most good sneaker companies make trail shoes, too, and most good shoe stores (not department stores, but sporting goods stores) have many choices. Try them on with appropriate socks, i.e., ones with cushioning that will allow your foot to breathe. And remember that after a few hours of hiking, your feet will swell a bit, so you need your trail shoes to be roomy.