Walking is probably one of the easiest exercises you can do – all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes.
While some of us believe that the only way to lose weight is to crank it out on the cardio machines until we’re drenched in sweat, you’ll be surprised to learn that with the right walking program, you can burn more than a day’s worth of calories in one week.
There are countless benefits to walking:
- Cheap and easy way to keep fit
- Gets you into the habit of regular exercise
- Helps with flexibility and stability, and reduces the risk of falling in older adults
- Social outlet when done in a group
- Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL)
- Increases good cholesterol (HDL)
- Reduces your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
- Reduces your risk of diabetes
- Helps with arthritic pain management
- Helps to manage diabetes
- Reduces your risk of some cancers like breast cancer
- Good for bone health
- Helps in weight loss and weight management
- Helps elevate mood, self-esteem and reduces anxiety
- Improves quality of sleep
Many studies have been done on the benefits of walking and how it can help you to lose weight. One recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition surveyed a group of women aged 18 to 30 years old over a 15-year time span. The results of this study showed that women who walked for a minimum of four hours a week showed a 44% greater success rate at losing weight than those ladies who didn’t walk at all.
To truly get the most benefits out of your walking program, you should walk for 45 minutes at a time, if not every day then at least 5 days a week. You want to work at 75% of your target heart rate at a speed of 3 to 4 ½ miles per hour. Buying a pedometer would be a good investment, if you’re truly serious about getting back into shape with walking.
For beginners, I would stick to just walking for the first two to four weeks and then add some one-minute intervals of targeted moves that will work your whole body. After two to four more weeks, add hand or wrist weights. This will help you to tone up and burn extra calories.
Fat-Burning Walking Workout
Warm up with light walking, swinging your arms in a controlled fashion, side to side and around in circles both clockwise and counter-clockwise. Make sure your feet are landing with toes pointing forward and about hip-width apart. Keep your shoulders loose, your chin up and your tummy tucked.
After five minutes, increase your speed and work your way up to 3 to 4 ½ miles per hour and sustain this tempo for another five minutes. Then you’ll start with one-minute intervals of the exercises listed below:
One-Minute Walking Interval I
- Walking Lunges – work the arms into bicep curls.
- Skipping – swing the arms laterally out to the side to work the shoulders.
- Heel Walk – swimming the arms side to side in a marching fashion.
- Toe Walk – this will tone up those calf muscles. With the arms, straighten them above your head for shoulder presses.
- Kick-Step – kick you lead leg up to work the front of your thighs. You can transition to the other leg with a little skip when you land – known in dancing terms as the quick-ball-change.
- Elbow to Knee – with each step, bring your knee up and cross over to touch your knee to work the torso.
Resume your walking pace of 3 to 4 ½ miles per hour for another 5 minutes, then move into this second interval of one-minute walking exercises for another 5 minutes:
One-Minute Walking Interval II
- Runway Walk – exaggerate your walk here like you’re a runway model. This will help work the hips as you cross your legs slightly in front, making sure that each foot lands in the same spot at the next. Raise your arms up to shoulder height in front of you as you walk.
- Windmill – bring one leg out to the side and the opposite arm out to mirror it to work the outer thighs and shoulder cap.
- High Knees – start with your arms above your head and with each step, raise your knee up as your arms come down in a lat pulldown to meet your knees.
- Heel Walk – finish this set of intervals with another round of heel walking, this time straighten your arms behind you and pump back to work your triceps as you walk.
Resume your walking pace of 3 to 4 ½ miles per hour for another 5 minutes, alternating with 5 minutes of one-minute exercise intervals until you’ve walked a total of 45 minutes (not including your warm-up).
Now, it might take you a while to get comfortable performing some of these moves out in public, but once you do, the benefits will reward you tenfold. With this walking workout you could lose 1,200 or more in just one week.
Originally published @ FITLODE.COM