Walking For Weight Loss: 5 Ways To Burn More Calories
Walking is a terrific exercise and pretty natural to us humans, but it isn't always the easiest sell.
As humans, we're designed, and programmed, to walk.
Walking is a cardio exercise, yet people tend to dismiss it.
Not only does it help you lose weight but there are other mental advantages as well.
So, the next time you're thinking about exercising...
...Maybe you should go for a walk and implement one of the 5 ways to burn more calories while walking that I share in the video below.
If you're up for a challenge, try to incorporate more than one of the tips to bump up your next walking session.
How Walking Benefits You
Let's look at it this way: There are three ways of looking at walking as a fitness tool and which camp you belong to has a lot to do with your own lifestyle.
1. The fitness geek: He or she can't see how walking might supplement his triathlon type regimen. This is also the person that might drive to a grocery store a half a mile away.
2. People who are ill, elderly, or injured: They might be excited to think as walking as exercise but not sure how to get the maximum benefits from it, especially if their ability to walk is limited. Maybe walking outside of the house is difficult, but walking indoors can be a healthy activity.
3. The terminally busy: He or she may have dawning health concerns and busy family/workloads, and may not have much time to become gym rats. Here working healthful walkin into daily routines can be a terrific fitness boost.
Let's put the dismissive attitudes about walking behind us and take a look why it is great exercise:
Walking is good for everyone, and here we are going to look at the how's and why's, and at some tips about how to get the maximum benefits from this most essential of exercises.
It's okay to start slow:
Starting a walking routine means different things to different people but we all have one thing in common.
It's better to start slow.
The problem with, and advantage of, walking is that it is deceptively easy.
The fitness geek might commit to taking a serious hike every weekend and the busy mom might commit to a daily walk around the park, but anything from rain to business plans might get in the way of a routine and once a routine is broken habitually it doesn't do us much good.
Even a person recovering from an illness might take on too much and make themselves sore for days, which isn't an incentive to keep plugging ahead.
My advice is to start with a goal that is smaller than the what you think you can obtain already and to make sure it's an easy fit for your life. We'll delve a little deeper into this as we go along, but here are some examples:
Take the stairs: If you work or live up a few flights, always take the stairs. But, and this is the key, you don't need to take all the stairs every time. If you're tired or in a hurry, climb a flight and then get the elevator.
Walk with a friend, baby or dog: We'll talk about walking buddies later but there is no more reliable partner than your dog or child. Walking buddies, hiking buddies, and physical therapists are great when they are available when you are.
Walk to the store: If you are close to a store and it's safe to walk there, make it a regular habit. Carrying a week's worth of groceries isn't practical, but let's face it, we all stop at stores for this or that several times a week. Your local coffee shop might make more sense for you, but do try to make a healthy choice while you're there.
Pro Tips For Burning More Calories
1. Light Pole Intervals
The concept here is to walk for a short period and then, on reaching a landmark such as a light pole, to speed your pace slightly. Don't speed the length of your stride, but walk faster.
Of course, we don't all live in situations where literally walking from light pole to light pole is practical, but the idea is in the application.
If your choice is taking the stairs you would speed up a little with every flight you manage. If you are infirm, you might walk to the restroom and faster on your return.
2. Climb Hills
A 10% grade makes walking more challenging and works muscles that a flat walk doesn't. Some of us live in hilly places, while others have to work a little to find a hill.
Treadmills have hill options, and climbing stairs has some of those advantages.
3. Work Your Upper Body
OK, speed walking can look kind of stupid to the uninitiated, and we may as well come out and say it. If you live in a nice neighborhood with health-conscious neighbors this might not be an issue, but that isn't the case for everyone, and walking in a distracted manner can be dangerous for women in some cases.
Our best advice is to take periodic stops and do push-ups, using a park bench for support, and some jumping jacks.
If doing this in your neighborhood might cause the cops to search you for drugs, wrist weights or the simple use of your shopping bags may be a practical substitute, as is pushing a stroller or working with a dog.
Stop to play fetch along the way. A dog park is a great place to get your walk on.
For people recovering from an illness, when a trip to the kitchen is exercise, stop and raise your arms a few times and do a few wall push-ups along your way.
Pro Tip: 10 jumping jacks and 10 push-ups are recommended for this. Or if you want to add more fun... try this HIIT For Beginners workout.
4. Change Location
Routines, like rules, seem meant to be broken. Don't wait until you are 3 months into your health kick to add variety to it. Plan ahead.
It's great to have access to a treadmill and some people do very well with using it daily, but you'll get more out of your walking if you can take it to the beach, or hiking, or to any number of diverse locations.
Try using not one but several walking strategies for a winning plan. No time for the treadmill because you have to go to the store?
Walk to the store. Take some stairs when you can. Plan a trip to the beach or hills with some friends.
Can't walk in the park because of the weather? Take an extra flight of stairs.
5. Recruit A Walking Buddy
If you like this kind of incentive, actively seek someone who will power walk with you at designated times.
This can keep you safe and motivated, but there is some craft involved in getting it right because you are depending on your buddy to stay motivated.
A good way to recruit a buddy is to dangle a mutual reward at the end, such as a coffee (healthy, please) at Starbucks.
Your dog is your best friend, and small children love a walk as well. When it comes to taking a walk, your dog is guaranteed not to let you down.
If you are recovering from an illness, you may have physical therapists available, but don't decline invitations, and encourage your friends and relatives to stop helping you fetch whatever you need. Explain that walking is good for you.
Pro Tip: While walking with a (human) buddy you should be walking fast enough to make chatting difficult. This makes the bonding at your local cafe even more important as an incentive.
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Transformation Coach/Pizza Lover