Walk Your Way to Health
People look to many things when it comes to weight loss and fitness, but walking is seldom considered. Walking has plenty going for it. For instance, you don’t have to wear tight bicycle shorts or go to a special fitness center for to do it. But you can have fun doing it. And best of all—there’s no learning curve.
Think about this—not only can you lose weight by walking, but the more you weigh, the more effectively you can drop those unwanted pounds.
Just how much weight you can lose varies from person to person, but most folks can lose 15-plus pounds within the first eight weeks of starting a regular walking regimen. So if you do the math, if you started a walking routine right now, you could whittle down your waist by a size or two within a couple of months.
To make a walking routine that actually works, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind.
Protip: Make sure that you invest in some good walking or running shoes; they can really help to maintain your joint health.
The truth is that you don’t have to walk an hour every single day to lose weight, at least at first. What’s more important is that you get into the habit of walking at least some time every day, even if it’s around a couple of neighborhood blocks.
Ultimately, you’d like to engage in three or four (shorter) mid-to-high intensity walks, and a few hour-long walks, per week. The main thing is to make walking a part of your daily routine; something that becomes habitual and that you do without even thinking about it.
And the next time you come across some stairs, try walking up and down them a few times. Always remember that you burn a lot more calories with stairs than you do traversing flat surfaces.
Reach Beyond Your Limits
The most effective way to melt those unwanted pounds off is through walking intervals. What that means is that during your mid-to-high intensity days, you’ll want periods of faster walking interspersed with periods of slower walking. That’s because people who walk in intervals lose more weight than those who walk the same speed all the time since you’re challenging your body more and making it adjust. Of course, if you are really serious about changing your body composition, you’ll eventually want to add resistance training to your walking routine. Resistance training also builds your muscles, tendons, and joints up, so that you can walk faster.
Find Your Hill & Climb it
Walking on flat surfaces is great for a start. But you’ll eventually want to layer on some additional challenge by walking up and down inclines. Incline walking not only increases your blood flow and cardiovascular capabilities, it also helps to activate your calves, quadriceps (thighs), and glutes (read end).
Depending on how severe (or lack thereof) an incline you are walking up and down, you can achieve some of the same benefits of running, without all of the wear and tear on your joints.
Make it a fun thing. Go walking and locate a hill that speaks to you. When you find it, make it “your hill” and incorporate it into your walking regimen.
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