Walking is the perfect exercise and the best part is there is no special equipment needed and anyone can do it. It is that simple. Many people are under the misconception that they need a high-intensity exercise plan to lose weight.
That simply isn’t true. It is as easy as putting your feet on the floor and walking. A good pair of tennis shoes and some comfortable clothes and you can be burning calories in no time.
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Walking does not require scheduled gym time, it can be done almost anywhere and it is easy to work small chunks of walking time into your daily routine.
Whether you are a stay-at-home mom or a corporate executive, with a little bit of effort you can walk 7,000 – 10,000 steps each day without leaving the building.
How to Start Walking for Weight Loss
Not only does walking burn calories, but it can also boost your mood and relieve stress. Are you looking for a way to amp up your weight loss by walking?
Start by following these tips for walking to lose pounds.
1. Set a step goal – being able to track your steps is as close as your cell phone. There are apps that will track your steps as you walk. A pedometer and an activity tracker are also good ways to track your steps.
Setting a goal and trying to achieve it each day can be the first step in losing weight and forming a habit that can keep you healthy for the rest of your life. Ten thousand steps is a great number to target.
If it seems like too much at first, start with a lower number and work your way up to 10,000 steps or more.
2. Hit the Trail – Just walking outside can have its own set of benefits, but walking on a trail can take your calorie-burning to the next level.
Walking on surfaces that are not level will burn more calories than walking on level ground. If you are not near a trail, using a treadmill on an incline can offer the same uneven surface as a trail.
If you really want to ramp things up, take the stairs. Walking upstairs is a great substitute for not having a trail nearby. The gym is also equipped with machines that simulate walking up stairs.
3. Add short walks throughout the day – Scheduling a 30 – 45 minute walk 4 – 5 times a week is a great start in increasing physical activity, but what if it is not enough to burn the calories needed for weight loss?
Get extra steps in by walking whenever you can. Do you sit at a desk during the day? Get a standup desk and walk in place periodically. Walk during your lunch hour. I read about an executive that could rack up 1 to 2 thousand steps by pacing during conference calls.
Most have more opportunity to walk during the day than we realize. Challenge yourself to add an extra few thousand steps each day by walking throughout the day.
4. Up the intensity – Walking faster can burn more calories, but increasing the intensity can help even more. Varying your walking speed can burn an additional 20% more calories than walking at a steady pace.
Activity bursts (running in place as fast as you can) for 30 seconds followed by 90 seconds of colled down activity is a great way to increase fat burning.
These types of intervals can be done in other forms of fitness besides walking. Swimming, riding a stationary bike and working out on Stairmaster are other options for interval training. They aren’t walking, but they can be an excellent way to add variety to a workout.
5. Swing your arms – Okay, this might look funny, but you are trying to lose weight and get fit. Extra movement burns calories.
So, moving your arms in a more exaggerated motion can burn up to 10% more calories throughout your walk. Powerwalking is an excellent form of walking that burns calories at a higher rate than normal walking does.
6. Mix it up with strength training – Walking provides a lot of benefits on its own, but you can improve those benefits by incorporating strength training. I am not a big fan of walking with weights, but it can work for you.
But you can do pushups on benches or walls that are along your walking route. Lunges and squats are a great addition to a walking workout. Yoga poses are another perfect way to turn a walking workout into a more complete exercise program.
7. Walk first thing in the morning – I don’t know about you, but the longer I am awake and start doing other things, the more easily it becomes for me to find reasons not to walk. Just get it done.
The sense of accomplishment will motivate you to get other things done throughout the day. You think coffee in the morning gives you a boost. See what a thirty-minute brisk walk can do for your energy level.
Walking for Weight Loss
Walking is the easiest physical activity to implement into a weight loss plan. You can do it in your home, outside and in a gym.
Walking for weight loss can even be done in a pool and if you have a lot of weight to lose, the pool may be where you want to start your walking routine. You can walk alone, with your family or part of a group.
Walking is hugely versatile. You can also turn a walking routine into a full workout by adding bodyweight strength training and stretching throughout your walking.
I also find walking to be very zen and a great way to meditate. While it is difficult to zone everything out (I always have trouble doing that anyway), you can certainly get past all the chaos in your life and to a place of calm even if it is only for a short time.
The great thing about walking is we were all born to do it. There is nothing to learn.
I cannot imagine a weight loss plan that does not include walking. It is so simple and a walking routine does not require any special equipment.
A comfortable pair of walking shoes is all that is needed. Walking can be an integral part of a complete workout or a basic exercise plan.
One of my favorite routines for walking is to walk 2 miles, do 3 sets of (20 on each side) step-ups, meditate for 10 – 15 minutes and then walk the final mile to my home.
No matter your preference for walking, it is all about getting started and stepping it up. Walk regularly and the weight loss will come.