The first thing that comes to our mind when we hear words ‘weight loss’ is probably a sweaty workout in a gym and a strict diet. Now it’s time to change that. Walking as an exercise can be easy, free, and enjoyable. It has plenty of advantages, including that you don’t have to go to a gym, you can do it anywhere. No mental burn outs guaranteed – each time you can switch up your scenery.
Regular walking health benefits:
- It reduces or maintains your weight depending on the intensity
- Strengthens your bones and muscles
- Prevents heart disease, high blood pressure
- Improves your mood
There are 3 main ways of walking:
It’s a slow walking technique. Usually, people walk on average of 5 kilometers (3 miles) per hour. The main muscles used during casual walking are hips, thighs, and calves. Lower back and abdominals are also used to keep your posture upright. After casual walking, you usually feel warm, but not exhausted. This technique doesn’t burn your calories as fast as others.
This type of walking gets your heart pumping and is perfect to get and stay fit. If you want to moderate your weight, increase energy, or improve health, this type of walking is for you. To reach these advantages fitness walking should be about 6,5 kilometers (4 meters) per hour. It is recommended to warm up before fitness walking.
This technique is considered as effective as jogging but with less stress on your joints. Power walking is great for calorie burning and muscle shaping, so it can be a main cardio workout. This type of walking requires warming up by walking at a normal walking pace for five minutes before increasing your tempo. Power walkers take about 8 kilometers (6 miles) per hour and 6-8 walks per week. Some walkers include runnings intervals in order to pump up exercise intensity.
Techniques to remember when walking:
Your posture and purposeful movements are very important for effective walking. Make sure you know how to walk the right way.
- Stand tall, up your head and look forward.
- Relax your neck, shoulders and back, keep your back straight and abdomen flat.
- As you move, rotate your hips forward. Straight your leading leg as your heel touches the ground. The flexibility in your hips will be increased and it will not strain your lower back.
- Swing your arms actively with a slight bend in your elbows in order to strengthen your upper body.
Additional walking tips and ideas:
Goals will help you stay motivated. Start with simple goals, for example, 10 minutes walk after lunch. After a while set a new goal: 15 minutes walk before bedtime. Soon you will reach bigger and bigger goals. If you don’t have enough time to walk daily then you should increase the walking intensity and shorten the length of your walks. If you skip your planned walks, don’t give up. Just remember how you feel after physical activities, and then get back into your routine.
Know your backup goals
Answer to yourself why do you want to walk. Do you want to increase energy? Moderate your weight? Improve strength? Your backup goals will keep you motivated and will not let you give up.
Challenge yourself with walking intervals. Several minutes of faster walking with several minutes of slower walking is the best way to reduce your body fat. According to one research, interval walking may protect against aging caused increases in blood pressure, and the decrease in muscle strength. This method will help you walk faster.
Drink lots of water
It is recommended to drink a lot during your walks. Even if you don’t feel thirsty, don’t forget to drink, because when you feel thirsty it means that you are already dehydrated!
Leave your headphones at home
Yes, listing to music sounds relaxing, but it can be dangerous while you walk because you might not be very aware of your environment. You can’t hear upcoming bicycles, scooters, or even cars. If you use them outdoor, you need to scan your environment, so you can’t be fully relaxed. Leave your headphones at home and dive into nature, pay extra attention to the sights, and sounds around you while walking.
Vary your surroundings
One of the best things walking can offer you, is that you will never get bored. You can have as many different routes as you want. So many places you can choose for walking: explore your city center, national parks, hiking trails around you. New surroundings will keep your workout interesting. Walk on sand or grass, this requires more energy so you will burn more calories. Walking on the rocky ground may have even more benefits. Add a route with some ups or hills to increase your workout and speed up calorie burning.
Walk with a buddy
Walking with a buddy can make your exercise even more enjoyable. Walking with others will give you extra support, good conversations, and motivation. Ask your partner or friend to join you. A furry friend can also be a great walking partner, just be sure your dog or cat is enjoying your walks.
Find the solution that keeps you moving and remember: the more often and faster you walk, the greater the results.