You’ve probably heard the story about the man who lost 50 pounds by walking for an hour each day. Or the woman who prevented excess weight gain during pregnancy, by simply walking everywhere she went. Or the grandmother who stays in shape and wards off the signs of aging, by going for a walk after dinner each evening.
Variations on this story exist, and the tales are often true. Many people have found that walking is the easiest, most convenient form of exercise… And it’s effective!
Walking can comprise a major part of your exercise routine, but what if you don’t have time to walk as much as you wish? Or, what if your daily schedule doesn’t exactly allow you to walk everywhere? Maybe you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, and you need to bump up your calorie burn somehow. All of these problems can be solved by increasing your walk difficulty, and won’t cost you any more time.
Add bursts of speed. Maybe you’re not up to a thirty-minute jog just yet. But nothing is stopping you from adding in bursts of speed walking or jogging, throughout your walk. Increase your speed to bump up your heart rate (and calorie burn) for two minutes, then drop back to your regular speed. Repeat this as often as you can, throughout your workout.
Switch to Nordic walking. Nordic walking can actually increase your calorie burn up to 67 percent! Head to a sporting goods store, pick up a pair of walking poles, and make sure to research the correct form.
Change your route. If you’ve been walking in a mostly flat neighborhood (or on a flat treadmill), change up your route and add some hills. Hills are more challenging, will increase your heart rate, and do wonders to tone your legs and bottom!
Add some weight. Adding just a few pounds to your body weight will make your legs work harder. No, we’re not suggesting that you gain weight! Try carrying some light hand weights (you can perform toning exercises as you walk) or consider a weighted vest. As your body works harder to carry the additional weight, you’ll burn more calories.
As always, we suggest that you come see us before starting or changing your exercise routine. We can screen you for health conditions, and offer advice on a nutritious weight loss plan if needed.