If you’re looking for an easy way to lose weight, starting a walking program is a great way to do it. It’s low impact, easy to fit into a busy schedule, and can be participated in by people of almost any age or fitness level.
Use these eleven walking tips to burn more calories and shed pounds.
1 Take more steps in the day.
Power walking workouts are a great way to get in shape. While 30-45 minutes of power walking 4-5 days a week should be your focus, don’t stop there. In order to reach your weight loss goals, incorporate 20 minutes or less of walking into your day whenever possible. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Try taking short walks after meals, which can help control your blood sugar, prevent cravings for more food, and boost your metabolism.
When completing daily tasks, walk between destinations instead of driving a mile or less.
When you are feeling frustrated or stressed, take a short walk. It will help your mood while you burn a few extra calories.
Always take the stairs instead of the elevator.
2 Increase the intensity
Boosting your walking speed from a leisurely walk in the park is one way to get your heart pumping and burn more calories. In addition to picking up the pace, researchers at The Ohio State University found that varying your walking speed during your workout can help you burn 20 percent more calories than if you maintained a steady pace.
During your walk, include a 30-second burst every five minutes to walk as fast as possible without jogging. Perform another slower 30-second recovery walk before returning to your normal power walking pace.
3HIT THE HILLS.
Walking on hilly trails with hills is one way to incorporate intervals into your walking routine without it feeling like torture. Walking uphill also burns more calories and helps you build muscle in your lower body, which also helps speed up your metabolism.
If you don’t have a walking path near you that you can access 2-3 times a week, try a stair workout or setting the incline on the treadmill. Just remember to vary your technique slightly. Lean forward when climbing stairs, take shorter steps, and bend your knees more than usual.
4 Use your arms.
As silly as it may seem, exaggerating your arm swing while walking has additional benefits. It will help speed up your stride, exercise your upper body, and burn up to 10 percent more calories compared to normal arm swings.
To perfect your arm swing technique, use these tips.
Bend your arm to 90 degrees and hold that form.
The arm should extend as comfortably and naturally behind the body as possible.
When swinging up, your hands should rise to chest level.
5 Focus on form
Emphasizing proper posture can help improve your workout and calorie burn, as well as prevent fatigue and common walking-related injuries. Focus on keeping your back relaxed, lengthening your spine, and keeping your shoulders neutral. Make sure to keep your eyes focused on the horizon, which will help keep your neck and head aligned.
You also need to pay attention to how your feet are touching the ground. Your heel should hit the ground first to “help absorb the impact and minimize pressure on the joint,” explains board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Michael Grieber. From there, your foot should roll smoothly forward, “using your toe flexors to push your toes out,” says Gleiber. By taking a few minutes to check your form, you can maximize your walking workouts for more effective weight loss.
6 Have a step-by-step goal
Setting goals is important to stay motivated. One of the best goals you can have as a walker is to try to increase the number of steps you take each day. The more steps you take, the more likely you are to burn calories. And shortening your stride to take more steps can actually help you pick up the pace.
Unlike distance and speed goals, which can lead to injury when progressing too quickly, it’s safer to increase your steps to fill you up more quickly. If you’re serious about losing weight, aim for 10,000 steps a day to start and then increase the number of steps from there depending on your tolerance.
7 Keep your calorie consumption low.
Walking can be a great way to de-stress, improve your health, and strengthen your bones and muscles without the risk of injury. But for weight loss, you need to focus on your diet to make it happen.
Focusing on lean proteins and vegetables and limiting sugary and processed foods is where you should start. Tracking your daily calorie intake will help you lose weight faster and more safely than if you choose one of the many fad diets.
8 Include strength training.
A great way to break up your walks, strengthen your muscles and burn more calories is to add body weight exercises to your workout. Two to three times a week, stop every five minutes during your walk to do one of these exercises. How many times you do it is up to you.
Push-ups (do them on a park bench or against a wall, it’s easier)
9 Avoid sugary sports drinks
A common mistake that walkers and other endurance athletes make is choosing sugary sports drinks during their workouts. The calories in these drinks counteract most of the calories you burn, and in most cases, they aren’t needed to sustain your activity. Unless you’re exercising at high intensity for more than 90 minutes, stick to water and save your sports drinks for your most difficult workouts.
10 Consider a walking playlist
If you’re alone all the time, it may be difficult to maintain high intensity and focus during your walk to maximize your calorie burn. For those days when you need a little extra stimulation, try some music. An upbeat playlist can be surprisingly motivating, so you’re motivated to go farther and faster while fending off boredom.
11 Take recovery seriously.
An important part of any active diet is to be consistent. That means walking a lot, and to do that you need to minimize injuries and muscle soreness. By taking recovery more seriously between workouts, you’ll be able to exercise more frequently and burn more calories. Icing sore areas, stretching and foam rolling after workouts, eating a balanced diet and prioritizing quality sleep are all essential elements of a smart recovery plan to stay in top shape.