Walk This Way!

30 Jan

walkingblogWe all do it and we all do it everyday.  We do it without thinking about it.  We do it at home, we do it at work, we do it at the grocery store.  We learn to do it at a very young age and we continue to do it most of our lives.  It’s one of the things our species is best known for. As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, I’m talking about WALKING.   For most of human history, walking and running were the only means of getting from A to B. These days, that’s no longer the case for most of us. That’s unfortunate because walking—particularly at a brisk pace—is an innate way in which we can burn calories and belly fat. It requires little in the way of equipment, it can be done more or less anywhere and it’s less likely to stress the joints in the way that running can.  Not only that, walking more is a great way to decrease your stress levels. Less stress = easier weight loss.

Now, just walking here and there is great, but how can we really harness the power of walking to make it even more beneficial to our health and fitness?  I’ll go through a few tips, tricks, and even a walking plan to get your started!  It’s as simple as putting one foot in front of the other!

  • Increase Your Count:  No matter your current step count, increasing it is totally possible. The average recommendation is 10,000 steps a day – so let’s try increasing it to 15,000 steps per day, seven days a week, to lose weight.  Unlike increasing your workouts overnight, doubling up your step count won’t stress your body or make you prone to injury.
  • Walk Uphill:  Walking uphill, or climbing a staircase will help you build more muscle, which increases your metabolic rate. That will help you burn more calories even when you’re sitting. Add incline intervals to your walks three days per week and steadily increase from there.
  • Power Walk:  Picking up the pace for one-minute intervals gets your heart rate up and burns more calories. You can increase the pace and duration from there.  Don’t forget to swing your arms!  More movement = more calorie burn and strength building.
  • The Long Route:  Park farther from the door, take the stairs, walk around the building instead of through it.  As we’ve said, integrating more steps into your daily tasks can help you hit your daily step goals and lose more weight.

So here’s the thing:  for a lot of people, walking is just plain boring.  Sure, it’s easy, but how motivated are you to really put it to work for you?  Try these tricks and you’ll be motivated in no time!

  • Choose Your Shoes:  Make sure you choose comfortable shoes, with flexible soles and stiff heel counters to prevent side-to-side motion.  You’ll want them to be lightweight, cushioned, and have low heels.  Chances are, you already have them in your closet!
  • Make a Playlist:  Having a great soundtrack to your walk will motivate you to push harder and go farther and the best part is that you probably won’t even notice the extra effort that you end up putting in. Look for songs that are between 75 to 130 BPM—these tempos will help you synchronize your stride to the beat.
  • Find a Buddy:  Numerous studies confirm that having a strong support group is vital to achieving and maintaining weight loss success, with those who are part of a social support network losing more weight than their solo counterparts.  Plus, you get a nice catch up session with your friend – the time will fly by!
  • Vary the Route:  Switch up the path from time to time to keep your interest up.   With so many new things to see, you won’t be prone to boredom or burn out.  Also, try changing up the surfaces on which you walk.  Walking on grass or gravel burns more calories than walking on a track, while walking on soft sand increases caloric expenditure by almost 50 percent!

Finally, if you need a little guide to get you going, just follow the plan below.  As you get more advanced, simply increase the time and pace of your walks.  Fit them in as much as you can, wherever you can!  Your body will thank you for it.

DAY 1:  
Walk for 5 minutes after breakfast.
Walk for 5 minutes after lunch.

DAY 2:  
Walk for 10 minutes after breakfast.
Walk for 5 minutes after lunch.

DAY 3:
Walk for 15 minutes after breakfast.
Walk for 5 minutes after lunch.

DAY 4:  
Walk for 20 minutes anytime before dinner.

DAY 5:
Walk for 15 minutes after breakfast.
Walk for 5 minutes after lunch.

DAY 6:
Walk for 20 minutes after breakfast.
Walk for 5 minutes after lunch.

DAY 7:  
Walk for 25 minutes anytime before dinner.

DAY 8:  
Walk for 20 minutes after breakfast.
Walk for 5 minutes after lunch.

DAY 9:  
Walk for 25 minutes anytime before dinner.

DAY 10:
Walk for 25 minutes after breakfast.
Walk for 5 minutes after lunch.

~*~

Now go enjoy the outdoors, burn those calories, and get walking to a whole new level of fitness!

~Dayna
PX Studio

Article Sources:
Eat This, Not That (www.eatthis.com)
Women’s Health (www.womenshealthmag.com)
My Fitness Pal (www.myfitnesspal.com)
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