One of the most popular exercises for individuals of all ages is walking. One of the major reasons for the popularity of walking is the low impactnature of such a light but effective form of exercise.Walking is a natural movement for the human body and is an excellent form of exercise that will not only promote weight loss, but also improve your health, balance, coordination and a mental sense of well-being. Follow these simple tips to ensure that your walking program is sufficient to effectively lose weight. Most medical and sports professionals recommend walking for a minimum of 30 minutes at least 3 to 5 days per week. If possible, set a fitness goal to walk for at least 30 minutes per day, 7 days a week. By doing so, not only will your overall health improve, but you will achieve your personal weight loss goals at a quicker rate as well. For most individuals, a casual walk equates to approximately 150 calories burned per half hour. For example, by walking 3 times a week and burning 150 calories per walk, an individual would lose 5 pounds of excess body weight in approximately 39 weeks.
To lose weight at an even faster rate, consider incorporating sprints, interval training, or walking on an incline to your weekly walking routine. Another approach to increasing the rate at which you lose excess body weight is to increase the number of days per week that you walk, and/or the duration of each walk. For example, increasing your walking time from 30 minutes to one hour, while maintaining the same pace, will increase the number of calories burned from 150 to 300. Likewise, simply performing your walking routine more days per week will increase the total number of calories burned per week as well. For example, walking for 1 hour, 5 days per week will burn a total of 1500 calories. In this example, an individual would lose approximately 5 pounds of body weight in 11.5 weeks, and 10 pounds of excess weight in 23 weeks. Consume a healthy, well-balanced diet in addition to your walking routine. There is no better way to lose weight effectively, safely and at a reasonable rate than combining an exercise routine with a healthy diet that focuses on consuming natural whole foods that are low in fat and high in nutritional content. Consuming a high number of daily calories that contain a high percentage of fat will only undermine your weight loss efforts and lead to a loss of motivation and determination. Consider coupling a strength training routine with your walking routine. By doing so, you will increase your muscular strength, lean muscle mass, and the rate at which you burn calories (Basal Metabolic Rate). For example, you could perform your walking routine on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and perform your strength training routine on Tuesday and Thursday. Strength training can be performed using body weight, weight equipment, elastic bands, medicine balls or exercise ball exercises. Please see our Fitness Exercises section for additional tips and exercise ideas. Use caution when walking with dumbbells or ankle weights, as there have been reports of shoulder and ankle strains and sprains associated with their use while walking.
Your Weekly Walking Plan
Weekday Workout Monday Essential Upper-Body Shapers Tuesday Steady 4 mph or faster walk (Do 45 minutes in one shot or divide the time into three 15-minute 1-mile walks.) Wednesday Burn-and-Firm Workout (45 minutes) Thursday Steady 4 mph or faster walk (45 minutes)
Essential Upper-Body Shapers
Friday OFF Saturday Burn-and-Firm Workout (45 minutes) Sunday Steady 4 mph or faster walk (Do 60 minutes all in one loop or two 30-minute outings.)
As mentioned earlier, walking is a natural motion for the human body and provides numerous benefits, both physical and mental. With today’s sedentary lifestyle, a walking routine is an excellent first step towards a healthier tomorrow. Performing a walking routine regularly will improve your cardiovascular conditioning, increase your overall endurance, strengthen your core and lower body muscles, and create a more balanced and calm mental frame of mind. Walking does work for just about every body—but bumping up your activity level does put strain on your muscles, joints, and heart. “If you haven’t been exercising, running it by your primary care doctor is a good idea, just to make sure they don’t have any concerns or think you need any testing ahead of time.