Walking is an exercise that almost everyone can do, and it is a great way to lose 10 pounds while still eating the foods that you enjoy. Aim to walk for 30 minutes to an hour each day, and change up your routine to fight off boredom. The exercise will speed up your metabolism and burn stored fat. It can also lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers.
While walking sounds easy enough, you need to make sure that you are doing it correctly to get the best benefits. Stand tall with your abs pulled in and shoulders back. Make sure your stride is comfortable, although you can occasionally lengthen it to work different leg muscles. Push off with your back foot to provide momentum while going into the next step.
A good warm-up is an essential part of a workout. The warm-up period allows your muscles to gently wake up and gradually increases your heart rate. Start with a slow, casual walk. After a few minutes, begin walking faster and pumping your arms as you walk. By the end of 5 minutes, your body should be sufficiently warmed up.
Once you have mastered walking at a steady pace, you might want to introduce intervals into your workout. Studies show that varying the pace and intensity of walking produces fat-burning results. To do this, mix periods of moderately paced walking with shorter periods of high-intensity walking. The faster intervals should have you breathing too heavily to talk. The moderate pace should still keep your heart rate accelerated but allow you time to recover. Use a stopwatch or landmarks to help you decide when to change pace.
Walking doesn’t need to be the standard “one foot in front of the other.” You can vary your walk by adding lunges or squats. Choose a route with hills to get more muscles involved. Include a short stint of walking backwards or sideways. Take it indoors on a treadmill if the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Incorporate Your Upper Body
Although walking mainly involves the lower half of your body, you can give the upper half a great workout, too. Incorporate arm exercises while you are walking, or step off the trail to do some reps. Do some bicep curls, triceps extensions, and shoulder presses. Carry weights as you walk for an added calorie-burning boost.
The cool-down period following your workout is as important as the workout itself. Steadily begin to slow your pace, allowing your heart rate to gradually return to normal. Do some stretches to help your muscles recover from the exercise. Take the time to reflect on your positive step towards reaching your weight loss goals.
Walking doesn’t have to be the boring, old standby. It is a flexible activity that you can design to suit your fitness and weight loss goals. The most important thing is to make your workout enjoyable so that you will stick with it.