Our fast-paced lifestyles and the advancement of technology and infrastructure have inadvertently led us to find efficient ways to get to our destinations as fast as possible. It is no surprise then that walking has become one of most underrated forms of exercises out there. Often taken for granted, walking comes with a surprising number of benefits that will help you meet your health and weight goals.
Types of Walking
There are several types of walking workouts that you can adopt into your daily routine to lose weight. The first and foremost type of walking that is both beginner-friendly and effective in trimming your waistline is called brisk walking.
When you are brisk walking, you are definitely not sauntering at a moderate pace. Instead, you will be walking at a faster speed, but not fast enough to run. Want to get more out of your daily workout? Carry a pair of dumbbells when you are brisk walking and throw in some bicep curls while you are walking, to get full-body workout.
After you have familiarised yourself with brisk walking, try power walking. A level above brisk walking, power walking is said to burn as many calories as jogging, without putting too much stress on your feet and knees. The low-impact exercise improves the health of your heart and the total strength of your body, by strengthening your muscles.
If you want to burn more calories and tone your muscles, then try race walking. Unlike brisk walking, it requires you to stick to a good and fast walking technique that requires you to use more muscles in the body. Note that race walking is a high-intensity workout — it is best if you incorporated this walking technique after you have become used to a moderate- to high-intensity walking workout that demands a faster speed for a longer duration.
Marathon walking is another type of workout that you can train for. The main difference between a normal marathon and a walking marathon, if it is not already clear, is that you will be walking for the entirety of the planned route instead of running, but that doesn’t mean you will be strolling at a leisurely pace to the finish line. You would require months of training to build up your stamina and endurance, as the distance and pace are quite challenging.
Got a gym membership? Hit the treadmills every time you visit the gym and combine your strength training with a treadmill-walking workout. Start with a slow walking pace and speed, then gradually increase it. This will give your body time to adjust and get into the momentum of the workout.
It is equally important that you maintain a good posture when you are walking. Good posture will play a big role in activating certain muscles and as a result, you will be burning more calories and building more muscle mass throughout your workout. You will also avoid lower back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain, if you are more mindful of your posture when walking.
The best part of treadmills is that you can play with the settings to see which one suits you best. If you feel like your workout is getting a little dull and boring, you can always add intensity by changing the incline or speed of the belt. Treadmill walking also comes with a number of benefits. Apart from being a wonderful cardiovascular workout, walking on the treadmill will lower your blood pressure and work to decrease bad cholesterol in the blood.
Tips When Walking for Weight Loss
Here are some tips you can take note of, to ensure that you get the most out of your walking workout.
Shoes are the most important equipment you can invest in when adding a regular walking workout into your routine. Walking shoes are entirely different from normal shoes as they have flexible soles made for walking long distances. They are also engineered to keep your feet comfortable and safe throughout your workout. If you are hiking or walking on a bumpy or inconsistent terrain, ensure that you are wearing the right shoes for the occasion.
With 10,000 steps as the ideal number of steps an average person should be taking in a day, it would be wise to invest in a pedometer. Pedometers essentially count the number of steps you have taken throughout the day. This will help you to track your progress and motivate you to walk more every time you step out of the house.
If you want to spice up your workout or increase your fitness level, switch up your route. Instead of constantly hitting low and flat terrains, try walking uphill or walking up a terrain with a steep incline to really get your heart pumping. This will not only build your stamina and strength, but also burn more fat. Another way to jumpstart your fat burning would be to start on your walking workout as soon as you wake up. This way, your body will be forced to burn fat for energy, since glycogen levels will be completely exhausted during the course of sleep. The calorie-deficit will work in your favour to speed up your weight loss goals.
One Stride At a Time
The general consensus is that you should walk 10,000 steps each day to maintain an optimal fitness level. Regardless of which type of walking workout you prefer, it is best to increase the number of steps you are taking each day, so as to attain your ideal weight or fitness level progressively over time.