15 million more Americans are walking today according to a recent CDC report. So why are more people waking up to the benefits of a walking workout? It’s a great start towards your weekly 21/2 hours per week physical activity goal. Even when you’re too time crunched or financially strapped to squeeze in a gym session, you can go for the next best thing: walking. Moreover, when the weather’s right, it doesn’t even feel like a workout.
Walking is a great physical activity no matter where you are on the fitness curve. Along with burning calories and toning muscles, it also reduces the risks of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. But a leisurely walk wont quite cut it so here are some tips on how to get the best weight-loss results from your walk:
Right Fuel: A small snack an hour before the walking workout can fuel you up and keep your blood sugar level from dipping to low. Keep it light with a small fruit, energy bar or a bowl of fat- free yogurt. Make sure to hydrate adequately before your walk. If your last meal was several hours ago, make sure you refuel after the walk with protein-rich muscle building foods like eggs and lean protein.
Right Stretch: The best warm up prior to the walking workout is slow walking for 5-10 minutes. This preps the body for what follows. Stretches should follow after you are done with the walking working. Drop your pace of walking slowly towards the end and don’t stop abruptly.
Right Pace: Experts use the number of strides taken per minute to calculate your speed. If you pay attention, you will be able to estimate how many steps you take per minute. Based on that your speed could vary between:
70 steps per minute 30 minutes per mile: 2 miles/hr
105 steps per minute 20 minutes per mile: 3 miles/hr
140 steps per minute 15 minutes per mile: 4 miles/hr
As long as you achieve the minimum you are on your way to a fast paced workout. Step it up every 2 weeks and aim to walk at a brisk four miles per hour or 15-minute mile to torch some serious calories. If you walk at this pace for 45 minutes, you will have burned an estimated 203 calories *.
Right Time: Anytime you can schedule it in is good. Mornings are the best to kick up your metabolism but it is fine as long as you can fit it into your lifestyle. If your day is too packed for a 45-minute long walking session, break it up. For example, do one 15-minute routine in the morning, one at lunch, and one at night.
Right Twist: Add some power to your walk with these simple exercise techniques. Do a shirt pull to lengthen your spine and maintain the right form. Cross your arms at the wrist in front of your waist and raise your arms as if to pull your shirt up. Grow taller as you reach up. Then lower your arms, letting your shoulders drop into place. Repeat frequently during your walk. Some walkers add small 3-lb dumbbells to add resistance and build strength in legs and arms.