Walking to lose weight is effective, easy and fun! Walking is considered one of the best exercises because of the emotional and health benefits, such as improved mood and stronger heart and lungs and because it is easy on your back, knees, joints and muscles. It's also free and easy to do!
In order to lose weight by walking, research has shown that you'll need to walk for 60 minutes a day, five days a week at a brisk pace. Your heart rate should be elevated to 60-80% of its maximum. You can use a heart rate monitor to track your heart rate or use the “talk test": if you can hold a conversation while you are walking, start walking faster because you're not walking fast enough; if you can't say a single sentence, slow down!
Here is one fun and easy tip you can use today when walking to lose weight.
Interval training. Interval training means alternating short bursts of intense activity with short bursts of easier activity. Research has demonstrated that interval training burns more calories and builds a stronger cardiovascular system than just exercising at an even pace.
If you incorporate interval training into your walks, your body won't reach a plateau - the point at which your body has grown accustomed to the exercise and no longer burns as many calories. Intervals constantly challenge your body, which keep your calorie burning potential at its highest. It's also a great way to add variety and challenge to your walks.
To add intervals to your walks, you will need to add short bursts of greater intensity followed by short bursts of lighter activity, also known as the recovery period. During the recovery period, you should be able to regain your energy and your breathing should become easier so that you are ready for the next burst of intense activity. There are two ways to add intensity to your walking:
1. Walk faster or jog slowly.
2. Increase the incline - go up hills.
To keep it easy, make your intervals in increments of five minutes. For example, walk briskly for three minutes, then either walk faster or walk uphill for two minutes. Then walk briskly for four minutes, then increase your intensity for one minute. You can vary this to meet your needs.
You'll only need to add interval training to your walks two to three times a week to improve your weight loss success. Don't forget to warm up for five minutes and cool down for ten minutes to avoid injury and muscle strain.
By incorporating intervals, you'll burn more calories and spice up your walking. You'll see that walking to lose weight really is easy!
Melissa Ellefsen is passionate about fitness walking and teaches people all about fitness walking online. See her website for more great tips on how to use walking to lose weight and more.