Have those HIIT and cycling classes tired you out? Well, look no further and go back to basics with walking! This may sound ridiculous, but walking is quite simply one of the best low-intensity workouts that will make a serious dent in your calorie burn count. In fact, walking can also drastically slash your stress levels, which is important in successfully shedding some pounds. However, in order to make walking an effective workout, here are some guidelines that you will need to follow:
Set a Step Goal
If you’re serious about losing weight then it is recommended to start aiming for 10,000 steps per day. As this becomes a comfortable number of steps to take per day, increase your step count from there. Unlike distance and speed goals where you’re more prone to injuries when progressed too quickly, increasing your steps is safer and can therefore be amped up more rapidly. The more steps you take, the more likely you are to burn calories. Shortening your stride to take more steps can also help you speed up the pace.
Walk Uphill a Few Times a Week
A perfect way to turn up your intensity on your walk is to try a staircase workout or set the incline on the treadmill at the gym. Walking uphill 2 to 3 times per week will help you build more muscle, which increases your metabolic rate. Don’t forget to change your technique as you’re climbing; take shorter steps and bend your knees more than you would normally in order to achieve the best results.
Exaggerate Your Arms
Did you know that exaggerating your arm swing while you walk has additional benefits? By doing so, it will not only help to speed your pace, it will also work your upper body and burn up to 10% more calories when compared to a normal arm swing. To perfect your arm-swing technique, bend your arms to 90 degrees and extend behind the body as far as you can comfortably and naturally. On the upswing, the hand should rise to the level of your chest.
Add Power-Walking Intervals to Your Routine
Research has suggested that varying your walking speed during workouts can help burn up to 20% more calories than maintaining a steady pace. To start increasing your calorie burn, add intervals into your walking workout. Include one 30-second burst every 5 minutes by pushing your body to walk at an uncomfortable, but still sustainable, pace. Recover with a slow 30-second recovery walk before you get back into your normal power-walking pace.
Add in Bodyweight Exercises When You Can
Strengthen your muscles and burn more calories by including strength training during your walk. During your walk, stop at a park to do 15 to 20 squats, perform incline pushups or triceps on a park bench. Instead of including strength exercises in between your walk, you can also start or end your workout with planks, wall-sits, or calf raises. In addition to squats and pushups, these are incredibly easy ways to increase your heart rate and build muscle.