Walking has numerous physical and mental benefits. It reduces stress, controls blood sugar levels, boosts the immune system, burns fat and much more.
In fact, you can lose excess body fat and get in shape through walking alone. Unfortunately, most people walk every day to lose fat but never see the results they expect.
And I know why this happens Ė folks follow the same workout routine over and over. This study shows that when we repeat an exercise for a long time, the body adapts to it and starts burning fewer calories than before.
In this article, I will show you various tweaks you can add to your walking routine to make it fun and more effective.
Wear a backpack
Wearing a backpack will help burn more calories and improve your cardiovascular health. Just fill a backpack with books to make it heavier and youíre good to go. If you have a weighted vest, use it instead of the backpack.
Start with light weight, then add more weight when the workouts become less challenging. Using heavy weights when youíre out of shape can cause injury.
Lastly, donít wear backpacks heavier than 20 percent of your weight when walking. And donít wear weights on your ankles because theyíre known to cause injuries.
Research shows that walking uphill engages the upper body more and burns more calories. So find a hilly terrain in your neighborhood and use it every time you walk.
Donít worry if there are no hills where you live. Walking on the sand or on the stairs burns more calories than walking on flat ground.
If you have back problems itís advisable to use a pole when walking up a hill.
Walking at a moderate pace is a great way to unwind. But if your goal is to burn more calories, you need to walk at a fast pace.
Use a heart rate monitor to help you maintain a fast pace throughout. Aim to maintain 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. Keep on increasing your pace as you get fitter.
Increase arm movement
Swinging arms while walking will activate the upper body muscles and burn more calories.
Swing the arms upward until chest level then swing them backwards past the hips.
You can incorporate the same approach used in HIIT (high intensity interval training) in walking. Walk at high intensity for 30 seconds then walk moderately for the next 30 seconds and repeat.
Or use distance to determine your intervals. Walk at high intensity for 50 meters then walk steadily for the next 50 meters and repeat.
Count your steps
Use a pedometer to know the number of steps you take in a day. Research shows that the average person can burn up to 500 calories by waking 10,000 steps a day.
Now, donít try to walk 10,000 steps the first time. Start with a target of 5,000 steps then work your way up to 10,000 steps.
Find a walking buddy
Numerous studies show that people with workout partners lose more weight than those who train alone. A partner will make you walk even when you donít want to. And he/she will encourage you to push yourself.
If you canít find a walking partner Ė walking a dog can also work.
Frankly, there are numerous ways of getting in shape. But they only work if you stay consistent and keep progressing. So walk every day and make your walks challengingóand, of course, fun.