Walking for Weight Control
To lose weight and to keep it off, you need to get moving. One of the best and easiest ways to do this is walking.
Walking at a moderate pace (50-70% of your maximum heart rate) for 30-60 minutes burns stored fat and can build muscle to speed up your metabolism. Walking an hour a day is also associated with cutting your risk of heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes and stroke. Here are some tips to get you going:
- Concentrate on building distance/time before you build speed, and walk five or six days a week. You’ll build your leg strength in the process.
- For those who have been walking for months or years, learn to racewalk. At speeds over a 13-minute mile rate, you burn more calories per mile as you use more muscle groups, as well as build muscle.
- For those who are not interested in racewalking, consider adding some strength training to your weekly exercise schedule.
- Use walking poles such as Nordic Walker, Exerstrider sticks or Leki poles if you cannot walk fast and want to burn more calories per mile.
- Carrying extra weight is not recommended because it can lead to injury. But if you do, you should add no more than 10 pounds and wear it in a backpack or at your hips so your body can remain balanced and your posture is not thrown off. 30-60 minutes at 50-70% of your maximum heart rate is recommended.
- If your schedule doesn't permit 30-60 minutes of walking at a time, break it up into walking twice or three times a day for shorter periods. Always warm up for 5 minutes at an easy pace no matter what duration you walk.
- For weight loss, walk most days of the week. Try to walk in the morning when two-thirds of the calories burned come from stored fat, which contains more calories than carbohydrates, the main energy source in afternoon workouts.
- On your non-walking days, try some strength training exercises.