There are many ways to work out and stay fit but don’t disregard walking. Enjoy a pretty day with a friend around the neighborhood, in the park or even around the nearest high school track; just pick a reachable destination about three or four miles away and start walking. If the weather doesn’t allow you to get outdoors, an indoor treadmill works fine.
Did you know that walking about one mile at approximately a three-and-a-half to four miles per hour pace burns nearly as many calories as running a mile with similar health benefits? Slow walking has some benefit as well, as seen in a Harvard study of almost 40,000 female health professionals. The study found that walking as little as an hour a week reduces the risk of coronary artery disease.
To make the most out of your walking workouts, walk briskly for at least 30 minutes every day. For someone weighing approximately 150 pounds, walking three to four miles burns about 300 calories an hour. Therefore, by walking for 30 minutes every day, you could burn over 1,000 calories a week (studies show that burning 1,000 to 2,000 calories a week in exercise helps protect against heart disease). So try to walk as much as possible.
When you walk, pay attention to your stride – try taking faster steps instead of longer ones, to help prevent any injuries and also raise your heart rate.
Think about getting a pedometer. Try to aim for around 3,000 and work up to 5,000 or more. If you can, leave the car at home for shorter trips and walk at work as much as possible, taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Let us not forget to give your upper body a workout too. While you walk,
get those arms moving; bend them at the elbows and pump them from the shoulders. Move your arms in opposition to your legs, swinging your right arm forward as you step forward with your left leg. Keeping your hands unclenched and elbows close to your sides. The vigorous arm pumping allows for a quicker pace and provides a good workout for your upper body helping you burn more calories. To further enhance your upper body workout, you can purchase trekking poles and use them as you would when cross-country skiing. When you step forward with the left foot, the right arm with the pole comes forward and is planted on the ground; this works the muscles of your chest and arms as well as some abdominal muscles, while reducing the stress on your knees.
Vary your pace to make it interesting; speed up for a minute or two every five minutes or alternate one fast interval with two slower ones. Also try walking on grass as opposed to a smoother surface – you can burn more calories this way. Another great way to increase the intensity of your walking workout is with the use of hand weights. Start with light weight, around one pound to start, and increase the weight gradually as your fitness level improves. Walking backwards will definitely increase the intensity of your workout but be careful to choose a smooth surface in an area free from obstacles. If possible, walk with someone who can guide you.
Walking backwards is more demanding than walking forwards, so start slowly and work your way up.
Finally choose a good quality, flexible sole shoe. A good walking shoe is designed to be comfortable and help prevent side-to-side motion. So the next time you’re looking for a good way to get some exercise, put on a comfortable pair of shoes, recruit the
company of a good friend, pick your destination and start walking.