A versatile form of exercise that can be done indoors or outdoors, walking is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to stay physically fit. Just by tailoring the intensity of your exercise based on your individual abilities and goals, this activity will melt away the pounds, tone your flabby bits and leave you on an emotional high. It is a refreshing alternative to complicated aerobic routines and overpriced gym memberships. Low impact and adaptable, walking is suitable for any age, size and fitness level and fits easily into every lifestyle. All you need to do is correct your technique, walk faster and for longer and you will lose weight.

Walking offers a whole host of preventive and curative health benefits for your body and mind. It can help lift depression, prevent heart disease and sleep problems, reduce high blood pressure and even cut cigarette cravings in those trying to quit smoking. Not only does walking do wonders for your body shape, it can also help you look younger.

Walking at a good brisk pace stimulates your circulation, helping nourish your skin cells with oxygen and nutrients and carrying away waste products, cleansing your skin from within. By the end of each walk you’ll have a vibrant healthy glow.

Other benefits are:

  • Stimulates the brain and lowers the risk of dementia in seniors
  • Slows down the rate of bone loss
  • Reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Helps ease stress and reduces depression
  • Improves self-esteem
  • Stress Reliever: It brings relaxation of your mind, thus will you to fight against stress. It relieves you of constipation and also prevents it.
  • Reduces Cancer Risk: Walking can protect you from colon cancer and osteoporosis. Various research studies have shown that due to walking, carcinogenic foods don’t come in contact with intestine thereby reducing the risk of cancer.
  • Fights against Depression: It maintains your fitness and increases your life span by reducing the problems arising out of depression and hence your mental peace is ensured. Walking keeps you energetic and happy throughout the day.
  • No Side Effects: Brisk walking burns almost equivalent calories as jogging and or running burns, for the same distance. Brisk walking is less prone to injuries. It is also at par with any aerobic activity. It does not have any side effects. It does not make you exhausted.

 

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There are 3 types of walking.

  • Strolling – A person walks in a natural and relaxed way with arms swinging and shoulders down.
  • Brisk Walking or Paced Walking – A person begins to sweat and breathes heavily while walking in faster steps.
  • Power Walking – A person walks with weights in hands or strapped on waist and ankles.

Walking, like any other aerobic activity, burns calories and will contribute to weight loss. Of course, to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume no matter how much you exercise, so make sure to reduce your calories if you want to lose weight, even if you’re walking a lot.

A good average walking speed is 3 to 4 miles per hour (mph) and depends on your leg length and how quickly you can move your legs. You may need to start at a slower pace if you’re out of shape, but you will build up quickly if you walk regularly. Treadmill and outdoor walking yield the same benefits. Set the elevation to 1% to mimic outdoor walking.

Exercise is much more important for maintaining weight than it is for losing it. In fact, scientists believe it’s the single best predictor of maintaining weight. Research over the past two decades clearly shows that individuals who exercise after weight loss are far more likely to maintain their weight than individuals who don’t exercise.

By mastering the right way and some patience, walking off the extra weight is a piece of cake really. Here’s how to transform your everyday stroll into a fat-blasting, muscle-toning stride.

  1. Roll heel, ball, toe
    Tell most women to pick up the pace, and they will immediately lengthen their strides. But long strides are actually less efficient and more tiring than quick heel-ball-toe steps. To perform the proper quick-step stride, concentrate on landing on your heels, rolling through your instep, then propelling yourself with a push off your toes. You’ll be surprised at how fast these little steps can be.
    Hold your head high. While it’s important to watch where you’re going, you don’t want your head to hang down toward your feet. Raise your chin up and look about 10 feet ahead of you. This will give you plenty of peripheral vision to see the sidewalk below yet still keep your neck and head in picture-perfect posture.
  2. Swing your fists
    Instead of letting your arms hang down loosely by your sides, bend your elbows 90 degrees, close your hands in relaxed fists, and swing them in an arc from your waist to your chest, keeping them close to your body. By swinging your arms, you’ll walk faster, burn more calories and build upper-body strength.
  3. Zip up
    For a stronger stride, suck your abdominal muscles in and up like you’re zipping a snug pair of jeans. Contracting your abs not only helps tone your tummy, but also supports your spine so that you maintain proper posture while you walk.
  4. Tighten your butt
    Your glute muscles are the engine that puts power in your stride. Make these muscles work even better by keeping them active as you exercise. Hold your butt muscles taut and contracted as you walk by pretending to squeeze a dollar bill between them (it’s silly, but it works) as you walk. As a bonus, your glutes will get firmer faster.
  5. Pretend you’re late
    If you’re still not sure how fast you should be walking, here’s a quick, measurement-free way to remember. Pick up your pace to the point where you’re just about ready to break into a jog. That’s about where you want to hover for most of your walk. Your pace should feel as it would if you were running late for an important appointment.
  6. Add intervals
    If you can’t quite sustain the speedy pace you’d like, add intervals to your workouts; it’s the fastest way to get quicker and fitter. Although the term sounds intimidating, “interval training” means nothing more than adding quick bursts of speed to your workout. Do this on just 2 nonconsecutive days a week (walk at your usual pace on the other days) and you’ll burn mega-calories as well as increase your walking speed.

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Lastly, some handy tips to start off your walking routine. Happy walking!!

  • Walk in the morning or late afternoon and avoid the hottest hours.
  • Always drink water before and after walking.
  • Wear the right shoes and proper clothing.
  • Have a goal and be motivated.