Walking is perhaps one of the easiest ways to lose weight. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, walking is the first choice exercise most fitness experts and doctors will tell you to start with. After all, it is something you do every day anyway to get from point A to point B. However, with better health in mind, you have to tweak things a bit when it comes to walking in order to get the best benefit from it.
Get a Pedometer
A pedometer is a handy little device that basically counts the steps you make each day. There have been various informal studies that show when you wear a pedometer all day you tend to take more steps. Old pedometers were bulky but there are plenty of streamlined versions out there that will even match your fitness wardrobe.
Wearing shoes constantly weakens the feet so if you do some walking and other exercises in your bare feet, not only will you burn some calories but your feet will be stronger too. When you walk without shoes, your foot arches and toes get a workout with the result being better balance and shock absorption. It will take a while to warm up into any barefoot workout for a length of time. Sand and grass are optimal surfaces in which to walk barefoot as they both provide some safety cushion. However, if you have diabetes or arthritis, talk with your doctor before extensively walking barefoot as injuries could be slow to heal.
Once walking has become routine and unlabored, you can add free weights to your walking workout to burn extra calories. Hold small dumbbells as your walk to tone your arms. Ankle weights help burn fat away from the legs and create a shapelier look.
Hiking Can Intensify a Walking Workout
Hiking can be a satisfying exercise because not only do you get to commune with nature but you are losing weight at the same time. Ease into hiking by taking easy trails until you feel confident and fit enough for some more challenging ones that may include steep hills and winding walkways. You can intensify your walk or hike by using walking poles. Resembling ski poles, these fitness devices are also called trekking poles. If you are on any challenging terrain, these poles help you keep your traction so you don’t slip or fall.
Introduce Interval Exercises While Walking
After a while, your body gets accustomed to walking so you have to change things up a bit to realize maximum calorie burning and therefore, weight loss. Introduce interval exercises during your walk. For instance, after warming up, you can walk at a steady pace for five minutes and then take a break and do arm push-ups against a tree or park bench. Walk another five minutes at a fast clip and then do chin-ups or sit-ups using playground equipment if available. Carry a jump rope with you and do some jump rope exercises to break up the walking monotony.
Walking is a great cardiovascular exercise that benefits the heart and it is a great introduction into the world of fitness. After a while though, the same old routine can wear you down. By spicing things up a bit, exercise will never become a boring old habit you “have” to do. Instead it will be something you want to do.