Healthy weight loss is not just about looking good, but more importantly, it is about improving your overall well-being. The key to any weight loss effort is reduced amounts of calorie intake and increased amounts of calories burned off. And, this can be achieved through proper diet and exercise. With regard to exercise, you can take on activities such as swimming or cycling, or you can go to the gym. However, if there is one exercise that is both practical, sustainable, and effective, it would be walking.
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Walking regularly has a wide range of benefits besides helping you to lose weight of course. One of its benefits is that it helps reduce the risk of various health problems, including coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, and arthritis. It also reduces cholesterol and body fat. Furthermore, it has psychological and social benefits: it improves your mental well-being, and you get to meet people through walking clubs.
If you have been walking regularly, then you may want to make it more challenging. After all, the more intense the exercise, the more calories your burn off. And, this can translate to more effective weight loss. Here are some advanced walking techniques that you can use to bring your walking for weight loss efforts to the next level.
If you happen to live near hills, then take advantage of it to boost your weight loss efforts.
- develops control and stabilisation in your body and joints (downhill walking);
- promotes leg strength and endurance (uphill walking);
- develops maximum speed and power; and
- enhances the ability of the body to handle lactic acid.
To get you started with this, pick a hill or a section of a hill that will take you around one to two minutes to walk. Remember to warm up properly before starting your hill reps; brisk walking on a flat level and then stretching is a good way to warm up. At the end of your walk, cool down and stretch.
Interval training allows you to reduce your amount of training, yet you can still see improvements in your fitness levels and walking performance.
Here are the benefits of interval training:
- It burns fat quickly and boosts metabolism.
- It enhances maximum oxygen uptake and increases fitness levels.
- It is a more challenging and interesting way of training than walking at the same place for longer distances.
One interval training technique is walking slowly to one lamp post, quickly to the next, then slowly again, and so on. You can change the distance and speed to switch things up in your workouts.
By using a treadmill, you get to keep up with your walking schedule if you are not able to walk outside for some reason, or if you wish to mix things up a bit and use the gym.
Here are some of the advantages of treadmill walking:
- You have control over your walking sessions as it allows you to increase speed and incline at the press of a button
- Your focus will be on your walking alone
- You do not have to deal with other road users
- You get to accurately record your walking speed and time
- The treadmill will never be slippery or icy.
Start your treadmill walking session with a warm up; a five-minute slow to moderately paced walking should be enough. End the session with a five-minute cool down, and then do some stretching.
Here is a nice video on walking for weight loss
This is one way of adding challenge and interest to your walking sessions. But, of course, it is essential that you walk on a surface you feel comfortable on. When you walk on different surfaces, you get to improve your balance and stabilise and support muscles and tendons. In addition, it can develop your strength as it works slightly different muscles. As well as the physical benefits it brings, you also get to explore other places and take a breather from your usual route.
Walking is no doubt a healthy way to burn off calories and consequently lose weight. Your regular walking sessions can be brought to the new level by using some advanced walking techniques, though. They make your walking sessions more challenging and more interesting, allowing you to enjoy and benefit more from the sessions.