Free, low impact and requiring little equipment, walking is a great way to lose weight. Here are six ways to get svelte, one step at a time…
Make it regular
Studies have shown a daily 30-minute walk is the best way to get slim outside of the gym – but the key to success is regularity. Researchers from Maastricht University found people who took part in long periods of gentle walking every day were slimmer than those who did intensive gym sessions. While most experts recommend walking 10,000 steps per day, to aid weight loss you need to aim for around 16,000.
Make it fast
Brisk walking has been proven to melt body fat so ensure you’re doing at least 100 steps per minute or three to four miles per hour. Walk with purpose (as if you’re late for an appointment) and make sure you get slightly out of breath. A study by the London School of Economics found people, particularly women over 50, who walked briskly had lower BMIs and smaller waists than those who visited the gym, while scientists at the University of Pittsburgh found overweight people who walked energetically every day for 30-60 minutes lost weight, even if they didn’t change any other lifestyle habits.
Improve your posture
Change your stepping stance to increase calorie burn and tone up Step right: Wearing flexible shoes, strike the ground with your heel, roll through the foot and push off with your toes. Walk tall: Keep your head and neck straight and look towards the horizon. Loosen your shoulders: Keep your shoulders soft and away from the ears. Relax your arms: Keep your elbows at 90 degrees and swing your arms in time with your stride. Suck in your stomach: Keep your core muscles engaged for an added abs workout and to aid stability. Keep your stride short: Don’t overstep the mark as this can cause injuries.
If your walking enthusiasm dwindles, boot boredom out the door by finding a walking buddy, a walking club or a walking event. Try creating a pacey playlist or wear a pedometer to track your progress. Knowing that walking will not only aid weight loss but also reduce your chances of premature death by one third should also be a kickstart! Regular walking can also boost brain and bone health, reduce diseases such as cancer and diabetes, and is a natural remedy for depression.
Turn your regular walking into a workout Up the ante: Add hills and stairs into your strolls to increase calorie burn by 50 percent. Change terrain: Walk on grass or gravel to make your muscles work harder. One study suggests walking on snow could burn twice as many calories as normal terrain. No excuses this winter! Go shopping: Add weight to your walk and you’ll also increase the burn. Avoid wrist and ankle weights which can alter posture and instead wear a backpack filled with weekly groceries. Go Nordic: Walking with poles can turn a stroll into a whole body workout; engaging your arms and shoulders can expend up to 50 percent more calories.
If you’re short on time try these nifty ways to add more steps into your schedule Take the stairs: At work, walk to another department rather than calling, emailing or taking the lift. Use the toilets on the floor above rather than on your own floor. Make appointments work harder: Arrive at appointments early so you can walk around the block, or pace the floor in waiting rooms. Take meetings on the move: Walk and talk while on conference calls with a headset, or take them outdoors. Try coffee break laps: Take an office walk while you wait for the kettle to boil. Shop ‘til you drop: Go up and down every aisle at the supermarket even if you don’t need to. Hide the remote: Leave the TV remote in another room, so you have to walk to change channel. March through chores: Walk on the spot when washing up, brushing teeth or drying your hair!