Power Walking

Walking is a relaxing and invigorating way to get outdoors and exercise.  But in order to achieve significant weight loss by walking, you have to walk, and walk, and walk some more.  To lose those pounds, you need to walk 30-60 minutes, five or six days a week.  Most people don’t have that kind of time.  So if you enjoy walking, incorporate these six ideas to maximize your walking time and burn more fat:

Pump up the speed.  Start the first few minutes at a comfortable pace.  Then step it up, like how fast you would walk if you were 15 minutes late for an appointment.  Step it up again and walk as fast as you can.  When you can’t sustain that speed any longer, drop it down to a slower pace, and then ramp back up again.

Practice good posture.  Stand up straight with your eyes forward, not looking down.  Keep your chin up to reduce strain on your neck and back.  Suck in your stomach with your shoulders slightly back.  Bend your arms at the elbow 90 degrees.  Keep your elbows close to your body (not out like wings) and pump your arms up and down as you walk.  You don’t have to pump your arms high in the air; this doesn’t do much for you except attract attention.

Add circuit training.  Walk for 5 minutes and then do 1 minute of something different: jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, sit-ups, or tricep dips on a park bench.  There are lots of possibilities!  If you feel self conscious about doing these things in public, then run for 1 minute.  After your 1 minute push, return to walking for 5 minutes, then push again for 1 minute.

Make it a race.   Walk a particular route and time yourself.  Next time you do the same walk, try to beat your time by 30 seconds.  Keep doing this until you shave minutes off your original time.  When you reach a certain goal, reward yourself with a new workout shirt, movie, or manicure.

Do your route backwards.  Sometimes you just need a fresh perspective for some inspiration.  Walk the opposite direction than you normally do and take in the different scenery.  You’ll also hit the hills at different times if the terrain is sloped.

Choose a challenging trail.  Don’t just pick a straightaway for your routine walks.  Pick something that slopes up and down.  If you can get to an unpaved trail, even better.  When you’re forced to climb, you’ll get that heart rate up faster and burn more fat.  And if you’re wearing baby in a backpack or front carrier, you’ll really burn more calories.

Arlene Pellicane