Walking; What is it good for?

Does walking count as “real” exercise? To most of us who love higher intensity workouts, it may seem a bit wimpy. How does it compare to workouts that blasts fat in record time?

Not all walks are equal, obviously, but when you’re trying to lose weight and boost your cardio health, power walking may help you lose that weight for sure.

Walking for fitness is easy. First of all, it’s affordable. It’s also safe and easy to do and perfect for any level looking to take it up a notch or just gradually ramp up exercise intensity and frequency.

Do you walk regularly?

I know since I’ve been on my challenge of 45 minute fat burning walks this month, I have been feeling so much more energetic and excited about my fitness. There are days that a higher intensity workout feels draining to jump into; but with a simple and brisk walk outdoors, I rev my energy up to either pushing up steeper hills or challenging my pace per mile to end on a high like I hadn’t imagined with just walking.

anatomy-of-walking

To maximize your results and avoid any aches and pains, pay careful attention to your form. Once you’ve made a habit of maintaining good posture and brisk strides, you’ll transform your body into a much more efficient walking machine — and you’ll burn even more calories!

Posture Tips for Walking Harder, Faster, and Farther

– Lower your chin parallel to the ground; don’t jut your head forward.
– Consciously draw your navel in toward your spine, and keep your back straight. (Think “tall” but not stiff.)
– Lift your chest and comfortably draw your shoulders down your back.
– As your propel yourself forward with each step, it may feel natural to lean slightly forward. Lean from your ankles, not your hips.
– Keep your elbows bent 90 degrees and don’t swing your arms too high or cross them in front of you.
– If you want to increase your walking speed, take smaller steps instead of wider ones.
– Most people automatically rotate their hips a little as they walk. If you don’t do this naturally, try to develop the habit to reduce the impact on your joints.
– Land on your heels with the front of your feet raised, rolling into the next step. When you land flat-footed, you create undue stress to your knees, ankles and feet.
– Finally, pay attention to how your walking shoes feel. Walking shoes wear out from the inside, so it’s not always easy to tell when you need a new pair.

And lastly, I’ve actually made my own game of walking and it is so much fun to push yourself this way (think of the Pokemon app and how it got people walking around in search of the next Pokemon!)

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To lose weight with walking and cross-training, pedometers and mobile apps can make walking more like a game. Since it might take a month or so for you to notice a difference in your weight, these apps can help you stick with it. For more inspiration, try these:

Does the thought of winning money motivate you? Pact is an app developed to monetize health improvement. Just sign up and tell the app your goals. You won’t get rich, but you can earn a dollar here and there.

Walk for charity! The Charity Miles app has paid out more than a half-million dollars to various organizations. It works for other activities too!

If you’re like a lot of people, music plays a key role in your fitness regimen. Use it to stay excited about your daily walk. Crank up the speed (and beats-per-minute of the music), and the pounds will fall off more quickly. Or try Spotify, which will create an instant playlist for you based on your music preferences and walking speed.

If music isn’t your thing, consider podcasts, audiobooks, or a walking mediation to keep you motivated to return to your walking workouts often. I use “Map My Walk” and focus on the minutes walked per mile and love mapping my routes every time I step outdoors.

Are you up to the walking challenge?

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