Step Up Your Walking Workouts With These Power Tips
If you think the only way to lose weight is to spend hours in the gym every day, think again. Being physically active allows your body to burn more calories (both during exercise and at rest), while also protecting you against conditions like heart disease and diabetes. This includes walking, which experts agree can help you lose weight and even help burn some serious belly fat. A study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that walking reduced rates of chronic disease and had the largest impact on public health because it's so accessible. Still, you'll need to pay attention to your stride to actively lose weight. Here, Brian Ferrari, a certified personal trainer and master coach at Gold's Gym outside of Austin, TX, tells POPSUGAR how to maximize your walking workout and shed some pounds in the process.
Walk Every Day
"If you want to lose weight from walking, you will get the best results by doing it consistently throughout the week," Brian told POPSUGAR. Aim for 30 minutes a day if you can, and you'll be surprised at the mood-boosting benefits and overall energy that comes with it.
Switch Up Your Terrain
Walking on uneven ground, such as hills, sand, or grass, can spike many adults' heart rates above 75 percent of their maximum effort, Brian explained. This puts you into the moderate-intensity zone, that cardio sweet spot you should aim to hit for 150 minutes or more each week, according to the World Health Organization. If you're surrounded by flat streets, try this interval treadmill workout to create your own hills.
Incorporate Speed Intervals
Adding speed walking intervals to your walk will help raise your heart rate, according to Brian, which in turn will burn more calories. In fact, research published in the Journal of Obesity found that high-intensity intervals — such as an eight-second increase in speed, followed by a 12-second recovery, for a total of 20 minutes — resulted in significant abdominal fat loss.
Cross-Train While Walking
"Basic movements like high knees, arm raises, and lunges will change up the feel and effectiveness of a walking workout," says Ferrari. This week-long walking plan incorporates moves like lateral shuffles and high knees to get your heart pumping while toning your calves, quads, and hamstrings at the same time.
Walk Off a Craving
Before you cave into an unhealthy treat, Brian suggests lacing up your sneakers for a five-minute walk to see if you can kick the craving. Research published in PLOS One supports this; in previous studies, acute exercise helped people with an average weight resist the urge for chocolate, and a 15-minute walk did the same for an overweight person craving a sugary snack.