It is often said that walking is one of the best forms of exercise. You can do it almost anywhere, all you need is a decent pair of walking shoes, it’s free, and it requires no special skills. Almost anyone can start a walking program, and then gradually increase the length or difficulty of their walks as they get into shape.
Speaking of that, as you get fit and drop the pounds, you might begin to wonder how you can burn more calories on your walks. Walking feels a lot easier and more comfortable now, so it’s time to increase the difficulty (and your rewards).
Redesign your route. If you’ve been walking the same route for a few months now, it’s time to switch it up. You’ll prevent boredom, but more importantly, you can boost your calorie burn if your new route includes more hills. Hiking up just a few steep hills, or even walking on a moderate incline, adds difficulty and challenges your muscles to work harder.
Carry some weights. Strap on some wrist or ankle weights, or simply carry a couple of light dumbbells. Adding just one to three pounds to your weight can help you burn up to 15 percent more calories. You might even choose to perform some arm toning exercises while you walk, making the most of your time.
Some very fit walkers even wear a weighted vest. Only attempt this if you’re sure of your abilities, and you’re ready for a serious challenge! You can always take it off if you’re unpleasantly surprised by the difference it makes.
Add bursts of speed. Speed walking will increase your calorie burn, even if you can only handle short bursts for now. Eventually, you might even alternate one minute of jogging with five minutes of walking.
Switch to Nordic walking. A set of Nordic walking poles is an inexpensive, but very worthwhile investment in your fitness regimen. The action of using the poles can increase your calorie burn by up to 67 percent! Just make sure you research the proper form and action first, so that you’re performing this exercise correctly.
If you’re ready to increase the difficulty of your fitness routine, check in with us at your next appointment. We can offer tips to help keep you safe during exercise, and advise you on nutrition that supports your fitness or weight loss goals.