Routine is great for keeping us on track toward our goals, but it’s also one of the reasons we often hit a fitness or weight loss plateau. If you find that your daily walk doesn’t feel challenging anymore, or if your weight loss progress has stagnated, it could be that you just need to tweak your workout so that you burn more calories. Try the following tips to make your daily walk just a bit more challenging – and rewarding!
1. Choose a new route. Your body grows accustomed to performing the same exercise, at the same level of intensity, every single day. Mix it up by choosing a new route for your walk. If you can find a hilly neighborhood, you will notice an immediate difference. Or, try walking barefoot in the sand at the beach. Hiking trails are a bit more challenging than walking on pavement, so that’s yet another way to mix it up.
2. Pick up the pace. As you have progressed toward your fitness or weight loss goals, your body has become stronger. That’s a good thing, but the downside is that you have to challenge yourself a bit more in order to reap the same benefits from your workout. Put on some fast music and pick up the pace a bit, or alternate walking with bursts of jogging. Jogging even just a block at a time will increase your heart rate and help you burn more calories.
3. Add resistance. Moving a heavier body requires more energy, and burns more calories. That’s why you burn more calories during exercise if you’re heavier! Now that you’ve lost some weight, you can continue to challenge yourself by artificially adding weight to your body. Try a weighted vest, ankle weights, or pushing a baby in a stroller. Or, if you don’t have children and don’t mind a few strange looks, push a weighted stroller up hills. It might look silly, but you will be amazed at the difference in your calorie burn!
4. Add a few minutes to your routine. If you can, add just ten minutes to your daily walk (or longer, if you can manage a schedule change). The longer you exercise, the more energy you burn – especially if you combine this trick with one of the others listed above.
As always, consult your a weight loss physician before starting a new exercise routine, to make sure your plans are safe for your level of fitness and health. For more advice on weight loss, call our office to schedule an appointment.