Today, Sunday, November 17, is Take a Hike Day! Who knew there was a full day devoted to getting the message out about the benefits of getting outside and immersing yourself in nature.
Those of you that have followed me know that hiking has played a big part in my life. I shared that journey in I Climbed a Mountain and Found Myself. Hiking healed me. Well today, I still get out to hike, but more often I take an evening walk. Walking is something I do to help manage my weight.
The best thing about walking – is you can do it just about anywhere!
Walking for Weight Loss Made Easy
Walking offers many health benefits, including easy opportunities for weight loss. In fact, walking is one of the few activities where you can double your impact because you can use it as formal exercise, as well as incorporating more steps into your daily routine.
Although you’ve probably been walking since you were a child, there may also be some new techniques you can pick up that will help you burn even more calories. Take a look at these ideas for walking your way to a slimmer you.
Walking Workouts for Weight Loss:
- Speed it up. Depending on your weight, you can burn about 65 to 100 calories for each mile you walk. If you move faster, you’ll burn more calories covering the same distance.
- Vary the pace. Studies also show that interval training is an effective way to burn more calories. Alternate between periods of walking briskly and strolling at a more moderate pace.
- Check your posture. To move efficiently and avoid injuries, ensure you’re using proper form. It’s usually safer to take more steps rather than trying to lengthen your stride. Check that your heels hit the ground first, and use your toes to push you forward. Engage your core muscles to take pressure off your back.
- Use your arms. Swinging your arms will also increase the intensity. If you want to add props, try walking poles or hand weights.
- Go backwards. For an extra challenge try walking backwards in a safe area. Climbing up hills is another constructive option.
- Hit the beach. Just changing surface can power up your workout. Traveling across sand or snow requires more energy than walking on smooth pavement.
- Listen to music. Playing your favorite tunes can make any workout seem like less effort. Put together a lively soundtrack that will motivate you to keep going. I’ve shared my play list at 12 Songs to Keep You Running
- Dress comfortably. You can buy shoes designed specifically for walking or just choose any pair with low heels and firm support. Dressing in protective layers will also help you deal with cold or wet weather.
- Find a buddy. Walking with others can be fun. Invite family and friends along or join a local hiking group. If you have a dog, you have a companion who would love to join you at the park.
- Talk with your doctor. Even though walking is a generally safe and low-impact activity, you may want to check with your doctor if you’ve been sedentary for a while. Your physician can help you set goals that are realistic for you.
Incidental Walking for Weight Loss:
- Take the stairs. Skip the elevator and escalators. Climbing up stairs burns almost 2 calories for each 10 steps.
- Park further away. Walk or bike to work if possible. If the distance is too far or there’s no safe route, you can still choose a parking space that will enable you to squeeze in a brief hike before arriving at the office.
- Schedule work breaks. Pause every half hour to stretch and move around. You could also make it a habit to use the restrooms and copy machines on the next floor instead of the ones by your desk.
- Stand and chat. Think about how many minutes you spend talking on the phone each day. You can easily spend a lot more time on your feet if you pace around while you’re checking on your children or reaching out to clients.
Walking is so simple, but does so much for your health and fitness. In addition to burning more calories, you strengthen your muscles and condition your heart with each extra step you take. Make walking a regular part of your workout program and daily routines.