The first exercise that children learn (besides ear-piercing crying, which probably burns a lot of calories), is walking. While walking may seem like a rather pedestrian exercise for adults, it can be a great way to strengthen the heart, legs, and respiratory system. Best of all, it can be a great cheap yet effective addition to a weight loss regimen.
Experts say that the most important aspect of a walking program is distance and not time. It doesn’t matter how long it takes you to walk two miles, as long as you walk a full two miles. A person who weighs 160 pounds can burn off over 100 calories simply by walking two miles in an hour (a very slow pace). If you walk faster, you’ll burn off even more calories.
Still, it’s important to increase the strenuousness of your walking program as you continue. A good way to do this is by increasing your pace (you can try to finish a full mile in 13 minutes), or by carrying weights in your arms or backpack as you walk. This will help you improve your health and lose more weight at the same time.
You might wonder whether walking on a treadmill or outside is better exercise. Lots of peoples’ opinions differ, but the truth is that it’s completely up to you and your preferences. Walking outside can be refreshing; with nature, people, and a new environment every time, walking outside can really make you look forward to walking. On the other hand, some people find that the distractions don’t suit them. They would rather have the option to track their distance and speed with a treadmill. Neither option is better as long as it helps you look forward to walking.
While walking is less strenuous than running, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take all the necessary precautions of exercise. Make sure you stretch your legs before beginning. When you do begin, start by walking at a slower, more leisurely pace for the first five to ten minutes. This will ensure that your body is ready for the brisk pace that you’ll be setting during the bulk of the workout. Once you are ready, you should walk at that brisk pace for at least 30 minutes, possibly longer. Afterwards, leave time for five to ten minutes of cool-down walking as well. This will ensure that you get the most out of the time you spend walking.
One of the reasons that walking is a great exercise is that any healthy person can do it. It doesn’t require any training or equipment like other forms of exercise. However, that doesn’t mean that walkers can get relaxed about their exercise regimen. Unlike other forms of cardiovascular exercise that can be done two or three times per week with good results, walking needs to be done five or six days a week to see the best results.
The good news is that once you get in the habit of walking, it will be an easy habit to maintain. You can even make it part of your morning routine by deciding to walk after you wake up or walk to work. Walking in the morning will increase your metabolism which will make your weight goals that much more attainable. Once you start walking regularly, you’ll be amazed at how much better you look and feel after just a few weeks. One of the things that I like to do is to wake up early in the morning to take a brisk walk while breathing the cold but fresh morning air. Even without the health benefit, a morning walk can really be addictive for me.
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