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Walking is one of the best, and most convenient, forms of exercise you can do. If you’re following a weight loss plan, you’re probably relieved to know that you can burn calories simply by adding more walking into your day. On the other hand, it is possible that you’re making some of these common mistakes. And while any exercise is better than no exercise, fixing these small problems can help you increase your calorie burn and reap more reward from your workouts.
You’ve chosen a completely flat route. Climbing hill engages your large muscle groups, like thighs and glutes, and can bump up your calorie burn by about 30 percent. Try to design your walking route around a few hills. Walking up stairs, or on sand, can also add more resistance to your workout.
You’re not varying your speed. Did you know that you can burn up to 20 percent more calories simply by adding bursts of speed throughout your walk? Walking at a brisker pace, or even transitioning to a slow jog, can bump up your heart rate and therefore your calorie burn. Aim for two minutes of higher-intensity intervals, followed by five minutes at your regular pace. Repeat this pattern throughout your walk, and adjust times as you get more fit.
You’re not using your arms. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that engaging more muscle groups will lead to a greater overall calorie burn. Make sure to swing or pump your arms vigorously as you walk, or consider adding light hand weights to your regimen.
You’re only doing cardio. Even though walking is a terrific calorie-burning workout, adding strength training intervals will increase your burn between sessions. This is because building muscle will boost your resting metabolism. So, don’t rely solely upon walking as the fitness component of your weight loss plan. Remember to visit the gym a few times per week, or alternate body-weight exercises with walking.
Of course, exercise is only one part of your overall weight loss plan. Come see us to learn about a medically sound, balanced eating plan, and we’ll help you achieve your health goals.