You might assume that walking is the simplest part of your exercise regimen. After all, you’ve been walking all your life! And yes, it’s true that you don’t need any special equipment (other than a good pair of shoes) and you can walk just about anywhere. But that doesn’t mean that people don’t sometimes make mistakes with this part of their workout program.
Review your routine to make sure you’re not committing these blunders. They’re minor, but correcting them will mean better results and an increased calorie burn.
You take the same route every day. Not only will this bore you over time, but your body will actually adapt to your regular route. That means over time it will feel less challenging, and you won’t burn as many calories. Switch it up by walking at the beach, going for a hike, or simply reversing your route through your own neighborhood. Include some hills, if you can.
You walk at the same pace the entire time. Sure, any exercise is better than none. But if you keep the same pace for the duration of your walk, you miss the opportunity to increase endurance and boost your calorie burn. Try adding bursts of speed to bump up your heart rate. If you’re already walking at a fast clip the entire time, you could actually start jogging for intervals.
You’re using weight incorrectly. Using ankle or wrist weights can help to boost your calorie burn and help with toning. But adding weights that are too heavy can alter your stride and increase stress on your lower back, hips, and knees. If you feel as though your form is impaired, your weights are too heavy.
You’re wearing the wrong shoes. If your feet hurt, it’s probably time for a better pair of walking shoes. A proper fitting at a sporting goods store will help you find a pair with the proper support for your walking routine.
You’re sedentary the rest of the time. It’s great if you’re getting out to walk for 30 minutes or so each day. But be careful that you don’t fall into the trap of considering yourself “done” with your exercise regimen after that. Ideally we should get up and move around a little bit throughout the day. Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and stretch, walk around the house, go check the mail, fold some laundry, or some other task that gets you moving at least once per hour.
As always, remember that you can call us if you have questions about your exercise regimen. We can help you design a program, along with nutritional recommendations, that help you reach your fitness or weight loss goals.