October 11, 2015
By Guillermo Gutierrez
Have a robust weight loss goal? Consider walking, not running, toward your desired physique. The latest research shows that people who regularly walked for fitness—albeit at a fast pace—weighed less than those dedicated to other types of physical activity which includes running, swimming, and cycling. With equal parts commitment and the right diet, you can expect to shed a half-pound to 2 pounds per week with a new walking regimen. To get your new self up and walking, follow these tips.
Ultimately, you'll want to build up to 30 to 60 minutes of walking most days of the week. But start where you are—if you haven't worked out in a while, that could mean fitting in 10 minutes of motion each day. Each week, boost that daily total by 5 minutes. This slow, steady ramp-up gives your body a chance to adapt, reducing your risk of injury as you get fitter.
One of the great things about exercise in general but especially with walking is that it really can be cumulative during the day. If you feel overwhelmed by a 30- or 60-minute total, break it up into three 10-minute segments. You'll burn just as many calories and net the same health benefits with less stress on your schedule. At first, keep your pace comfortably challenging—you should be able to speak a few sentences, but not carry on a lengthy conversation without effort. Maintain a steady program and you'll build endurance—you'll notice that you can naturally walk faster with less effort. After a few weeks of steady striding, add in some speedier intervals—brief bursts of faster walking—to amp up your results.
Calm aches and pains.
With any new routine, a small amount of soreness comes with the territory—for instance, your calves might feel tight the day after you walk uphill. For minor muscle aches—the kinds of things that hurt a bit but feel better once you start moving—apply ice which doesn't leak and fits perfectly around spots like your knees, ankles, or lower back.
Take a day off if soreness alters your gait or limits your movements, or if your aches occur around your joints rather than just in your muscles, Mullen advises. Pain directly behind your kneecap, around your Achilles tendon, or in your ankles or hips could mean you're pushing harder than you should. If a few days of rest and icing don't resolve these issues, see a sports doc or physical therapist for advice.
To ward off aches and injuries before they begin, add in 2 days of strength training per week. As a bonus, this also turns up your burn—in a recent 12-week study, participants who combined cardio and weights shed more fat than those who did one type of exercise alone.
Sign Up Now!