Walking has always been my favorite form of exercise — it's free, it's easy, and it can be done anywhere, anytime! Adding more steps to your day not only burns calories and helps blast away fat, but it also keeps your heart and muscles working efficiently.
You'll feel more energized, reduce stress, and even help ward off depression. With all those benefits, walking truly is a win-win-win for your body!
Above all, though, walking is amazing for helping you get to and maintain a healthy weight. That’s why when people ask me how to get started on a weight loss plan, one of the first things I tell them is to lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement. It’s important to begin slowly (even a trip around the block is a start!) and increase your workouts gradually, working your way up to at least 30 minutes a day, four times a week. That may sound like a lot, but you can do it, I promise!
Here are more ways to blast away fat with a walking workout:
Track Your Progress
Since studies show that people walk more (and burn more fat!) when they count their steps, I highly recommend investing in a pedometer and keeping it with you every day. To start, wear it on a typical day to see how many steps you’re averaging. From there, begin to set weekly goals for yourself and steadily increase your daily step count. It’ll be fun to challenge yourself to add more steps — and you’ll see and feel a real difference in your body in no time at all.
Find the Best Time
The best time to exercise is whatever time suits your schedule. Research has found that morning tends to work best for women who have family commitments around dinnertime; personally, I like to work out when I first wake up so that it’s out of the way early. But physiologically, it doesn’t matter when you squeeze in your walking workout — as long as you do!
Work in Intervals
By varying the frequency, intensity and speed of your walks, you’ll fire up different muscles, create muscle confusion, and keep your metabolism working at its optimal level. It’s simply the fastest way to torch those calories and shed pounds! Add short bursts of intense walking into your daily walks, followed by recovery, then another intense burst, and so on — you can burn more than double what you’d burn walking at a steady pace.
Make a Playlist
Creating a special “walking” playlist with all your favorite, pump-you-up songs is a great way to stay motivated. Plus, the songs you select can actually help guide your workout! Select songs of varying tempo and organize your playlist so that the songs alternate between very upbeat melodies and slightly slower-paced ones. Then, adjust your walking speed along with the music — and rock out to your favorite tunes as you feel the burn!
Squeeze It In
Adding short walks throughout your day is another good way to fat-blast, tone, and tighten. Walk around the block during your lunch break, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further from the store, and get off the train or bus one stop early and walk the remainder of the way — it may not seem like a lot, but these little bursts of activity can add up to hundreds of calories incinerated by the end of the day!
Make a Date
It’s sometimes easy to skip workout plans as our schedules fill up. But if you have plans with a friend, do you blow them off? Of course not! So instead of arranging to meet at the movies or a restaurant, make plans to meet your girlfriends for a walk around a local park, your neighborhood or even the mall. You’ll be guaranteed to get your body moving when you have the time scheduled on your calendar — and loved ones counting on you to show up. Plus, if your friends are anything like mine, the walk will fly by – and you’ll shed and shred the pounds — as you all chat and catch up!
Remember, as with anything, the first “step” is always the hardest. Once you get started and begin to see and feel the results of a fat-burning walking plan, you’ll want to keep going. Soon you’ll get that trim, toned, and tightened body you’ve always wanted, while you walk your way to a happy, healthy you!