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Correct Intensity for Walking to Lose Weight
Exercise intensity is how hard you are working while you work out. The higher the intensity, the more calories you burn. The belief that exercising at a low intensity burns more fat and thus helps you lose weight faster is a myth. You actually burn fewer calories from fat and fewer calories overall walking at a low intensity, according to U.S. News & World Report.
To ensure that every step you take brings helps you walk off weight, walk at an intensity level of 12 to 15 on the Borg Perceived Exertion scale. The Borg scale rates intensity from 0 to 20. A 0 on the scale is like napping whereas a 20 is like sprinting uphill. An intensity of 12 to 15 should feel like you are working hard, but not so much that you cannot say a full sentence before needing to take a breath. You can also think of this as exercising at a level 65 to 80 percent of running full out.
How Often to Exercise When Walking for Weight Loss
Ideally you should walk at least three days a week if you are walking to lose weight, but if you are not already following a consistent weight loss program then you need to start slow. Between one and two short walks is a reasonable place to start to lose weight without overdoing it. Increase your walking time or distance gradually by following the 10 percent rule, recommends MyLifetime. For example, if you walked 10 minutes last week, then you should walk 11 minutes this week. If you walked one mile last week, walk 1.1 miles this week. By adding only 10 percent, you ease yourself into longer walks without risking strain and injury. Then, add one workout every week or every other week. Work up to 30 to 60 minutes of walking most days of the week for an ideal walking for weight loss program.
Tips to Increase Calories Burned When Walking to Lose Weight
According to MyLifetime, you should burn 300 to 500 calories per workout when walking for weight loss. Since there are 3,500 calories in a pound of fat, burning 500 calories a day seven days a week results in the loss of one pound per week when walking to lose weight. Although one pound a week is a healthy goal, you want to do everything you can to burn a significant number of calories during each workout. Follow these 4 tips to burn the more calories without adding time:
1. Instead of swinging your arms in the opposite direction of your legs, sync your arm and leg movements. When your right foot steps forward, swing your right arm forward and your left arm back. The coordination might be difficult at first, but walking this way increases the number of calories burned by 26 percent, according to Fitness magazine.
2. Walking on an incline burns more calories. The easiest way to take advantage of this is to use a treadmill. Set the incline to five percent, which increases your calories burned by 64 percent, according to Fitness.
3. Including high-intensity intervals into your walking for weight loss session is another way to burn extra calories. You might not be able to walk uphill or speed walk for your entire workout, but you can add intervals by walking on a route with hills. Another idea to walk off weight is to go quickly for one minute and then walk normally for one minute. The time you spend walking at the slower speed lets you recover for the next fast-paced interval. Raising the incline on a treadmill without slowing down achieves the same effect. Intervals dramatically increase the number of calories burned, according to RealAge. For the greatest burn and most benefits, try Tabata workouts. These workouts are only four minutes long, but are more effective than longer workouts.
4. Instead of walking on pavement or a treadmill, try hiking on trails. The uneven surface of the ground causes your stabilizer muscles and core to work harder to keep you upright and moving. This challenge to your balance burns up to 84 percent more calories, according to Fitness.
Following these guidelines helps you walk off weight, but cutting calories too gets you to your weight loss goal faster. According to the Mayo Clinic, reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories each day creates a deficit of 3,500 calories per week, which is enough to lose one pound. Burning 500 calories per day walking and eating 500 fewer calories puts you on track to lose two pounds per week, which is the most you should try to lose when walking for weight loss, or using any type of exercise to lose weight.
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