People often wonder, “Is walking good for weight loss?” The answer is that walking can definitely be an effective exercise for losing weight, but only when you do it right. Power walking, also called speed walking or fitness walking, is basically just walking at a fast pace, typically 4-5 miles per hour or faster. Sustaining this level of intensity requires real effort and concentration, but it is the key to boosting your metabolism enough to promote significant fat loss.
4 Aspects Of A Successful Weight Loss Plan There are four elements to a successful walking plan for losing weight, and giving adequate attention to each of them is necessary for weight loss success. They are intensity, speed, distance, and frequency.
1. Intensity When you’re trying to lose weight fast, short and intense workouts are the way to go. Hills, sand, and stairs are all excellent options for an intense walking workout. Hiking is a great choice, too. Hand weights and ankle weights, however, are not recommended for boosting intensity, as using them may cause you to make slight alterations to your walking form and biomechanics, eventually leading to overuse injuries.
2. Speed If your exercise plan consists of going out every other day for a long, peaceful stroll, then you’re probably not losing a lot of weight. Everything counts, so if that’s all you can do, or if that’s all you want to do, then do it. It helps. But if your goal is to lose weight quickly, then you’re going to have to pick up the pace and make every step count. Keep your elbows bent at about 90 degrees (yeah, it actually does help you go faster). As you increase your speed, your metabolism gets a boost and burns more calories – both during and after your workout – so you lose more weight. This one change could literally double your weight loss results.
3. Distance If you’re walking at a fast pace and including hills, sand, or stairs in your workouts, then your distances may need to be shorter than those long, leisurely strolls. Four to five miles is the farthest you’ll ever need to go, and most of your walks can be much shorter distances than that. Long, frequent walks invite injuries like plantar fasciitis and heel spurs, so keep it short.
4. Frequency Take a day off after every 2nd or 3rd workout, or any time you feel sick or injured. Walking every single day, especially if you are overweight, can often lead to overuse injuries (as mentioned above). Sample Power Walking Workout Schedule For Weight Loss
- Monday: Off
- Tuesday: Speed – Walk at a fast pace for three miles along a flat and level route.
- Wednesday: Hills – Drive to a hilly location and walk quickly for two miles.
- Thursday: Stairs – Head to the local high school and walk up and down the bleachers for 20 minutes.
- Friday: Off
- Saturday: Go to a nearby beach and walk along the shore for 1-2 miles. Walking through the snow in the winter could provide a similar workout.
- Sunday: Go for a 5 mile hike in the mountains.
It goes without saying that hydration is important, so bring a water bottle with you (especially when you go out for a hike). Be sure to do a few light stretches after each workout. And when your walking/running shoes wear out, don’t cheap out…replace them! Your feet, knees, and back will thank you. If weather is threatening to shut you down, go to the gym and do your workouts on the treadmill and stair climber. Intensity is king! You should be breathing hard and sweating throughout most of your workout. If you can whip out your cellphone and carry on a conversation, then you’re not pushing hard enough to burn much fat. Walk faster and include hills, sand, and stairs in your walking workouts. Always be mindful of your workout pace, and watch those pounds drop off week after week.