Increase Your Metabolism — Lose More Weight
Walking is one of the best exercises there are. The health benefits are many and are well researched and documented.
Here are just a few benefits.
- Walking is low intensity.
- Any weather.
- Almost anywhere.
- Outdoors and Indoors.
- Alone or in Groups.
- Easy on your joints.
- Predominantly uses fat for fuel.
- Helps alleviate or prevent depression.
If you are a couch potato and just waking up to the fact that you need to do something, walking at a normal pace can help you lose weight. Even 20 minutes a day can make a difference.
An hour or so a day can produce miracles.
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BUT if you really want to lose some pounds, the reality is that you have to ramp up your walking routine.
Here are four ways to get MORE out of each walk:
Simply increasing your speed will make a huge difference. There are several ways to go about this. The first is to gradually increase your speed over the full length of your walk. If it takes you 25 minutes to walk a mile, over the period of a week or two, decrease your walking time by 3 to 5 minutes. Aim for an 20 minute mile, which is 3 mph. Keep it gradual. When you get to 20 minutes a mile, keep that pace going for a week or two and then make your next goal a 15 minute mile. Going from 20 minutes to 15 minutes is actually a big deal, so look at two to three months to get there.
Average walking speed 25 – 30 minutes per mile (under 3 mph)
Brisk walking speed 20 minutes per mile (3 mph)
Fast walking speed 15 minutes per mile (4 mph)
The second way to increase your speed is by adding two to three short periods of faster walking. Start with five minutes at your usual pace. Set your timer for 3 minutes and walk “noticeably” faster … maybe until you are puffing a bit. Return to your usual pace. If you do this two to three times per walking session, you will build your lung capacity and rev up your metabolism.
Walk With Occasional SPRINTS
Start walking at your usual pace and then SPRINT. As fast and as hard as you can. Start with one 10 second sprint for every 5 minutes of walking. SLOWLY build up to 30 seconds and then up to a minute. A minute long sprint is a long time and it’s OK if you never get there. It has nothing to do with the time. It has everything to do with increasing your capacity and building strength.
Here’s what I do when I’m listening to my favorite music lineup. I do a sprint at the end of every song, or every second song. Most songs are about 3 to 4 minutes.
The key to a sprint is: FAST and HARD.
Your heart should be PUMPING when your time is up.
When you sprint you burn more calories per minute and you’ll raise your EPOC.
EPOC, or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, is a physiological effect that has your body continuing to burn body fat after you stop exercising. The best part is that the fat you burn, will be visceral body fat.
Visceral body fat is the stuff inside your body cavities, around your trunk and abdominal area and the stuff that surrounds your organs. It’s the fat that makes your belly round and it’s more dangerous to your health than sub-cutaneous fat – the fat that’s under your skin on your thighs and bum.
Sprints build muscle. That’s a good thing. Our muscles give us shape and they make us strong.
By building more muscle you’ll increase your metabolism — which means you be burn more calories per hour even if you do nothing.
Don’t go overboard. Give your body time to adapt and get used to the all-out effort a sprint requires.
In a nutshell, the benefits of sprints are two-fold:
First you increase your EPOC, extending fat burning beyond your exercise session. Second you’ll build more muscle, using up more calories each and every minute of your day.
Walk With Resistance Bands
Resistance bands help you exercise your whole body during your walking session. You can do some exercises while you are walking. Other band exercises may require you to stop for 30 seconds at a time.
The idea is to stretch and tone all your body muscles by the time your walking session is done. These exercises will help build muscles and stretch muscles that you don’t normally use while walking.
Here are a few resistance band exercises you can start with:
Walk With Poles
Pole walking or Nordic Pole Walking is rapidly gaining in popularity because it is so incredibly effective.
The poles help you walk faster and the arm and torso movement you use puts your whole body into motion. You build muscle and get an enhanced cardio workout all at the same time.
Pole walking is great for runners who are having trouble with their knee and ankle joints, and they are a godsend for elderly people with balance problems.
Nordic Pole Walking includes the benefits of both faster walking and exercise bands.
Here is a great article about Nordic Pole Walking which includes a few how-to videos.
Whether you only have 15 minutes or plan on an afternoon hike … rev up your walking and burn more calories, even when you ARE sitting on the couch!