Regular walking has many health benefits, including weight loss. And it’s one of the easiest and most cost-effective exercises a person can do. Many people can benefit from regular walking and being more active.
Doctors agree that inactivity is the cause of many preventable diseases, including heart disease and obesity.
For example, a study in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry showed that walking has a positive effect on fat burning and waist reduction in obese women. The women walked 3 days a week for 50-70 minutes for a total of 12 weeks. After the study, they found that the participants lost an average of 1.5% body fat and 1.1 inches around their waists.
While increasing activity levels can be beneficial, there are things a person can do to increase the amount of fat burned while walking. Tips include:
- Speed up
As with running, swimming, and other forms of aerobic exercise, speed makes a difference. A person burns more calories when walking briskly than walking slowly.
A study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise found that people burn more calories when they increase their running speed. The study also showed that runners in the group weighed less than walkers, suggesting that speed directly affects the number of calories a person burns while exercising.
However, increasing speed does not mean that one should run. Instead, brisk walking can help burn excess calories and help you lose weight.
- Wearing a weighted vest
Adding weight to your workout will burn more calories.
Heavier people burn more calories because their bodies require more energy to perform the same task than a lighter person; Wearing a denim vest while walking encourages the body to work harder while walking.
One study found that people who walked 2.5 miles per hour on a flat surface while wearing a vest weighing 15% of their body weight burned 12% more calories than someone who didn’t wear the vest.
A person wearing a weighted vest weighing 10% of their body weight and walking at the same speed on a 5-10% gradient burned an average of 13% more calories.
A weighted vest can help burn extra calories, but one should avoid wearing weights around the ankles and wrists or carrying loads in the arms. Both exercises lead to muscle imbalances and injuries.
However, caution should always be exercised when wearing a weighted vest. As with any new exercise routine, a person should talk to their doctor before trying a weighted vest. Weighted vests should not be used by people with back or neck problems.
Those who can safely wear a weighted vest will notice an improvement in the number of calories they burn.
- Walk uphill
To increase calorie burning, one should regularly walk uphill.
For some, this means increasing the gradient of the treadmill, while others may want to include more hills in their outdoor walking routine.
A person should aim to climb mountains, stairs, and slopes two to three times a week.
- Focus on form and position
It’s important to stay in shape while walking.
One should always walk facing forward, as this not only increases one’s walking speed but also helps in lengthening one’s stride. While walking, one should focus on tightening the abdominal muscles and glutes. People can do it for the whole walk or for a short time.
This technique helps a person build strength and stay injury free so they can continue their walking program.