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Walking for Weight LossWalking for Weight Loss


Walking for Weight Loss

Research shows that a walking program can result in successful weight loss. You can boost the calories burned and the likelihood that you will stick with your plan when you incorporate a few simple guidelines.

Put in the time.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 150 to 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise (walking) can result in modest weight loss, but more significant weight loss requires more than 250 minutes. This means that if you truly want to initiate changes in your weight you should commit to at least a 50 minute walk, five days per week. If you are a beginner, do what you can now and work up to this goal. If you put in the time, you will get the results.

Step up the intensity.

Boosting the intensity of your walk will help you burn more calories. Try speed intervals by walking quickly for 60 seconds and recovering at a slower pace for 30 seconds throughout the workout. Take an outdoor route with hills or stairs, or increase the incline on your treadmill. Break up your routine by hiking on the weekends. The hills, elevation, and rough terrain will challenge you to work harder.

Stay committed.

It takes time to build your fitness level and to burn the necessary calories for weight loss. With consistent exercise, your body will be able to push harder and longer to boost calorie burn. Going out for a leisurely walk once a week may provide health benefits, but it likely won’t be enough to initiate weight loss. Pick the number of days that you can commit to exercising and stick with it to see results.

Give it purpose.

Use your walk to run errands. A 25-minute brisk walk to and from the post office counts as a workout. Once you get to the mall, walk the halls for 30 minutes before you start shopping. Invite your co-worker to a walking meeting. One study showed that people who walked the dog for just 20 minutes, five days per week lost an average of 14 pounds in a year. When your workout helps you accomplish a task, it is much easier to squeeze it into your day.

Make it fun.

A walk doesn’t have to be a boring stroll from one point to the next. Mix things up by adding strength training circuits. Walk 10 minutes, stop and do 15 squats. Walk 10 more minutes, stop and do 20 calf raises.

Ask friends to join you or reserve your walk for special time with a loved one. The more enjoyable your exercise the more likely your workout will be something you want to do, not something you have to do.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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