Friday, February 15, 2013

Article # 309. Walk Yourself Slim

Walk Yourself Slim

Squeezing in a grueling session at the gym is a great idea in theory but when your day is packed with to-dos, stepping foot in the gym is a mere fantasy. Instead of feeling guilty over a missed gym session, go for the next best thing: walking! In the spring weather, it doesn’t even feel like a workout.

While it might seem more like a hobby and less like a physical activity, walking can actually help you get in to optimal shape, improving fitness levels and burning calories. The Weight-Control Information Network says that walking tones muscles, strengthens bones, and lowers your risk of health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.

To get the most out of your walking routine, focus on these areas: intensity and resistance. Your leisurely walk through the park isn’t going to cut it here. We are talking about combining a fast pace with some form of resistance to get the most out of a walking workout.  Here some suggestions to help you walk your way slim.

Pick Up The Pace:

Aim to walk at a brisk four miles per hour or 15-minute mile to torch some serious calories. If you walk at this pace for 45 minutes, you will have burned an estimated 203 calories*. If your day is too packed for a 45-minute long walking session, break it up. For example, do one 15-minute routine in the morning, one at lunch, and one at night.

Tone Muscles:

To tone your lower body while walking, find a walking route that includes hills and various inclines to shake up your routine. Walking uphill tones your thighs, calves, and butt while improving your cardiovascular health as your heart beats faster and lungs take in more air.

Add Resistance:

Make your walk more challenging with resistance. Some walkers add small 3-lb dumbbells to add resistance and build strength in legs and arms. However, maintaining the right form is crucial. Don’t slump or let your belly sag; you will strain the neck and back muscles, and could potentially injure yourself.

Pump it:

Sure, it looks strange, but pumping your arms while walking helps burn 15% more calories. The actual act of pumping helps to propel the body forward, giving you more momentum as you walk. To get pumping, bend elbows at a 90-degree angle and pump as you walk.
In addition to burning calories, walking is an activity that most enjoy, which means they are more likely to keep up with their walking habits and incorporate them into a long-term lifestyle. Lace up your walking shoes and hit the pavement!