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Mar 17, 2011

A Guide To Walking For Weight Loss

A Guide To Walking For Weight LossWalking is an excellent way to burn calories and lose weight.  It’s low impact, doesn’t require a gym membership and can be done just about anywhere at any time.
As well as losing weight, walking can also lower your blood pressure, improve your mood, help you stay strong and fit and even fights osteoporosis by increasing your bone density.

Warming Up

While walking is a natural body movement and extremely low impact, there is still a risk of muscle pain and blisters.  So, before heading out the door or jumping on the treadmill make sure to:
  1. Wear comfortable walking shoes and loose fitting clothes.  Also, choose appropriate clothes for the weather if you are walking outside.
  2. Take about 5 minutes to warm up first.  No, not stretching, but walking slowly.  Increase your pace until you feel warm or comfortable.
  3. Once you’ve warmed up stretch out your leg muscles including your calves, quads hamstrings and side muscles.

Let’s Get Started

Unless you’ve been walking for exercise for a while it’s a good idea to start out slow.  Walk only as far and as fast as you are comfortable with.  Then slowly try to increase the distance and pace at which you walk.  Shoot for a goal of 30 – 60 minutes per day at a brisk pace.
Once you’ve achieved that, it’s time to have a little fun!

Staying Motivated

Walking the same trail at the same pace day in and day out can get boring.  So, if you want to stick with walking for the long run you need to spice up your workouts a bit.  Try these walking variations to get the most out of your walking workouts while making them more enjoyable, as well:
Trail Walking – If you’re lucky enough to have trails in your area, be it paved or off-road, then you have an excellent way to fight the boredom that treadmill or regular street walking can bring on. Explore all that your trails have to offer by taking a different route every time and measure the distance you walk with a pedometer.  Just make sure to tell someone the route you plan on taking ahead of time for safety purposes.
Interval Walking – By alternating the speeds at which you walk you can spice up your walking workouts and actually burn more calories than if you walked the same amount of time at a steady pace.  For example, walk 1 minute at a moderate pace then follow that with a minute of fast paced walking and repeat for as many times as you feel comfortable.
Walking Sticks – According to, pole walking burns up to 40% more calories, leaves you less winded and takes the pressure off your knees and back! How does it burn more calories? Walking with a pole in each hand forces flexing of deltoids, biceps and obliques – muscles not regularly used in walking.
Poles are easy to find – simply grab a pair (extremely affordable and some even have free shipping) or stop by your local sporting goods store to see if they carry them.
Walking Buddy – Stay motivated by finding a friend or family member to walk with you.  You’ll be less likely to skip walking workouts when you don’t want to let somebody else down. Plus, it’s fun to chat and catch up while you walk!

Calories Burned Walking

As mentioned before walking is a great way to burn calories.  But, how many calories can you expect to burn from walking?  The following represents the average amount of calories a 150lb individual would burn from various walking situations.
Walking around the house: 135 calories per hour
Regular walking (2mph) on a level surface: 170 calories per hour
Regular walking (3mph) on a level surface: 220 calories per hour
Regular walking (4mph) on a level surface: 340 calories per hour
Walking your dog: 200 calories per hour
Walking with a 15lb load: 240 calories per hour
Cross country hiking: 400 calories per hour
Race walking: 440 calories per hour

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