If you've been trying to lose weight through crazy diets, fad exercise classes and gym memberships that you don't even end up using, don’t panic! We've found the solution to your woes. And the best part is, you don't have to make any changes to your diet!
WHY IS WALKING THE EASIEST EXERCISE?
Everyone knows how to walk so it doesn't require you to learn any new skills. You don't need any equipment either, so there's no need to spend money on, say, something that will eventually turn into a clotheshorse (admit it, we've all been there). Plus, you can do it anywhere, regardless of the weather (indoor walking, anyone?). And it doesn't put any additional stress on your joints, like running does, so no need to worry about the adverse effect it will have on your body when you're older.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Walking – especially at a brisk pace – is an easy and natural way to burn calories, and thus lose weight. Brisk walking can burn up to 340 calories an hour, while power walking burns up to 560 calories an hour. Even strolling is a good form of exercise – window shopping, yay! – although this burns only about 230 calories an hour and isn't going to help you to lose weight very quickly.
Set yourself small targets when you begin. Start by walking three days a week, for 15 or 20 minutes each time. Then, gradually increase this to five days a week, then seven, and walk for longer too. The end goal is to walk for 30 to 60 minutes, five to seven days a week. Try to do at least three high-intensity walks a week. As a general guide, you should be hitting 10,000 steps a day. Get a pedometer, a wristband tracker or a use fitness app to track your steps.
SQUEEZE IT IN
If you miss out on your scheduled walks, fit in some 'incidental' walks instead. Get off the bus or taxi a block or two from your destination and walk the rest of the way. Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. If you're heading to town by train, get off a stop early and walk there – the stations between Orchard and City Hall are very close to each other so it's easy to walk between them.
MIX IT UP
Don't walk the same route every time as this gets boring after a while and there's a high chance you'll lose the motivation to press on. If you use a walking path, try different routes, and if you walk to and from work, for example, don't take the same route every time. Get someone to walk with you on some days so that you won't have the same experience each time. It also helps to share your goals with someone so that you can push each other on.
5 BONUS WALKING TIPS
- Get a good pair of walking shoes although, if you're doing most of your walking on regular, flat surfaces, all you need are low-heeled shoes that are comfortable and have some cushioning.
- Listen to music and choose your playlist wisely; stay away from ballads even if you enjoy listening to them. Ideally, look for songs that are between 75 to 130 BPM as that's the ideal tempo for you to synchronise your walking to the beat.
- Don't use the weather as an excuse. Have some indoor walking venues in mind so that you don't have to forgo your routine on an extremely hot or rainy day.
- Vary your pace as you walk; start with a five-minute stroll, then pick up the pace, and cool down for the last few minutes of your walk too.
- For best results, walk up some slopes or hills too.
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