Ok, we’ve all heard that walking is a great way to get yourself moving and getting that heart of yours pumping faster as you put one foot in front of the other. And we applauded you for taking this first step towards your goal of living a healthier lifestyle. Now, walking in and of itself will take you on the first step of being a healthier you. If losing weight is also one of the reasons you’ve taken up walking, maybe on the advice of your physician, well there’s going to come a point when you may see yourself not dropping the weight as fast or maybe, not at all anymore.
The reason for this is that while walking is a great non-impact activity, walking of itself will not have you dropping those pounds maybe as fast as you would like. Now don’t get me wrong. I myself have taken up walking over 3 years ago and for the first 2 years, that is about all I did, and in the process, I dropped over 130 pounds. But that went from starting out, just walking once around the block to now walking between 6-8 miles each day. Yes, I said each day.
You may ask how I find the time to do this, well for me the answer while simple, it also meant I needed to commit to it. I began my daily walking exercises at 5:30 A.M. each and every morning, outside, in all kinds of weather. After all, you’re not going to melt in the summer months, and if you dress appropriately, you’re not going to freeze in the winter either.
Yes, you’re going to be cold in the winter months, but after that first cold shock on opening that door in the morning wears off, after about 20 minutes you’re going to work up enough body heat to keep you comfortable enough to continue along your way. Now, for me, it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to walk my morning 6-mile excursion. That’s a respectable 15-minute mile, and sometimes I do it in less! Remember, I’ve been doing this for over 3 years now. So, keep that in mind, but after the 2nd year, I noticed that my weight kind of stayed the same each month, instead of dropping the 5-6 pounds that I was used to seeing.
The reason for this is while I improved my legs and lung capacity, my body got used to my daily routines and I consistently had to extend my distance or better my time. Now I really didn't want to add any more time to my morning walk so I sought out the advice of a friend. After consulting her, about my problem of staying static as far as weight loss. She suggested that I incorporate power walking into my program and add a few stretching exercises daily along with some push-ups and sit-ups to give my core some added resistance training.
We said before that one of the main benefits of walking is that it’s a low-impact sport because your feet are always in contact with the ground. This natural technique lessens your chances of injury and is safer than jogging or running. Power walking—walking between 3 and 5 mph—offers the same fitness benefits as jogging, without the risk of injury.
For many people, running for exercise is not the answer to them dropping some extra pounds, because it requires more physical exertion than walking. They may also have problems with their knees or ankles not being able to stand the strain of that impact of foot to pavement. But with good regular walking habits, you can use power walking techniques to get all the benefits of running or jogging.
Increasing your walking pace is really all you need to do to increase your calorie burn rate to those comparable to jogging. For example, a 150-pound person burns about 300 calories by walking at 4.5 mph for 1 hour, the same calorie burn rate as jogging at 4 mph for 1 hour.
power walking simply means increasing your walking pace to cover a mile in less than 15 minutes. This pace means you are walking faster than 4 mph, the average jogging pace for most people. You should increase your walking pace over time without straining yourself. Do your normal warming up and cooling down routine.
Below are some basic rules you should follow as you walk or power walk. Safety is important and how you keep your body upright when you walk can mean less stress and sore muscles after you’ve walked 3-4 miles.
Walk with good posture, looking straight ahead, not at the ground. Don’t overstride or use too many vigorous aerobic arm movements. For best power walking results, let your body do the work: leave the hand and ankle weights at home.
Bend your elbows at about a 90-degree angle and swing your arms faster but not too high. Your arms should never cross your body and your hands never swing higher than your chest. Let your feet naturally follow the pace of your arms.
Concentrate on each stride to push off with your toes. Some power walkers like to count steps, aiming for at least 135 steps per minute. (Again, this depends on your normal stride length, it will vary per individual)
Some of you may be using a good pedometer to keep track of your steps, distance and calories burned. This is a great idea and highly recommended. But you may also want to consider using a fitness tracker/monitor since you’re going to be dialing up your fitness routine a bit by power- walking. You may want to consider one that also keeps track of your heart rate and provides you with informative data that you can use to gauge your progress. And maybe use it to set a predefined goal to work towards.
One type of activity watch that can do all of the above and more is the Fitbit Charge 2 Activity Tracker HR This Activity tracker monitors steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed and active minutes. While providing a reliable, easy to view, heart rate monitor functionality called the "Pure Pulse" It will track your heart rate ALL DAY, whether you’re working out, at rest or even while your sleeping. The point of having a fitness tracker at this stage of your exercise journey is so that you can set yourself new goals and this watch will still be an asset to your newer healthy lifestyle if you want to take on more fitness activities.
The "SmartTrack" automatic exercise recognition’s multi-sports mode tracks specific workouts like run, bike, weights, etc. The SmartTrack feature enables you to record your workouts select exercises automatically and monitor real-time workout stats. Like I said above, a fitness tracker is just a higher version of a pedometer, with some Oomph! It has more features and the ability to provide you with information that can help you reach preset goals and allow you to move on to new ones. Using one like the Fitbit Charge 2 will help to keep you motivated and committed to succeeding in power-walking goals.
Keep in mind that many power walkers like to tighten their abs and glutes while also tilting the pelvis slightly forward as they move. You don’t want to take longer strides, but shorter, quicker ones. Above all, breathe naturally as you walk. If you find yourself losing breath, slow down.
After a few sessions of power walking, you’ll be burning more calories and feeling fitter than ever before. And nothing can help keep that motivation higher then remembering the statement from Web MD
“Every hour you spend walking at a brisk pace, may add 2 hours to your life” That's a nice motivator to keep in mind, right? So try power-walking for a few months and let the end result of jumpstarting your weight loss, help cement that motivation.
Tell you what, if I pass you on the road, I'll be sure to wave!
Your walking buddies here at PedometersUSA.com