If you feel that you’re not burning enough calories when walking, don’t be discouraged.Walking Woman

Walking is not meant to burn as much fat as, say circuit training or contact sports would. It’s recommended, though, for people who are new at fitness, those recuperating from an illness or those with mild ailments, and almost every individual who wants to meet the minimum workout in a day.

You can also get the most out of walking by following these three simple but useful tips:

1) When:

Don’t dismiss walking as a type of workout that you can take up anytime you want.

When you devote as much time and effort to walking as you would to your other workout programs, you’ll begin to see wonderful results in terms of cardiovascular health and muscle tone.

To motivate you to make fitness walking a regular part of your schedule, jot down your walking exercises on a journal.

The optimum frequency is three to five times a week for about 15 minutes to an hour. Keep a record of your heart rate target zone and try to achieve that each time.

If you can’t do more than 15 minutes per session, increase the frequency to about 2-3 sessions of 15 minutes each. Don’t just squeeze your walking exercise in; try to schedule it in advance to give it some priority.

2) Where:

There are certain places that are not conducive to walking for fitness.

For instance, people who live in highly urbanized areas where parks or safe walking paths are few and far between may find it difficult to stick to a schedule. European cities, for instance, are more welcoming to “walkers” because of the vast plazas and less polluted city streets.

You can ask around your area about joggers and try to find the places they frequent.

High school tracks are a good alternative. Industrial parks are also conducive for walking because of their wide, well-paved, and flat streets and sidewalks.

You might also be able to find a golf course near your place, and though it may not be flat, it’s highly beneficial if you want to improve your fitness levels.

Walking uphill can build leg muscles and make you stronger.

One extra benefit is you’ll get to enjoy the wonderful landscape while you’re walking. If you find the inclines too steep, try zigzagging up or down the paths.

Don’t discount the benefit of mall-walking either – you won’t feel forced into exercising if you’re window shopping at the same time. You’ll be surprised at how much distance you’ll get to cover in an afternoon of walking around the mall!

The best thing is you’re also moving around in a pollution-free environment.

3) How:Lady Warming Up

Dr. Suki Munsell, developer of the Dynamic Walking technique, recommends the “shirt pull,” which stretches your spine to keep you from slouching.

While you’re walking, cross both of your arms in front of you at the waist level.

Next, raise both arms in a movement simulating the pulling up of a shirt and lift arms e them over your head. Extend your torso and your arms, as if trying to reach for something overhead. Lower your arms and allow your shoulders drop into their normal position. Repeat this often in the course of your walk.

Try to follow the correct posture, too. To avoid an unnatural arch in the back known as the “sway back,” pull in your abs and squeeze your buns at the same time. Breathe better by sticking your chest out while walking.

Sway your hips while walking.

Since hips are usually unwieldy, it would help if you improve their flexibility by regularly stretching your lower back muscles and hip flexors. Keep your head up and assume a slightly forward lean from the ankles.

Swing your arms naturally with relaxed shoulders. Don’t draw up your shoulders toward your ears. Your arms should be bent at the elbows at an approximately 90-degree angle.

M. Jamal

P.S. How about a few more tips… things like: When’s the best time to buy walking shoes? What to look for in walking shoes? Should you use or skip weights when walking?

Sure, it’s all in this video. Check it out:

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    […] 3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Walking Exercise […]

    Jun 9, 2008 at 4:27 pm

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    « Kay »
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    « mjamal »
    Jun 28, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    I love this blog. My favorite thing to do for exercise is walk and this tells you doe’s and don’t s. I usually don’t stretch before I go out and walk but I am definitely going to start. Thank you Funladyfitness.

    Sep 21, 2009 at 7:09 pm
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