Regular walking offers many potential health benefits, including weight loss. It is also one of the easiest and most cost effective forms of exercise a person can do. Many people can walk regularly and reap the benefits of being more active.
Doctors widely agree that inactivity is a potential cause for many preventable conditions, such as heart disease and obesity.
For example, a study in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and BiochemistryTrusted Source showed the positive effects that walking could have on burning fat and reducing waist circumference in obese females. The women walked between 50-70 minutes 3 days per week for a total of 12 weeks. After the study, they found that the study participants lost an average of 1.5% body fat and 1.1 inches around their waists.
Although any increase in activity level will bring benefits, there are some things a person can do to increase the amount of fat they burn while walking. Tips include:
1. Picking up the pace
As with running, swimming, and other forms of aerobic exercise, pace makes a difference. A person burns more calories walking at a brisk pace compared to walking more slowly.
A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise showed that when people increased their pace to a run, they burned more calories. This study also showed that the group of runners weighed less overall than the walkers, suggesting that speed directly affects the number of calories a person burns while exercising.
However, increasing the pace does not mean a person has to run. Instead, walking briskly will burn extra calories to help with weight loss.
2. Wearing a weighted vest
Adding extra weight to a workout will burn more calories.
Heavier people burn more calories because their bodies require more energy to perform the same task than someone who is not as heavy; wearing a weighted vest while walking encourages a person’s body to work harder during a walk.
One study concluded that individuals who walked at 2.5 miles per hour (mph) on a flat surface while wearing a weighted vest that weighed 15% of their weight, burned 12% more calories than a person who did not wear a vest.
A person wearing a weighted vest that represented 10% of their body weight and who walked at the same pace on a 5-10% gradient burned an average of 13% more calories.
Though a weighted vest may help burn extra calories, a person should avoid wearing ankle or wrist weights or carrying weights in their hands. Both practices can lead to muscle imbalance and injury.
However, a person should always use caution when wearing a weighted vest. As with any new exercise, a person should speak to their doctor before using a weighted vest. People with back or neck problems should not use a weighted vest.
People who can safely wear a weighted vest will likely see improvements in the number of calories they burn.
3. Walking uphill
To help increase calorie burn, a person should walk uphill regularly.
For some, this may mean increasing the treadmill gradient, while others may want to incorporate more hills into their outdoor walking routine.
A person should aim to walk up hills, stairs, or inclines two to three times a week.
4. Focusing on form and posture
When it comes to walking, it is important to maintain form and posture.
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