The trick is to “look for ways to increase the difficulty of your walk and crank up your metabolism”, says strength and conditioning coach Travis Ronaldson.
Here are six easy peasy ways to turn your evening walk into a serious fat-burning workout:
Tip #1 Try interval training.
One way to do this is interval training, which research shows can produce bigger weight-loss results than the same amount of training at a steady pace.
“As you’re walking, stop and do a bodyweight exercise every five to 10 minutes – for example, 10 squats,” says Travis. “This will keep your heart rate elevated throughout your walk, increasing the overall calories burned.”
Tip #2 Remember, 60 is the magic number.
If you’re looking to slim down, 60 minutes of walking a day is your best bet. But it doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once.
“If you’re pressed for time, walking for 10 minutes, six times a day, is just as good as going for a 60-minute walk,” explains Travis. “If an hour isn’t possible, 30 minutes every day has also been shown to benefit general health, weight loss, heart health and mental well-being.”
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Tip #3 Begin slow.
If you haven’t exercised regularly, then go slow.
“Start off by walking three times a week and increase from there, aiming to walk daily,” says Travis. “The more days you walk, the more activity you’re completing, which in turn will assist with further weight loss.”
#4 Go for a hike.
Walking uphill increases the amount of calories you burn by up to 60 per cent, compared to walking on flat ground. “Changing your regular walking route to include hills immediately boosts the intensity of your walk,” says Travis.
Try one of these hiking trails in Singapore, or take the stairs at work.
#5 Keep track of your heart rate.
Another way is to invest in a heart-rate monitor to check you’re not in cruise mode. “Getting your heart rate up above 120 bpm (beats per minute) will stimulate rapid calorie burning. You could also switch the surface to challenge your muscles – try sand or grass.”
Naturally, the faster you walk, the more calories you’ll burn. “If you can still talk, but are a little out of breath, you are walking at a great speed to maximise weight-loss potential,” reveals Travis.
“Other cardio activities like running, swimming and fitness classes take all the glory for weight loss, but don’t forget that vigorous walking for 30 minutes can burn upwards of 120 kcal,” he says. “Brisk walking also puts many people in the target fat-burning zone – when you are at 60 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate – making it an integral part of all weight loss programmes.”
#6 Change your treadmill habits.
If all of your walking happens on a treadmill, you’ll need to make some adjustments.
“Walking on the treadmill can be just as effective for weight loss as going for a walk outdoors – but you need to use the functions such as incline and speed,” explains Travis.
“The trap people fall into on the treadmill is walking so slowly that they’re not challenging their body at all. Up your pace and walk faster than you would on the pavement and set your incline to at least nine per cent, throwing in ‘hills’ regularly.”
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