Walking is one of the easiest ways to lose weight. A brisk stroll for just 45 minutes a day, four times a week, could help you lose two pounds a month. That adds up to 24 pounds over a year!
Apart from the slimming benefits, walking strengthens the heart and lungs, improves bone density and boosts your mood by increasing the production of the feel-good endorphins in the body. But, best of all, it helps suppress appetite, so you lose weight.
Eight-point plan1. Fast, short steps will help you reach your daily step quota faster, so try to change the way you walk to reflect this.
2. Stride out with your head and shoulders relaxed, and pump your arms to work your heart and burn more calories.
3. Walk fast enough to work up a sweat, but not so fast that you haven't got enough breath to hold a conversation.
4. Walk on different kinds of surfaces. Uneven surfaces, such as woodland
or fields, will use different muscles, so you'll tone up faster. And if you walk up or downhill, you'll also burn flab faster.
5. Once you start to feel fitter, use small bottles of water as
hand weights while you walk, these will help you burn an extra 200
calories per 30-minute session. It will also tone your arms, shoulders
and back muscles.
6. Change one thing a day to ensure you stick to your walking
routine. For instance, park the car three roads away from school when
you pick up the kids, or walk up the stairs in the car park with the
shopping instead of taking the lift.
7. Buy a pedometer to count the number of steps you take each day. Boots sell them from as little as £6.99.
8. Walking is every bit as aerobic as running or a conventional
gym class, so make sure you warm up and cool down with some gentle
stretches with each session. Take deep breaths to bring down your heart
rate, and bend from the waist to ease out your spine.
Our top tips to help you reach your 10,000 steps a day
- Take up the challenge with a friend - you could go for a long walk while catching up and having a chat
Always use the stairs. You'll be surprised how many steps you clock up by avoiding lifts and escalators
- If you get the bus to work get off at the stop before you usually get off and walk the extra distance
Get up a few minutes early.
- You can't clock up the steps by sleeping so get up early to give yourself more time to get ready and fit some walking in
Walk while you talk.
- If you spend a lot of the time on the phone, make it a habit to pace up and down the room while you're chatting, rather than sit in front of the TV
- Walk the kids to school, it'll be great for them to get some walking in too
- Park the car in the furthest spot of the carpark