I’ve already shared with you 7 reasons to love walking. The bottom line is that walking is good for you – physically and emotionally. Even if you do not consider walking to be a favorite past time, if you want to get a start on shedding some pounds, walking might be the most viable option.
You have to understand, however, that merely ambling around might not give you the results that you want and need. While the activity of walking definitely gets your blood moving, it can be optimized in order to burn fat and help you lose weight. Your best bet is to come up with a plan that will make the most of your walking routine. Here are some tips that are certain to burn fat and help you lost weight when you walk.
Come up with a plan
Yes, I mentioned having a plan earlier – this is very important. You might be tempted to just take a leisurely stroll every now and then. Now, there is nothing wrong with this. A leisurely stroll is good in itself, but if your target is to lose weight, you need to up your game. There are many sites which offer specific guidelines on outlining walking routines. Most of these will give you information right down to the timing – an x number of minutes for warm up, an x number of minutes for really fast walking, etc. The important thing is that you have that plan and that you follow it when you actually put on your running shoes.
Another aspect of your plan should be the frequency of your walking. You might be tempted to just walk whenever you feel like it, or when you find the time. Let me tell you now – commit to a schedule as much as you can. You do not have to walk everyday. What’s critical is that you set aside time for your walk and that you stick to it as to make it a habit. Before long, walking for weight loss will become part of your life.
Pay attention to your heart rate
You might have heard of the term before. One of the most important rules in walking for weight loss (or running even) is that you reach your target heart rate. If you do not, even if you walk for hours on end, you will not really be burning fat efficiently.
How do you measure your heart rate?
The easiest way is to buy a monitor, but you do not really have to do that. Here’s how you can measure your heart rate manually.
- Place your index finger beneath your jawbone and feel the carotid artery.
- Count the beats for 6 seconds. Multiply this by 10 to get your heart rate.
Maximum heart rate
Here’s a simple formula to calculate your maximum heart rate: 220 minus your age. If you are female, use 226 minus your age. Now keep this figure in mind as you will be using it later.
You need to determine your Fat Burning heart rate.
This is 60 percent to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. How to calculate this? Use the figure you came up with for maximum heart rate earlier, and multiply that by 0.6 or 0.7. The result should be your target heart rate to burn fat.
It is important to remember that this is actually just one “zone”. Other zones – various percentages of the maximum heart rate – are used by different people with varying targets. The good thing about the 60 percent to 70 percent zone is that you burn a LOT of fat – as much as 85% of the calories you burn is actually fat. Hence, this zone is perfect for those who want to shed off those pounds due to excess fat.
Increase the frequency and difficulty as you go along
You might want to start easily but if you want results, you need to add a little spice to your walking. For example, if you start walking for 30 minutes, twice a week. Slowly go up to 45-60 minutes, five times a week. You can also increase the speed of your walk as you go along. The faster, longer, and more frequently you walk, the better results you’ll have.