Weight loss: Seven tips to walk your way to a healthier weight and burn belly fat

in Steem Healthcare2 months ago


Weight loss: Seven tips to walk your way to a healthier weight and burn belly fat

Staying active is the simplest way to reduce your chances of heart disease and obesity, as well as a myriad of other health conditions. Walking is one of the easiest activities we do - here's how to make it a calorie-burner.

Building an hour-long walk into your daily routine can be an easy way to start burning belly fat (
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Inactivity is one of the key risk factors for some of the UK's most common health problems such as heart disease and obesity. But for many Brits, the idea of donning a pair of trainers and a sweatband before heading down to the local gym is enough to keep them firmly in their seats.

But exercise does not have to be like some Rocky training montage, according to studies examining the health impact of low-intensity activities. Research in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry showed that people with weight problems are able to quickly drop belly fat and increase their metabolism simply by taking part in short but regular walks.

In the study, overweight and obese women walked for around an hour three times per week. After 12 weeks of this semi-regular low-intensity workout, participants found that they had lost an inch from their waists and that their total body fat had fallen by 1.5 per cent.

If you have fallen into a period of inactivity, regular walks can be the easiest way to fall back into good health and find the energy to make other positive health decisions. Walking your way to better health should not be too difficult, but the scientist-reviewed MedicalNewsToday compiled some tips for walkers to start hitting their stride.

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  1. Pick up the pace
    Once you have found what your comfortable walking speed is, pick up the pace ever so slightly and your body will start to burn even more fat.

Do not worry though - you will not have to run. Research published by the sports journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise showed that brisk walkers, as well as runners, were able to burn far more calories than those moving at a comfortable pace.

  1. Bring weights
    Another simple way to improve the calorie-burning potential of your walks, especially as you start to lose body fat from becoming more active, is to make yourself a bit heavier.

Some people choose to do this by walking with weights in their hands, or using weighted bracelets, but these can cause damage to muscles and your ability to balance.

Instead, take a rucksack with some heavy objects in it, or purchase a weighted vest, and you should begin to see the weight drop off

A study into weighted walking showed that participants who added 10 per cent of their body weight were able to burn 13 per cent more calories than on a normal un-weighted walk - making weighted walking a good option for those in a hurry to lose weight.

  1. Walking uphill
    Like weights, once you have found a comfortable walking route, if you want to keep up that weight loss you might want to find a route with a gradual or increasing gradient.

Though doing this every walk could become tiring, uphill walking a few times a week can push our bodies to burn more fat and increase your overall cardiovascular health.

If you live in a flat area, you can either up the gradient on a treadmill, or even just take a walk up and down the stairs.

  1. Maintain good posture
    Doing any exercise incorrectly can cause strains and pains that make the thought of doing any exercise increasingly difficult and, even though we do it everyday, this is also true for walking.

Walking with the correct posture will make your exercise easier, while also improving your balance and ensuring the right muscles are being exercised.

You want to keep your head looking straight and held high, this helps to increase your speed and regulate the length of your strides - while also reducing the risk of injury from tripping over an unexpected branch or stone.

Equally, tightening your abdominal muscles and glutes while pacing will improve your posture, while also building core muscle strength and resilience.

  1. Fancy a breather? Do some resistance training
    If you need a brief respite to catch your breath, or even take in a view, it is a good idea to try adding some resistance training to your walk.

These short exercises can help keep your muscles limber, while stopping your body from entering into the post-exercise phase that could make it difficult to keep walking.

An example of these exercises to include in your walk are: squats, pushups, thrusts, lunges, and tricep dips.

  1. Break it up
    Having the right mentality and approach is the most important factor in building a successful exercise regime.

If an hour-long walk seems dreadful to you, break it down into three 20-minute walks throughout the day. Researchers have even indicated that taking a short walk after a meal can be a simple way to help people control their blood sugar levels, which spike and crash after eating.

Equally, if picking up the pace is making it difficult to make it through the entire walk, try "power walking" in five-minute bursts. Not only does this help those who are struggling, doing five or 10-minute bursts of power walking will make any walk into a big fat-burner.

  1. Think in steps
    It can be hard to quantify the value of each walk, thankfully most modern phones and fitness watches will track your movement - while also estimating how many calories you are likely to have burned.

Roughly five miles, or 10,000 steps, is believed by trackers and scientists to be the step target for any healthy and active lifestyle. Importantly, many of these apps and watches will also keep track of the steps you do outside of your walk, making 10K an easier target.

If you are struggling, setting gradual steps targets can be a simple way to boost your walking ability. Others include: taking the stairs rather than a lift, parking further away from the shops, taking a walk on your lunch break rather than sitting in a cafeteria or break room.

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