For a really good cardio workout, we recommend the most basic form of exercise: Walking! It's safe, easy, effective and doesn't require for you to sign up at the gym. Not only does walking help you lose weight, it can also sculpt your entire body and leave you feeling more energized.
For optimal benefits, fitness experts recommend aiming for 10,000 steps a day, so be sure to invest in a proper pedometer while you're at it.
Even though this exercise seems more like "a walk in the park," trust us when we say that you might want to learn a bit more about the proper walking techniques that will help you lose the weight and prevent you from injuring yourself:
Develop a good walking form Maintaining good form while you walk will help you burn more calories as well as avoid injury. Therese Iknoian, author of Fitness Walking, shares the guidelines to keep in mind during every walking workout.
1. Your posture Keep your head up and centered between your shoulders. Focus your eyes straight ahead, keeping your shoulders back and down. "Your posture should be tall and erect no matter what your walking speed or level," explains Iknoian. Tighten your abdominals and pull your belly button gently in toward your spine so you feel stable and upright.
2. Your arm swing Your arms should be bent at 90 degrees, making the swing quick and compact. "Power your arm swing with your back muscles," says Iknoian. "The more you engage the back muscles in the arm swing, the more you'll tone them."
As you walk, swing your arms back and forth (instead of side to side which drags down your pace), and keep your elbows close to your sides. This ensures that your arms propel you forward. Your hands should be slightly cupped, like you're holding a fragile raw egg in each cupped palm, adds Iknoian.
3. Your stride Power your movements from your hips rather than your thighs, but keep your hips loose and natural. Take short, fast strides that still feel natural. "Avoid the natural tendency to take longer strides to go faster," says Iknoian. Land firmly on your heels and roll smoothly to push off with your toes. Think of planting your heel and then pushing off as you roll through your foot.
Your Walking Plan To get the best results from your walk, you have to be consistent. Choose a routine that fits your life and tailor the frequency, duration and intensity according to your fitness goals:
If you want to burn fat and tone your trouble zones, try walking with weights or walking up hilly terrain. Or you can try high-intensity interval training: Instead of coasting along at the same speed, alternate your brisk walking with 2-minute bouts of power walking or Jumping Jacks.
Even if you have only 20 minutes, you can maximize your walk by going for speed. This helps burn as much fat as possible in a short workout. You'll burn 25 percent more calories for every 0.5 mph increase.
Strength Training Moves If you have an hour to work out, you can incorporate these strength-training moves into your routine. Strength-training helps build lean muscle, keeping your metabolism revved even when you're not exercising.
Tree Sit - Targets legs and butt, Reps: 10 1. Lean back against tree trunk or wall, slowly sliding down so knees are bent at 90 degrees and directly above ankles. 2. Hold for 20 counts, then return to standing position.
Tricep Dip - Targets arms and back, Reps: 10 1. Sit on the edge of bench, hands grasping edge, feet flat on ground. Walk feet forward a few steps until hips are off bench. 2. Bend elbows, lowering hips to just below bench level. Hold for 10 counts, then return to starting position.
Reverse Curl - Tones abs, Reps: 10 1. Lie on back, knees bent, feet flat on floor, arms at sides. 2. Keeping head in neutral position, contract abs, pulling knees toward chest. Return to starting position. Lunge - Tones legs and butt, Reps: 10 1. Stand with feet slightly apart, hands on hips. 2. Keeping torso straight, step forward with left foot, and land on heel, bending knees and lowering hips into a lunge. The left knee should be directly above ankle and left thigh parallel to ground. Return to starting position and repeat with right leg.
So now that you know all there is to do with walking, get your trainers on and go outside!
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