Walking for weight loss: how to maximise your daily exercise

Step up your daily walks and slim down too with our weight loss walking plan
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  • It’s likely that you’re appreciating a daily walk right now, but why not upgrade your stroll so that you’re walking for weight loss too?

    By incorporating different paces, speeds and even elements such as lunges and squats into your walk, it can be an effective way to help the pounds fall away.

    And that’s not the only benefit, just 30 minutes of walking, five times a week reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes, and could help relieve symptoms of depression. Plus, walking boosts circulation, making your skin look fresher and younger.

    Check out these tips for making the most of your daily walks, and then follow our plan to get in shape within 30 days.

    Walking For Weight Loss: Work on your style

    Improve your technique and walking becomes a body-toning workout!

    – Lengthen your spine through your neck. This will lift your head, relax your shoulders, help you go faster and prevent back strain.
    – Stop clenching! It’s tempting to tighten those bottom cheeks, but if you release them you’ll get a natural sway, which reduces back tension. It makes your tummy area work harder too – a waist-whittling bonus!
    – Shorten your stride We know you’re keen to walk faster, but taking giant steps will overtax your leg muscles and put strain on your knee joints. Trust us, shorter really does equal more calorie-burning speed!

    Walking For Weight Loss: Engage your middle

    All you have to do is pull your tummy in towards your spine and keep it there but without holding your breath. Tricky at first, but combined with cardio-pumping power walking, it really does help shape up your middle.

    Walking For Weight Loss: Add music

    If you are fitness walking as an add-on to a new diet plan, then adding great sounds will hype your calorie burning. Studies at a US university revealed that women who walked at least three times a week to music lost around 16lb in six months, whereas those who walked in silence only managed 8lb.

    Walking For Weight Loss: Ecotherapy

    Being in nature can even make you feel happier. A study from the mental health organisation, Mind, showed that taking a walk in natural surroundings increased sensations of happiness in 71% of participants.

    Walking For Weight Loss: Grab some poles

    These ramp up calorie-burning by 20%, so it makes sense to use them. The right technique is key: swing poles so that the one in your right hand strikes the ground as your left foot hits the floor, then the left-hand pole hits as your right foot strikes the ground. And so on. Our pick of the best poles? Trail Walking Poles, £54, leki.co.uk.

    Your walking for weight loss 30-day  plan

    This month-long walking challenge is all about maximising the activity on your daily walk, and it’s super simple.

    There are three levels. Find yours using the test and then follow the targets below. If you find that your level is too easy, switch to a more advanced one – the key thing is the consistency of your efforts.

    Do the daily walks and the weekly booster walks when you can.

    Take the test

    If your daily average is less than 5,000, opt for the Novice Level

    If your daily average is between 5,000 and 7,500, go for the Intermediate Level

    If your daily average is 7,500+, choose the Whizz Level

    Now do the challenge!

    DAYS 1-7

    Novice 5,000 steps

    Intermediate 7,000 steps

    Whizz 7,500 steps

    DAYS 8-14

    Novice 5,550 steps

    Intermediate 7,500 steps

    Whizz 8,000 steps

    DAYS 15-22

    Novice 6,000 steps

    Intermediate 8,000 steps

    Whizz 9,000 steps

    DAYS 23-30

    Novice 6,500 steps

    Intermediate 8,500 steps

    Whizz 10,000 steps

    ADD IN THESE TOO….

    Twice a week, do two extra brisk walks. Each should take 10-15 minutes, building up to 20-25 minutes.

    DAYS 1-7

    Novice 1,200-1,500 steps

    Intermediate 1,500 steps

    Whizz 1,700 steps

    DAYS 8-14

    Novice 1,500-1,800 steps

    Intermediate 1,700 steps

    Whizz 1,800 steps

    DAYS 15-22

    Novice 1,800 steps

    Intermediate 2,000 steps

    Whizz 2,500 steps

    DAYS 23-30

    Novice 2,000 steps

    Intermediate 2,500 steps

    Whizz 3,000 steps

    Make it harder!

    If you really want to make your workout work harder, pause your walk at every 1000 steps and aiming for either 10 (Novice), 20 (Intermediate) or 30 (Whizz) repetitions of the below.

    Cursty lunge

    (Split the rep count between each leg). Feet shoulder-width apart, step your left leg behind you and to the right. Bend both knees so you’re in a curtsy position. From here, jump to the side to switch the position of your legs, ending in a curtsy lunge with leg positions reversed.

    Squat

    Stand with feet hip-width apart. Keep your feet flat and back straight, then lower into a sitting position. Lift your arms out in front of you to balance. Hold for 3 seconds, push your heels into the floor and drive up to standing.

    Eagle squat

    – Start with your legs together. Lift your right leg over your left leg, so they’re crossed. Interlink your arms so your right elbow is underneath your left, palms touching. Squat down, hold for 3 seconds, switch sides
    and repeat.

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