Walk Those Pounds Away

Walk Those Pounds Away

Walking is a great form of moderate exercise that not only helps you lose weight, but is also healthy for your heart. The great part about walking as an exercise is that you aren’t limited to a particular time or location. Walking doesn’t require special clothes or equipment. You don’t need to join a fancy gym. You can walk before or after work, or if you drive to work, you can park your car a block or two from the office and walk the rest of the way. If you take the bus or train, get off a stop before your station and walk. An enclosed mall could be the perfect place for your walk in bad weather. You can even walk on your lunch break for a refreshing break from the office.

Walking is the ideal aerobic exercise for good health, fitness, and weight loss without the dangers of strenuous exercise. If you want to lose weight permanently, then the energy burned during your exercise should come from fats and not from carbohydrates. During the first twenty to thirty minutes of moderate exercise like walking, only one third of the energy burned comes from carbohydrates, whereas two thirds comes from body fats. During short bursts of exercise, two thirds of the energy burned comes from carbohydrates and only one third from body fat. It stands to reason, then, that a continuous exercise, like walking, which burns primarily body fat, is a lot better for permanent weight reduction than short spurts of strenuous exercise.

Because strenuous exercise burns carbohydrates it causes a drop in blood sugar, which actually increases your appetite. Walking, on the other hand, redirects blood away from the stomach to the exercising muscles and decreases appetite. Walking also increases the body’s metabolic rate, which helps to burn calories at a faster rate.

The only way to beat the battle of the bulge is to burn those unwanted pounds away. Walking burns approximately 350 calories per hour, so you can lose one pound of body fat for every ten hours you walk. A twenty minute brisk walk daily will burn enough calories to help you lose weight quickly. Ten minutes twice a day is just as good. The following table will give you an idea of the energy expended in walking, which is actually the number of calories burned per minute or per hour, by walking at different speeds.

Calories Burned

Walking Burned in Thirty Burned in Sixty
Speed per Minute Minutes Minutes
Slow (2 mph) 4 5 130 160 260 320
Brisk (3 mph) 5 6 160 190 320 380
Fast (4 mph) 6 7 190 220 380 440
Race (5 mph) 7 8 220 260 440 520

Speed per Minute
Burned in
Thirty Minutes
Burned in
Minutes Slow (2 mph) 130 160 380 440 Brisk (3 mph) 160 190 320 380 Fast (4 mph) 190 220 380 440 Race (5 mph) 220 260 440 520

A pound of body fat contains approximately 3,500 calories. When you eat 3,500 more calories than your body needs, it stores those calories as a pound of body fat. If you reduce your intake by 3,500 calories, you will lose a pound. It doesn’t make any difference how long it takes your body to store or burn these 3,500 calories. The result is always the same. You either gain or lose one pound of body fat, depending on how long it takes you to accumulate or burn up 3,500 calories.

You can lose weight by just walking. When you walk at a speed of 3 mph for one hour every day, you will burn up 350 calories each day. Therefore, if you walk one hour a day for ten days, you will burn up a total of 3,500 calories. Since there are 3,500 calories in each pound of fat, when you burn up 3,500 calories by walking you will lose a pound of body fat. You will continue to lose one pound of body fat every time you complete ten hours of walking at a speed of 3 mph. It works every time!

Twenty minutes of walking six days a week is all you need. Walking twenty minutes outdoors or indoors on a treadmill will provide you with maximum cardiovascular fitness, good health, and boundless energy. It will help you burn the extra calories needed to lose weight and also decrease your appetite. This walking plan will also provide the fuel that powers your energy level throughout your day.

When you first start your walking program, pick a level terrain, since hills place too much strain and stress on your legs, hips, and back muscles. Make sure you walk at a brisk pace (approximately 3 to 3.5 mph) for maximum efficiency. When you begin walking, your respiration and heart rate will automatically become faster; however, if you feel short of breath or tired, then you’re probably walking too fast. Slow down or stop whenever you are tired or fatigued, and then resume walking after resting.

When you walk, concentrate on maintaining a natural, efficient gait and putting energy into each step. Maintain erect posture while walking, and every so often contract your abdominal muscles to strengthen your abs. Walk with your shoulders relaxed and your arms carried in a relatively low position, with natural motion at the elbow. Don’t hold your arms too high when you walk or you may develop muscle spasms and pain in your neck, back, and shoulder muscles.

The muscles and joints of the ankles, knees, and hips provide most of the energy required for walking. When we over-stride or understride, we disrupt the natural walking gait. An easy, steady, unbroken stride will produce the rhythm and gait necessary for the effortless act of walking. Also, avoid toeing in or toeing out during the walking gait because this wastes energy. Concentrate on keeping your toes straight, and your stride will be even and rhythmic.

During the act of walking, your arms should swing naturally from the shoulders. Over swinging the arms purposely during walking will reduce the efficiency of the act of walking and subsequently tire you out early during your walk. Don’t concentrate too much on the act of walking during your rhythmic stride, and you will allow the muscles to relax and perform more efficiently. You’ll begin to feel relaxed and comfortable as your stride becomes smooth and effortless.

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