There is no need to engage in strenuous aerobic exercises or to lift heavy weights at the gym (either free weights or machine weights) to achieve cardiovascular fitness, weight loss, and improved lean muscle mass. When you walk with light one or two pound handheld weights, you build muscle mass, which speeds up your metabolism because muscle tissue burns more calories than fat cells burn. The combination of the fat burning aerobic walking exercise and the muscle building exercise of walking with handheld weights enables you to burn fat as you lose weight and develop a new and improved, lean and firm figure.
Power Diet Step
My Power Diet Step’ plan simply combines the aerobic benefits of walking with the strength training benefits of lifting light one or two pound handheld weights in each hand. When you combine your twenty minute aerobic walk with this strength training exercise, you have the advantage of a “double blast” of calorie burning for weight loss while trimming and toning your body.
First of all, your aerobic walking burns approximately 350 calories per hour, or 117 calories every twenty minutes. The strength training addition of using handheld weights while walking burns another 175 calories per hour, or 58 calories every twenty minutes. Strength training exercises (walking with weights) increases the body’s basal metabolic rate, which in turn burns additional calories. So you burn a total of 175 calories every twenty minutes when you walk with weights and therefore lose more weight; more quickly.
When you walk with handheld weights, walk with a natural arm swing, as you do when you normally walk. Your arms should hang down naturally at your sides. Hold the weights with your palms facing your body. As you walk, alternately swing your arms gently, bending your elbows slightly with each stride. You can also exaggerate this arm swing by holding the weights, palms facing the body, with your elbows bent at approximately 90° angles. Move your arms forward and backward in a pumping motion similar to the arm motion used by runners.
Walkers burn approximately 50 percent more calories doing the Power Diet Step using handheld weights than by just walking without weights. As an added bonus, walking with weights builds lean muscle mass, which burns an additional 50 calories an hour per pound of muscle. This exercise is ideal in helping to prevent osteoporosis, since walking with handheld weights puts the tension on the bones and muscles that is essential in preventing bone loss. Walking with weights will also help to improve cardiovascular fitness, thus lowering blood pressure and also helping to reduce the incidence of heart disease and stroke.
If you want to add strength training to your regular walking workouts, start by adding two days of walking with weights to your six day a week regimen. (See Tip 97.) If you desire more muscle toning and upper body strengthening exercises, you can increase the walking workout with handheld weights to three times per week.