Walk your way to weight loss!

Fitness team

If a gym looks more like a chamber of horrors or jogging has you running scared, we have the perfect exercise for you! Walking! Walking is the simplest, cheapest and suddenly the most fashionable form of exercise.

For years, it has been the poor relation in the fitness world but now, its popularity is set to overtake the more strenuous activities like aerobics and jogging. Research shows that adopting a simple walking programme not only strengthens the heart and lungs, but can actually change our body shape too.

· The British Heart Foundation identifies many benefits from brisk walking. They say: “Reasonable vigorous exercise, such as brisk walking, has been shown to be one of the major natural factors in alleviating coronary heart disease, raised blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, as well as enhancing the immune system and helping to reduce bone-thinning in post menopausal women”.

· Walking can burn off about 200 calories for every thirty minutes. Walking uphill can burn off up to fifty percent more!

· Walking is a perfect hip and thigh conditioner, improving both the muscle tone and strength. It is also good for toning up stomach muscles and buttocks, so that you can get rid of all those flabby areas.

· Walking is much lower impact on your ankles, knees, lower back, shoulders and neck than running – this makes it suitable exercise for more people. Remember to check with your doctor before starting an exercise programme.

· Wear loose and comfortable clothes when walking, with supportive trainers or shoes and sports socks.

· Walking with hand or ankle weights is never a good idea. These weights place a lot of extra stress on your joints and the risks are greater than the benefits. If you want to progress your walking programme, simply walk faster, uphill, combine walking and jogging in intervals, and increase your distance or time.

· As well as helping you to get fit and slim, walking is a great way to beat stress as it energises and relaxes. This is the cheapest stress management you will find anywhere!

· Here is a suggested walking program to keep you challenged:
Sunday - Long slow walk
Monday - Shorter, faster walk
Tuesday - Moderate distance, moderate pace
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Walk up a hill
Friday - Intervals of slow and brisk walking
Saturday - Rest.

· Or make walking a part of your day – walk to work, or part of the way. Walk at lunch time, after work, in the evening and at the weekend. You will find that not only will you feel more relaxed, you will feel fitter, you will lose weight, sleep better and stay focused and in control.

· Remember to stretch your leg muscles after walking to help prevent soreness and aches the next day:

Plank Stretch
Stand with your right leg forward in front of you. Your right leg should be straight. Your left leg should be bent, supporting your weight. Bend forward slightly, keeping your back straight and your stomach tight. You should feel a stretch in the rear leg area. Hold this position for 15 seconds and switch legs.

Quadriceps Stretch
Stand straight near a wall or chair. Bend your right leg at the knee until your right foot almost touches your bum. Hold your right foot behind you with your right hand and slowly pull your foot towards your bum. Hold this position for 15 seconds and repeat with the left leg.

Standing Calf Stretch
Place both hands against a wall. Place one leg in front of you and one leg behind you. Bend the front knees while keeping the rear leg straight. Keep them in this position during the stretch. Using your rear leg, push your self towards the wall. Your arms should prevent you from moving toward the wall, but your leg is stretching while it pushes towards the wall. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then change legs.

Achilles Stretch
Place both hands against a wall. Place one leg in front of you and one leg behind you. Bend both knees and keep them in this bent position. Using your rear leg, push your self towards the wall. Your arms should prevent you from moving toward the wall, but your leg is stretching while it pushes towards the wall. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then change legs.

So what are you waiting for? Those boots were made for walking so enjoy that walk to weight loss!

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Thanks to tescodiets.com who have provided this article.