As the owner of Personal Training studio you may find it strange that I advocate walking as an effective activity to lose weight, but there is good reason. For many it is the most realistic, affordable and effective method of staying healthy.
That is not to say walking is the most time efficient way of stripping back the pounds, and if you are looking to achieve maximum results in the shortest possible time it will leave you disappointed, but if you are patient and approach your fitness and health as a long-term plan, walking is quite possibly the best mode of exercise available.
We all know that going for a hike gets you in the great outdoors and amongst the action rather than sat indoors watching the box, but walking for health is about more than taking a leisurely stroll. Walking is most effective when it is approached like any other carefully considered exercise regime, it must be monitored and measureable. Progress is key if you want to use walking to improve, and not just maintain your health.
Not everybody has the experience to create a progressive walking system so to help you get going I have created a two-week walking plan everybody can follow and get results from, regardless of fitness levels and location.
When coupled with a solid nutrition plan, this daily walking routine can be everything you need to stay fit and healthy so there really are no more excuses.
Lets start by looking at Walking Technique;
1. Head erect and centered, eyes looking forward 15-20 feet ahead, chin tucked in.
2. Shoulders square and relaxed, back straight.
3. Arms bent at 90 degrees close to torso, fingers in a loose fist form.
4. Core engaged, Buttocks, and Stomach tucked in to avoid back pain, a position known as a pelvic tilt, this also strengthens lower back muscles.
5. Heel to Toe. When you walk stride out, landing on your heel and roll forward to the ball of your foot pushes off for the next step. Heel to toe will exercise the front of your legs and calves.
6. Stride. Pick your leg up from the hip, to increase your pace try to lengthen your stride and step more frequently, concentrate on your feet landing on parallel tracks either side of an imaginary line.
7. Pump your arms. This transforms your walk from lower body to a total body aerobic workout. Driving opposite arm to striding leg creates momentum and rhythm, and strengthens arms and torso.
Pedometer: This is your best friend for monitoring progress and will allow you to monitor distance. They cost between £5 and £30, but we do suggest investing in a better quality model as they are more reliable.
Good shoes: Designed for walking. A good sports footwear retailer will have a range of options.
Stretch at the end: Hip flexors, Quads, Hamstrings, calves and upper body. Do not stretch at the beginning before your muscles are warm.
Drink Water; Make sure you have water before you set off.
Enjoy: The most important rule. Its nice to be outside in the fresh air, even if it is cold.
14 day walking plan
Week one - Building your fitness
We will start with 30 minute walks aiming for a gradual increase in your pace and distance over the next 14 days.
On your first walk, don't push too hard but do record how many steps you took, this will set your starting point and the base from which you can build your walking programme.
If you managed 4000 steps in 30 minutes on your first walk lets have a look at how you would progress this over the next 7 days.
Day one - 4000 steps.
Day two - 4100 steps.
Day three - 4200 steps.
Day Four - 4300 steps.
Day five - 4400 Steps.
Day Six - One hour Power walk 8000 Steps (200% of day one).
Day Seven - 90 Minute leisure walk. Walking is to be enjoyed and with your new fitness levels this should be, quite literally, a walk in the park.
If you don't manage an extra 100 steps a day, don't worry, as long as you take at least one more step in the 30 minutes than you did the day before you are making progress.
Week two - Improving your fitness.
As you start feeling a higher level of fitness it is time to up the ante and push your fitness levels on to new heights.
Day Eight - Power walk of 45 minutes. Aim for 150% of steps achieved on day five.
Day Nine - One hour stamina and endurance walk. Aim for 200% of steps achieved in day one 30 minute walk.
Day Ten - Power walk for 30 mins. Aim to beat Day 5 steps.
Day Eleven - One hour stamina and endurance walk - aim for a faster time than on day nine.
Day Twelve - 30 minute Hill walk - time to really build the muscle strength in your legs. Find a local hill and get climbing. Aim for 90% of day one steps.
Day Thirteen - Power walk of 45 minutes - Aim to take More steps than day Eight.
Day Fourteen - 90 Minute leisure walk. Relax and enjoy a long walk knowing that you are a fitter, stronger and better version of yourself.
It really is that simple. Try and stick to this simple to follow walking plan for the next two weeks and notice the difference.
If you have any questions please do get in touch, I am always happy to help.