Parents to a new born or a toddler walk all the time. Its like they understand that walking is a part of raising up kids and almost all the small or big chores involve some amount of walking. For instance one goes to the park with a sleeping baby, when babies cry you try and assuage him by walking and swinging, putting babies to sleep by walking, the scenarios are endless. Some parents also believe that walking amounts to some calorie burn and that way may be they can stay fit and not gain weight. But is normal walking really an exercise? Can you actually lose or maintain weight by simply walking?
Lets us give you the math. When a normal grown up adult walks for an hour, they burn in the vicinity of 400 to 500 calories in an hour. That isn’t bad considering parents barely get time out of their hectic life with a baby. But the real magic comes when you improvise the walking with some ad dons and make it more strenuous for the rest of the muscles in your body. Let us lay it out for you:
Brisk walk: As the name suggest, this is just like walking but at an increased speed. this forms the first exercise as you start to amp things up from normal walking.A study defines brisk walk as 100 steps per minute for adults and will have your heart racing in under a minute. If you vary your terrain that is include some uphill movements, this will further increase the calorie burn rate. You can also switch the speed up and down by keeping 1 min brisk followed by 30 seconds of normal as you start with your regime. Another add on is to tuck your stomach in while walking and hold it there for as long you can. this will indulge more muscles which will increase the intensity of your workout.
Lunge Walk : This can be best performed in a park or where there is some space in and around your house. Take a big step forward with your preferred leg, bend your knee so that your thighs are parallel to the ground, straighten up to stand and bring the other leg forward going through the same motion. Continue in this way, taking giant steps and bending and straightening your front leg. One can set the number of sets a per their fitness level, but try and do at least 3 sets of 10 reps for each leg.
High Knees/butt kicks: Resume normal walk but instead of normal strides, lift your knees as high as you can to your chest with each step. Key thing here is to keep your spine straight and your abdominals tight. Do this for atleast 30 seconds and then start with butt kicks where you kick you heals to your butt. This can be done through walking or jogging. After 30 seconds revert back to the high knees movement and try and do 3 sets of each without stopping.
Sideways walk/Jog: On a normal flat surface, turn your body sideways to the path start by walking sideways with scissoring your feet in a criss cross motion. Once you get comfortable with the motion you can turn things up into a jog. After every 30 seconds, you can turn sides.
Walk with weights: If you incorporate some weights in your walk or jog, you directly switch up the intensity of your workout. For instance, Using 5 lbs free weights during your walk will help tone your arms and burn more calories. However, be sure that you are holding/lifting the weights with proper form to avoid excessive soreness or injury. You can also utlise sand bags which come in all sizes around your ankles, which adds variation to the walk and you also do not need to carry weight in your hands.
Bonus tip: While you’re walking, pause every once in a while to do a standing abdominal crunch. Contract the abs, then slowly bend the left leg and raise it to chest level. Bend the arms at the elbow as well. As you do this, simultaneously twist the torso and the arms to the right. Repeat the same process on the opposite leg. Do this for about one minute.
To conclude, always observe that are you able to build up some sweat through the exercise that you are doing. That will give you a good measure of how effective the walking along with the add ons has been. If you do not feel the sweat you can always increase the sets and the reps.
Happy Walking 🙂
Also check out