Step this way for your healthiest summer self! Our four-week walking plan will help you trim down and feel fit and fabulous.
Adding walking to your healthy-eating regimen is an easy and effective way to shed unwanted kilos. So we’ve developed a four-week plan to help you put your best foot forward this summer.
Our program starts with short walks, making it easy to slot into your lifestyle — whether you’re a morning person up with the larks; prefer to lace up your sneakers at lunch; or want a de-stressing walk at the end of a busy day.
Wear comfortable and supportive shoes, and loose-fitting clothing. (And it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about any new exercise you’re planning before you start.)
Choose a route with some slight hills. If you’re on a treadmill, use the elevation tool. As your fitness improves, aim to challenge yourself with steeper hills or more of an incline. This will help tone your muscles too.
Always start with a five-minute warm-up at a speed that feels comfy. Once your muscles are warm, pick up the pace to a speed that leaves you a little breathless. Then in the last five minutes slow down to a relaxed stride to get your breath back.
And keep going
When life gets in the way and you miss a walk (or two), don’t despair! The next day get back on track, pick up where you left off, and just keep going.
Our walk-it-off program aims to get you bustling through the streets or gym at a heart-healthy robust pace in less than a month.
Walking briskly helps reduce body fat, and aids with building and preserving muscle. It’s also shown to prevent heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. It promotes mental well-being too. So what are you waiting for? Whack on those walking shoes and go that extra mile!
Burn more with each step
Take shorter, faster steps: This hikes up both your heart rate and your metabolism.
Work your arms: Bending your elbows and swinging your arms while walking helps you move faster, and increases your workout.
Head for the hills: As your body adjusts to your new walking routine, boost your workout by adding steeper hills or more of an incline on the treadmill.
Stand straight: Resist bending into hills and keep your posture upright — it will strengthen your butt and leg muscles, and you’ll burn more kilojoules.
Raise your rate: To reap maximum health benefits you need to increase your heart rate, so beware of accidental traps that slow you down such as texting, reading your phone, strolling with a friend who’s less fit, or walking a dog that likes to stop at every lamp post.
Get the gadgets: If you want to enjoy walking as a long-term habit, technology can add fresh challenges to your workout. Consider a heart-rate monitor to keep you in the zone. Or try the phone app, Map My Walk or iCardio, which measures your pace, distance and kilojoules burned. Tracking your progress works as a great motivator too!
Walking strengthens your bones and reduces bone-density loss as you age.
The average woman burns...
300kJ (72cal) walking slowly for 20 minutes
1600kJ (383cal) walking briskly for one hour
(Source: Medibank Energy Balancer, based on a 70kg woman)