Ok, so we all know that waking is the best workout routine ever (arguably of course 🙂 ). However what are we supposed to do once our bodies adapt to the exercise? What if we don’t get the same bang of the buck anymore?
The problem is that once you start losing weight, your muscles are getting easier workouts. Two things well happen: your body will burn less calories to walk with the same speed, and you are likely to lose some muscles in the process (because less strength is required to perform the same activity).
So, what can we do to bring the workout to the new level? Here are some ideas:
Increase the speed.
That would be the most straight forward action. You increase the insensitivity, requirement for oxygen, heart rate – your body will need to burn more calories
Turn your walking into a HIIT workout.
HIIT workouts are the magic fat loss pills – they don’t take a lot of time and target fat loss like no other exercise. Try walking really fast (I mean really fast) for half a minute or a minute and then get back to standard tempo for a minute and repeat the whole set few times. Or try altering short sprints with walking. Our maybe switch between walking and sets of high jumps or burpees. You get the idea.
Find some hills.
Similar to the previous one. Where it differs is the way you alternate the intensity – rather than changing the speed, you can change the difficulty of your workout by walking on an uneven terrain. My personal favourite are really steep hills that take 3-5 minutes to climb. Get up and down 5 times on one of those and you won’t ever need insanity workout classes again.
Walk with wrist weights.
Now that’s the one that often gets mentioned bit I personally don’t recommend. The idea is that body needs more energy to cope with extra weight and you do and workout while walking. You really should keep your weight training separately to walking sessions – you will not see any major gains by combining those two together because you can’t use sufficient weight while walking and you don’t perform a full range of arm movement while walking. What you will do is putting your shoulder joints under unnecessary stress which could lead to injury. If you want to improve the insensitivity of your walking session by adding extra weight or engaging your arms check the two options below:
Wear a weight west.
This method is much safer to wrist weights, as it will distribute the weight evenly across the whole body. You can easily add weight to get your muscles to work as hard as they had to while walking few months ago before you started losing weight. Word of caution: if you are obese I wouldn’t recommend adding all weight back to begin with. Wait until you drop down to overweight weight range (check your BMI) and start adding weight gradually. I got myself a XTR vest few months ago and it’s brilliant – you can adjust the weight from nil to 30kg and use it with any type of bodyweight exercises: Freeletics, Tabta, TRX, you name it.
My personal favourite. All you need is a pair of Nordic Poles (they are slightly different from your standard trekking poles) and some training, and you’ll be using 90% of your muscles while you walk (basically it’s a portable cross-trainer) and burning 20% – 50% (researchers can’t seem to agree on the precise number) more calories compared to standard walking. Pair it with few of the suggestions above (extra weight, interval training) and you’ll turn your walk into a fut burning power workout. Off you go! 🙂