Is walking enough of a workout? The body craves cardio. Just 30 minutes a day can improve heart health, lung capacity, bone density, and mental clarity. And unlike most aerobic alternatives, walking is an easy form of exercise because it’s free and requires no special equipment.
But if you’re walking to help manage your weight, these guidelines should be followed:
For cardio to count, the intensity level must be high. Slowly strolling down the street, or wandering around the aisles of the grocery store, are not considered aerobic activities. To fry fat and shave numbers off the scale, your heart and muscles must maintain a consistent level of exertion. So whether you’re walking outdoors or on a treadmill, keep it brisk and challenging. Incorporating inclines is an excellent way to make your muscles work.
One way to examine your exercise intensity is to perform the “talk test” when walking with a partner. Once you’ve been moving for about 10 minutes, monitor your speech. If you are walking at a quick pace, conversation shouldn’t be smooth since exertion requires more oxygen.
The body burns more calories when duration is increased. To support your weight goals, you should do at least 30 minutes of cardio a day, five times a week.
Cardio represents only one part of the weight loss equation. In addition to diet, the body needs strength training, too. Without it, muscle imbalances can develop, which makes the body susceptible to injury. Strong supporting muscles also help propel and power daily movements like stair climbing and standing up from a seated position.
For years, aerobic training consisted primarily of steady state cardio. Think of setting your treadmill for 30 minutes and walking at the same pace for the entire workout. This will burn calories, but not as efficiently as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a unique blend of strength training and aerobics. Movements are executed quickly, with little rest in between exercises. Due to its intensity, workouts are done for shorter periods of time. HIIT makes the heart rate fluctuate, moves more of the major muscle groups, and keeps the body guessing from start to finish.
For your next weekly workout plan, dedicate three days to walking 30 minutes and two days to this 20-minute HIIT circuit. For best results, rest 30 seconds between exercises and two minutes between rounds. Complete entire circuit three times.
Make the most out of your March by stepping it up.