Walking for weight loss & better health

Walking for weight loss & better health

Tips to turn your daily walk in to a cardio session

Tips to turn your daily walk in to a cardio session
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For me, there is so much more to walking than a gentle stroll!  It is my form of exercise.  Before anyone gets on their high horse saying walking isn’t exercising, then you haven’t walked with me!

Do you want to turn your daily walk in to a cardio session? You can turn your daily walk in to a cardio session with ease.  From walking up hills, walking faster, walking with weights, using the high intensity interval training method and make working out in your fat burning mode.  Walking can easily be turned in to a cardio session.  Here are some tips to help you turn your daily walk in to a cardio session.

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Before we get in to the tips I wanted to share with you my walking journey.  I had been overweight for a while and the extra weight and inactivity was causing me to have pains in my legs and hips.  Each time I got up from the sofa it hurt to walk.  I know it was the weight and the pressure on my joints.  I decided enough was enough I had to do something about it.  The thing is I blooming well hate have to do traditional exercise.  You know the exercise where you get home, after dinner you get changed, you either head out to the gym or get ready to start your exercise dvd in front of the TV.

It took me a long time to realise this but I hate doing that.  I wanted something that I could get done in the general day to day of what I already do.  My husband suggested that I could skip the bus from work to the train station and instead walk.  I was very reluctant at the start.  To be honest I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to make the walk which is around 40 minutes.  However, what I did like about this idea was that I would be doing it on my way home, I would be doing the journey anyway, I would be going home so wouldn’t have to worry about getting changed and I wouldn’t have to do anything when I got home like getting changed and heading out to the gym.

I can tell you that first week of walking I was wrecked!  I was so and tired.  But it was a good sore and tired.  It was from exercising.  I am about 5 months in now and I’m loving my walk.  I’ve read so much about the benefits of walking that I wrote a dedicated post about it here.  I’ve also benefited from weight loss (you can read my post on How Walking Helps Lose Weight) However the most wonderful thing about walking as exercise is that I have been able to stick at it.

Walking is a great exercise for weight loss and for toning your body.  You can also turn your daily walk in to a great cardio session too.

Below I talk about some of the ways that I get the most out of my daily walk and how I turn it in to a cardio session to rival all other cardio sessions.  So let’s pop on those trainers, lace up, step outside and let’s get this cardio party started!

walking as a cardio session

Don’t get dizzy walking up that hill!

Walking up that hill will make your daily walk a cardio workout

Walking uphill is a great way to add cardio to your daily walk.  I have several hills that I walk up on my daily routine.  It takes more effort going uphill and it burns more calories, in fact around 50 per cent more calories.  Another thing to throw in to your walking mix is to walk on different surfaces.  I try to add in some beach walking to my weekly routine.  Walking on sand is harder so again it makes for a great cardio workout.  Plus the sea air is also relaxing – not to mention it makes me go to sleep with ease!

Walking faster will make your daily walk a cardio workout

Try walking faster for a cardio workout.  I don’t walk my full 40 minutes at full speed.  I did try a faster speed recently and felt awful.  I just did too much!  So after that I have been increasing my speed gradually.  I’m also doing a bit of a high intensity interval training where I walk fast for 1 minute then a slower pace for 30 seconds then faster.  And so on.  It certainly gets my heart pumping and by the time I get to the train station the sweat is certainly making an appearance!  Why not try walking faster to see what type of cardio workout you can have?

walking in to a cardio workout

This is me walking up a very steep incline in San Francisco.  You don’t need to go this far for your incline or this steep!

Use your muscles during your daily walk to get a cardio workout

If you walk on a regular basis then your muscles will already be getting a great workout.  Especially your bum and thighs.  If you want to tone up even more you could pull in your belly and clench your bum as you walk.  It will get you an even greater cardio workout.  If you want to know more of how walking tones your body and tips to help you then head over to my blog post on How Walking Tones Your Body.

Use your arms to make your walk in to a cardio session

I do this but only on some occasions.  Bend your arms at 90 degrees and swing/pump them as you walk.  This gives your upper body a great workout too and really does get the blood pumping through your body and make your breathing faster.  I also ensure that my head is held high rather than hunching forward.  I’ve found if I bend forward it really hurts my back and I can’t walk as fast.  So head high and back straight with your hips rotated slightly forward.  It did take me a little while to get used to this but once you master it, you will be flying in no time at all.

Add in some weights to make your walk in to a cardio session

Another way to work out your upper body is to use hand weights.  You can also use water bottles too.  If you use weights then it will help tone your arms and upper body during your walk.  I don’t do this but want to try it soon to see what the impact is so I will most certainly report back to you!

walking as a cardio session

Music is a great way to feel good. I would recommend you keep your eyes open when walking though!

Make your walk in to a cardio session with upbeat music

There is nothing that gets me to walk faster than the thumping beat of music.  Create a playlist of your favourite tunes and use this to motivate yourself.  It’s also easy to do some HIIT intervals with music as you can walk fast during the chorus and slow down again when the next verse comes along!  You really can have a great cardio session listening to music.  I can’t recommend it enough.

So these are my top tips for making your daily walk in to a cardio session.  I am so passionate about walking for exercise.  It is one of the least expensive ways to get fit, lose weight as well as many other benefits.  For example a recent study from the University of Cambridge found that a brisk 20-minute daily walk can reduce a person’s risk of early death by 25 per cent. Wow!

Walking has also been something that can help me with stress and it all came about when I watched a program where Dr William Bird – one of the first doctors in the UK to prescribe walking to his patients. His patients have seen fantastic health benefits.  So a 30 minute brisk walk is something to be proud of and not scoffed at.

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