A consistent walking routine can be an excellent way to get rid of excess belly fat and tone your body. But if you’ve reached a weight-loss plateau, don’t worry. From simply strolling leisurely to omitting strength training, these common walking mistakes can easily be fixed to help you reach your weight-loss goals:
While walking at a leisurely pace is better than no exercise at all, research shows walking at a brisk pace is the best for torching calories and weight loss. If you find it hard to up the pace, try doing so for shorter intervals of 1–2 minutes, with a minute of recovery in between. This HIIT-style workout can help rev your metabolism and break through a weight-loss plateau.
If you stick to the same route, over time your body adapts and it won’t be as challenging. To boost weight-loss (and keep things exciting) change your scenery a couple days a week. This could be a hilly trail, the beach, an urban hike or even a new park. Not only will you feel mentally refreshed, but different terrain also engages different muscle groups to burn more calories.
Strength training is a key part of weight-loss since it helps build muscle, which burns more calories at rest compared to fat. Whether it’s with simple bodyweight exercises or using equipment like kettlebells, strength training can help you build the core, glute and hip strength needed to walk further and faster. It can also help prevent injury, which means you’ll reach your goals sooner.
Poor walking technique slows your pace, causing you to tire more quickly, and potentially results in injury. Since this can affect how far and long you are able to walk (or keep you from walking altogether), working on improving your form is essential to losing weight. Pay attention to the following on your next walk:
- Stride length: A lot of walkers overstride. If your steps are too long, your speed can suffer and more stress is placed on your joints. To check your stride length, lift a foot and lean forward. Where the foot naturally falls is where you should be striking the ground. Shorter steps increase your cadence and make it easier to walk faster.
- Arm swing: Swinging your arms helps you get more power and propels your forward motion
- Standing tall: Slouching as you get tired is a common problem when walking. While you might need to strengthen your core to make it happen, work on keeping your back straight and your head up.
A hard walking workout can sometimes make you feel hungrier than normal. While you want to fuel your walks with smart snacks, it’s important to pay attention to your overall diet, too, to make sure you’re in a calorie deficit for weight loss. The MyFitnessPal app is a great way to track your food intake and keep you motivated to reach your goals.