Three simple workouts that will take off major pounds.
Pick the one that’s perfect for you.
ZumeWalk - Walking for Fitness
Easy? Check. Cost-free? Check. Gets real results…that really last? Check, check. Well, what more could you want from a slim-down plan — except that it be flexible enough to fit into your busy schedule? Okay, this one does that, too.
In fact, this plan is so easy and natural, it hardly feels like a weight-loss program. Of course, that’s the beauty of walking: The simple act of placing one foot in front of the other — no gadgets, no gear, no trips to the gym — can totally transform your figure, even if you don’t change one thing about your diet!
Walking can also transform your health. Experts now say that taking roughly 10,000 steps per day sets off a chain reaction of physical benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced risk for heart disease and better odds for preventing breast cancer.
Does 10,000 steps sound overwhelming? A little perspective: It translates into 4.5 to 5 miles, or one hour of rapid walking. Still sound like a lot? Try breaking it into shorter bits: three 20-minute errands on foot, one breezy 30-minute walk before breakfast and another after dinner. Or simply commit to getting up once an hour, every hour throughout your day and moving for five minutes.
However you break down the steps, there’s only one fabulous result: a slimmer, more energetic you. In 60 minutes of walking, you’ll burn 300 to 500 additional calories. Keep that up for 10 days and you’ll lose a pound. Keep it up for a year and you’ll be 35 pounds lighter — without a minute of dieting.
Focus on miles, not minutes.When you start your walking workout, don’t be intimidated if you can’t keep pace with the time suggestions here. These are your ultimate goals, but the health and weight-loss benefits of walking are measured in number of steps, not minutes. Even if it takes you 20 minutes to walk a mile instead of the 13-minute ideal, don’t give up. Your first goal is to reach the 10,000-steps marker, then worry about whittling down the time it takes to reach it. Do a little more each day, but don’t overdo it. Good luck! (If you’ve never exercised or haven’t done so in a while, check with your doctor first.)
How to customize your workout:
A pedometer registers step count, but maximum health benefits also require the right exertion level. Rule of thumb: If you can’t catch your breath enough to say hi to a friend, slow down. Able to belt out your favorite song, no problem? You’re taking it too easy. To up your workout ante, consider these variations:
Increase your pace, not your stride. Taking more steps per minute instead of longer ones not only helps you walk faster (a 12- to 13-minute mile is optimal), it also elevates your heart rate without increasing your risk of injury.
Pretend you’re on a tightrope. Professional walkers place one foot directly in front of the other, as opposed to taking hip-width strides. Follow suit, and you’ll increase your energy output and use more major muscle groups.
Work your arms. Bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle and pump them back and forth as you step. This propels you forward faster and burns more calories.
Head for the hills! Adding an angle is the surest way to increase the intensity of your walking workout. If you’re on a treadmill, use the elevation button.
Use weights or walking sticks — both give a more complete workout. The two dumbbells should weigh less than 10 percent of your body weight. Walking sticks (not to be confused with the kind Granddad may have sported) increase energy expended by 20 percent; order a pair at nordicwalker.com.
Do you really have time for a walking workout? Absolutely — you just need to find a routine that fits into your already superfried schedule. Pick your profile from one of our three plans, and let us solve your when, where and how.
1. “I don’t have a full hour. Can I still squeeze in exercise?”
PROFILE: Your job or your family, or both, have you going all day long. You never get more than 20 minutes to yourself, and commuting eats up a lot of that time.
Your 60-minute walking workout:
15-MINUTE WALK TO WORK
Whether you usually drive yourself to the office or travel by public transportation, leave a little earlier and park farther away from your building or get off the bus a few stops earlier than usual and walk the rest of the way to your destination. (Note: Do not do this in high heels. Say no to fashion and wear sneakers instead. The alternative is to risk serious injury.) Remember, your goal is to walk a little more than a mile in 15 minutes. To figure out how far — or how many bus stops — that is, drive the route once and map the distance.
20-MINUTE LUNCH CRUNCH
Make your lunch hour count for something other than calories. Slip on your sneakers, exit the building, and do a few laps around the block. Window shopping is allowed, but to get your heart rate up, don’t be suckered into the stop-and-stare routine. Keep pumping your arms and shortening your stride so you squeeze in more steps per minute. On your way back to your desk, pick up a healthy bite to eat and plenty of water to replace lost fluid. See, that wasn’t so hard!
10-MINUTE COFFEE BREAK (A.K.A. POWER WALK)
It’s 3:00 in the afternoon…do you know where your energy is? If you’ve lost it somewhere in the office abyss, you’re not alone. The best way to regain your mojo is to hustle! This time, get a little tricky. If no one’s looking, do the grapevine on your stroll to the corner deli, walk down an empty hallway backward, climb the stairs with your eyes closed (use the railing!). The idea is to involve all of your senses, even those not normally active in an office environment. You’ll feel infinitely more alert when you return to your desk.
15-MINUTE REVERSE COMMUTE
Now it’s time to return home. Follow your morning walk backward for the evening trip. Remember, you’re shooting for 1.2 miles in 15 minutes, but it’s okay if it takes longer at first — just keep working on improving your time.
2. “I’ll concentrate and do it all at once.”
PROFILE: Lucky you. Finding a full hour to devote to working out is no problem — and you’d rather bite the bullet and get it done than worry about weaving it into your day.
Your 60-minute walking workout:
Standing in place, take five long, deep breaths. As you inhale, raise your arms slowly over your head; slowly lower them as you exhale.
Grab your watch and pedometer. Your goal is to walk one mile (roughly 2,200 steps), anywhere you want, in 15 minutes. Concentrate on coming down on your heel, rolling through the ball of your foot, and pushing off the toes with each step.
Now that you’ve warmed up, work out any kinks. Calves: Lean against a tree or wall and extend one leg behind you in a lunge position. Hold for five counts; switch legs. Quads: Bend one leg behind you, pulling your foot to your bottom with one hand and using a wall for support with the other; switch legs. Hamstrings: Sit on the ground and extend one leg in front of you, keeping the other one bent and relaxed. Reach for the toe of the straight leg for five counts; switch legs.
Get ready to hustle! For the next 12 minutes, you are going to move between a slow jog and a fast walk. Speed walking is easy once you get the hang of it — stay focused on taking short steps rather than longer ones. To really get going, pump your arms back and forth vigorously — no reason your legs should be doing all the work!
Okay, you survived. Now, drop and give us 10 — really! Mixing cardio with strength training in a workout burns more calories. Find a patch of grass and complete 10 push-ups (modify by pushing from your knees), 10 sit-ups and 10 leg lifts on each side.
Here’s the final intensity component to your routine. As before, keep yourself moving somewhere between a slow jog and a fast walk. Pay attention to your posture: Speed should come from bending your knees, not from lunging forward, which can cause injuries.
You’re officially heading home now. To keep your muscles long and limber, repeat the calf, hamstring and quad stretches you did earlier. This time, hold each position for 10 counts and feel how much deeper into the stretch you can go, now that your muscles are warm. Clasp your hands behind your back and pull up with your arms for a good chest, biceps and triceps release.
20-MINUTE COOLDOWN MILE
You’ve worked hard; now it’s time to slow the pace and return your heart rate to normal. As you walk this last mile, let your arms swing loosely at your sides. By the time you’ve hit 20 minutes, your breathing and pulse should be almost back to normal, so that you could easily carry on a conversation.
3. “Help! I hate to exercise!”
PROFILE: It’s tedious, time-consuming and boring. To hit 10,000 steps a day, your workout has to be fun, or it’s not going to happen!
Your 10,000-step walking workout:
WALK THE DOG
Start the day with a 10-minute morning stroll (1,000 steps).
CALL YOUR MOM
Pace nervously while reviewing your life — and receiving unasked-for advice — during a 15-minute phone call to Mom (1,000 steps).
Find a deli five blocks from your building and take a noontime trip (even just to get something to drink), hoofing it 10 minutes each way (2,000 steps).
March in place for 15 minutes during the evening news (1,000 steps).
You have to do it anyway, plus it’s 2,000 steps for 30 minutes.
AN AFTER-DINNER STROLL WITH HUBBY
Take a 20-minute sunset walk (3,000 steps): What better way to lose weight and rekindle your romance?
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