Weight loss is easiest when cutting calories is combined with exercise. The best type of exercise for weight loss is cardiovascular or aerobic. This includes biking, swimming, dancing, hiking and walking. Weight loss can be achieved by swinging the arms whilst walking, but there are some tips and techniques that can help to make walking more effective and safe. Before starting any exercise programme, check with a doctor who can make recommendations based on personal health.
Walking on a regular basis while swinging the arms will burn off calories, which in turn can lead to weight loss. Since 0.45kg (1 lb) is equal to 3,500 calories, it is necessary to burn off 500 calories per day through walking to lose 0.45kg per week, if no changes are made to calorie intake. In general, the more intense the walk, the more calories you burn. The amount of calories burned also depends on current weight, states MayoClinic.com. For example a 72kg (160 lb) person can burn about 180 calories in one hour, when walking at a pace of 3.2km per hour (2 mph) A 90kg (200 lb) person doing the same exercise would burn about 230 calories. If the pace was increased to 5.6 km per hour (3.5 mph), the 72kg person would burn 275 calories per hour and the 90kg person would burn about 345 calories in an hour.
For those new to exercise just walking at a pace of 5.6km per hour should be enough to get the heart rate up and burn calories. However, over time doing the same workout the same way will eventually lead to the body becoming accustomed to the workout and weight loss may cease. At this point, you must increase intensity, which may involve holding hand weights while walking. According to the American Council on Exercise, or ACE, using 0.45kg to 1.35kg (1 to 3 lb) weights can increase the heart rate and burn more calories. However, swinging hand weights while walking can lead to shoulder, neck, elbow, wrist and back injuries. ACE states that just swinging the arms more vigorously without weights can increase the heart rate and caloric expenditure. If you use weights, try wrist weights that do not need to be grabbed or wear a weighted vest.
Another way to increase intensity while swinging the arms is to use walking poles. The goal is to keep the hands, wrists and shoulders relaxed while using the poles to push off the ground, so longer and faster strides can be taken. Using walking poles can raise caloric expenditure by 22 to 46 per cent, reports the American College of Exercise.
To really know how many calories you burn during a walk, use a heart rate monitor that also keeps track of calories burned. It is easy to overestimate activity level and then get discouraged when weight loss does not occur. A good heart rate monitor allows the user to input personal information such as gender, age and weight and then keeps track of the intensity of the workout. At the end of the walk, the actual number of calories burned will be displayed. This allows a walker to adjust her intensity to achieve a weight loss goal.
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- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for weight loss: calories burned in 1 hour
- American Council on Exercise: Do the benefits outweigh the risks if individuals hold dumbbells in their hands whilst doing step aerobics or other cardio activities?
- American College of Sports Medicine: Intensify your walking programme