Briskly walking a mile at 4-5 Kmph burns nearly as many calories as running it at a moderate pace and confers similar fitness benefits. As an adjunct to low-fat diet, walking is a good way to lose weight. It helps strengthen bones and may help prevent or minimize osteoporosis. It also reduces the blood pressure and lessens chance of heart problem.
WALK ON VARIED TERRAINS FOR MORE BENEFITS
While walking up hill, leaning forward slightly makes it easier on the leg muscles. Slowing down the pace slightly and taking shorter steps avoids jarring of the knee joints and muscle soreness. Walking up hill burns more calories. Walking on grass burns more calories than walking on a track. Waking on soft sand increases the calorie expenditure by almost 50% provided the normal pace is maintained. Also it is beneficial for Arthritis of the knees. Walking up stairs burns extra calories and provides extra workout for the leg muscles since the legs lift the entire weight of the body at every step.
USE OF ARMS AND ELBOWS TOO BURN MORE CALORIES
Moving the arms in opposition to the legs, helps counter balance the motion of the legs. When the pace increases, pumping the arms from the shoulder instead of the elbow joint while keeping the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle helps ensure burning 5 to 10% more calories and ensures upper body workout. Keeping the wrists straight and hands unclenched reduces fatigue. The arms should be swung in a small arch with the elbow coming to about the middle of the chest and as far back as the buttocks.
Lengthening the stride, swinging the extended arms freely with increased vigor and aiming for a faster pace (about 6 Kmph) is also beneficial. As the pace increases, the feet should land closer to an imaginary center line stretching in front.
RETRO WALK (WALKING BACKWARDS)
This strengthens the quadriceps, hamstrings, abdominal and back muscles. Starting slowly at first waking only a quarter of a mile; increase the distance covered gradually. Retro walk on a plain surface like a track to avoid running into traffic, other pedestrians or trees.
Walking against the resistance offered by water in a pool, beach or lake at a steady pace can burn 300 to 500 calories per hour. Walking 2 Kmph in thigh-high water is equivalent to walking 3 Kmph on land. It is advisable to walk in waist high water to avoid tiring easily.