Weight loss: Simple exercise can help speed up results – how to burn more calories

Workout: Cardiologist on the health benefits of walking

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During the throes of the pandemic, when the nation was only permitted to go outside for one hour of exercise per day, many found solace in their daily walks. Despite gyms reopening and exercise classes resuming, some still prefer working out in the outdoors.  Here are seven smart strategies to maximise your outdoor walks, according to a fitness expert.

Joanna Dase, Senior Director of Curves International and Chief Operating Officer of Curves Europe, recommends seven easy ways to boost your walks.

Curves is a fitness programme for women which combines strength training, cardio and stretching.

So far it has helped 10 million women improve their fitness.

To truly benefit from a walking routine, Joanna explains that first and foremost, you need to “maintain it frequently and continually find new ways to challenge yourself”.

Joanna said: “The number of calories you burn depends on speed, distance, weight, and the area you’re walking on such as hills or flat surfaces.”

To ramp up the calorific burn, opt for a hilly hike rather than a pavement promenade.

And on your descent, walking downhill has some promising benfits.

“Downhill walking trains your body in deceleration and makes use of different muscles.”

Plus, using the stairs can almost double your calorie burn. 

Using your arms is another tried and tested method for maximising a walk and making it more powerful.

In fact, swinging your arms “in an exaggerated manner” will benefit your entire body, according to the fitness expert.

“For an added push, bend your elbows 90 degrees and pump them as you stride”, to burn an extra 15 percent more calories.

Bracing one’s core is fundamental when walking, explained Joanna, as well as keeping your arms swinging.

This is great for burning more calories as the action increases your heart rate by five beats per minute.

If in doubt, mimic the movements you would do on a cross-trainer. 

Another tip: “Stand with your heels and head against a wall before you set off and try to maintain that position on your walk”.

She added: “When you arrive at a crossing, take a deep breath, and stretch your spine.” 

Joanna also advises walkers to “pick up the pace”.

For those who always find themselves strolling at the same pace, lively music could be the way to go.

There are plenty of playlists specific to walking available on YouTube, or make your own to keep yourself energised and motivated.

To make things more fun, ask a faster paced friend, partner, or energetic child to tag along.
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