Walking is not only a great first exercise, it can also be a forever exercise.
Here are some ideas to show you how to take it to the next level.
Making walking more of a challenge enables you to burn more calories and raise your working heart rate. You can do this by working out on a treadmill with an incline setting and wearing a weighted vest. You can start with either one to scale up or combine both ideas for a greater challenge.
According to the American Council on Exercise, wearing a weighted vest is a great option if you’re relatively new to exercise because it won’t feel as difficult as ramping up your speed, for instance. If you choose a vest that weighs about 15 percent of your bodyweight, you can burn 12 percent more calories when walking at 2.5 miles per hour — an easy pace. You can achieve a slightly higher calorie burn by wearing a vest that’s just 10 percent of your bodyweight if you walk on a treadmill at that speed and at an incline with a 5 or 10 percent grade.
To ease into the combined approach, walk for 5 minutes at a flat or 0 grade, then 5 minutes at 5 percent grade, followed by 5 minutes at 10 percent grade. Finish up by going back to the 5 percent grade before a cool-down period at 0 grade.
You can also adapt the vest and use of incline to interval training. After a warm-up, walk at a 10 percent grade for 2 minutes, then at 0 grade for 4 minutes. Repeat the sequence for up to 30 minutes.
Remember that if you haven’t exercised in some time, check with your doctor before starting any routine.
Find out more about the calorie-burning benefits of wearing a weighted vest at ACEFitness.org.