Many people find more intense regimented work out programs to be intimidating or hard to follow. It is easy to lose interest in a workout because the same scenery of the gym is boring or you find the coordination required for an aerobics class a little scary. Simply walking is a great alternative if the above descriptions strike a chord. But can walking be a good enough physical activity to lose your extra weight or be healthier in body and spirit? The answer is yes, if you walk fast enough.

Walking is easy. You don’t need an expensive gym membership or special equipment beyond a really good pair of shoes. You can also fit this activity between the other commitments in your life. If your walk gets boring you can easily change the route, add some great music on a walkman, or ask a friend to walk with you for inspiration or company.

Walking can be conducive to losing 1 pound a week if you can keep up a brisk pace for an entire hour. You can burn as much as 450 calories an hour and when walking 7 days a week that adds up to approximately 3200 calories (a pound of fat). If you follow a sensible diet along with this regime you can safely achieve a two pound loss per week.

Walking isn’t hard, we do it naturally, but some guidelines can help create a great workout that won’t become tedious in a week.

  • Walk briskly with a short your stride while pumping your arms. Always shoot for a 15 minute mile if possible and walk for at least 30 minutes to an hour. If you can’t maintain a brisk pace start out slower and work up to it.
  • Play some music without becoming completely oblivious to your surroundings. You should always be able to hear traffic noises and other people to be safe.
  • Wear a pedometer so you can track your progress. Try to add some steps each week to push yourself.
  • Walk with a friend. It is amazing how fast the time and distance will go with someone you enjoy walking beside you. Challenge each other and track your progress. If none of your friends are up to the workout take your dog especially if you walk at night.
  • Start a walking journal to track what you have achieved. This sounds simple but it truly makes a great impact when you look back on all your walking days and see progress.
  • Don’t slouch, walk tall, relax your shoulders and hold your abs firm as you stride along.
  • Bring along some water to sip as you walk. Getting dehydrated can ruin all the lovely benefits of moving your body.
  • As you gain confidence and energy ramp up your route to include hills and beaches and other challenges.
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