Step up your walking routine to lose weight by going beyond a stroll and engaging in aerobic walking. Aerobic walking is quick-pace walking, at a level of effort and duration that gets your heart pumping in its target zone.
You will know that you are pushing yourself when your breathing becomes more rapid (but you can still talk in short phrases) and you are pumping your arms. The longer, more intense and frequent your walking sessions are, the faster you will lose unwanted pounds. Your goal is to work hard and long enough to increase your heart rate to an aerobic, calorie-torching zone, about 60% to 80% of its maximum rate. Beginners should strive to maintain a heart rate closer to 60% of maximum and experienced, very fit individuals can safely strive to reach closer to 80%.
You can calculate your target heart rate range using your age. Simply subtract your age from 220. The maximum heart rate for a 47-year-old is 173 beats per minute (bpm). Multiply this number by 0.6 and 0.8 to find your target heart rate range. The ideal range for a 47-year-old would be approximately 104 to 138 bpm. If you do not have a pulse or heart rate monitor, count your heart beat for 10 seconds during your workout and multiply that number by six (for 60 seconds or one minute). Increase the intensity of your workout if it is below 60% of your target heart rate and decrease the intensity it if your heart rate is above 80% of its maximum. For weight loss, walk at an intense enough level to reach your target heart rate and stay there for 30 to 60 minutes, most days of the week.
Increase intensity slowly by walking faster, walking up an incline, ‘hiking’ up steep hills and/or adding a weighted vest or backpack (do so with caution). Keep in mind that the more fit you become and the more weight you lose, the harder you will have to work to reach your target heart rate.
- Cleveland Clinic: Heart and Vascular Health & Prevention. Exercise and Weight Control
- U.S. National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health). Health Topics: Exercise and Weight Loss
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