Source: Best Health Magazine, Spring 2008; Photo: Corbis
Walking works. That’s the message that comes through loud and clear from fitness experts, researchers and everyday Canadian women. Walking is cheap and it can help you lose excess weight’and avoid the health problems that go along with it, such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Plus, studies have linked moderate exercise to lower rates of stress and certain cancers.
Our comprehensive walking regimen was developed by Jessica Zapata, a certified personal trainer and co-owner of Infinite Fitness in Edmonton, and vetted by Lynn Kanuka, RunWalk coordinator for SportMedBC, a Vancouver not-for-profit society of sport medical and paramedical practitioners. It focuses on building endurance and burning fat. So if you want to lose weight, ward off disease and have fun while you’re at it, try the Best Health Walking Plan today!
Get ready to move!
What’s the difference between fitness walking and everyday walking? ‘To lose weight and improve fitness levels, you really have to get your heart rate up,’ says Zapata. ‘A stroll isn’t enough.’ If you need to increase the intensity of your workout, consider walking faster, heading uphill or moving your arms more, perhaps with walking poles (available at most sporting goods stores).
For best results, invest in a heart monitor’a commonly used brand, Polar, starts at about $60’to measure your heart rate while you exercise. (You can program the monitor with your age and resting and maximum heart rates to automatically calculate your progress.)
If you find the walking plan a bit complex, or don’t want to buy a monitor, simply walk the recommended total time each day, increasing the speed and intensity of the shorter walks each week, and maintaining a steady but brisk pace for the longer walks.
Talk with your doctor before starting any fitness plan, and remember to rest and recharge every few days, rather than walk five days in a row.
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