Walking is an effective form of exercise because it has low impact on the body and you do not need any fancy gear to do it. As an added benefit, especially for women, walking is weight bearing, which means it helps build strong bones. If getting skinny is on your agenda, walking can satisfy that need as well. Even though walking might not be complicated or difficult, you still need discipline to achieve satisfactory results.
Start out with a warmup. Walk slowly when you first begin then gradually increase your pace through a five-minute time span. This will slowly raise your core body temperature and supply your muscles with oxygen-rich blood.
Increase your speed to a moderate pace. Walk at a speed that causes you to breathe heavily and break a sweat but can still carry on a conversation. Stay at this pace for the duration of your workout.
Walk long enough on a regular basis to achieve your goal. The American College of Sports Medicine notes that you may need to do 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity five days a week to experience weight loss. A 200-lb. person burns about 515 calories in 90 minutes walking at a brisk pace. To lose 1 lb., you need to create a 3,500-calorie deficit. Walk in several sessions during the day to accumulate your time if this is more convenient.
Increase your progress by doing interval training. Walk at a moderate pace when you first start out, and then walk as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Reduce your pace to a slow walk for 60 seconds, then walk fast again. Follow this alternating pattern for the rest of your workout. The Mayo Clinic suggests interval training for faster weight loss results. Alternate back and forth between walking and jogging for an even greater weight loss effect.
Use proper form when you walk. Swing your arms fluidly, push off the ground forcefully with your feet and keep your shoulders lifted in your workouts. Look straight ahead at all times and never lean on the handrail if you use a treadmill.
Add as much additional walking to your day as possible. Walk up stairs instead of using elevators and escalators, go for power walks during your lunch break and park at the far end of parking lots to increase your walking distance. All of these bouts will increase your daily caloric expenditure and make you skinny faster.
Invest in a pair of shoes designed specifically for walking. Use these shoes just for your walking workouts.
Stretch before and after your walking sessions. Spend five minutes beforehand doing dynamic stretches, which are performed in motion. These will acclimate your body to exercising movement. Perform stretches like leg swings, alternating toe touches, high knees, calf raises and arm circles. Do static stretches after your walking sessions, which will keep your muscles lengthened and help you recover faster before your next workout. Static stretches are held for an extended period of time. A standing quadriceps stretch is an example. Lift your leg, grab your foot, and pull up until you feel a stretch in the front of your thigh.
Feel free to incorporate hills into your walking workouts. This will make you burn more calories and it will tax your muscles with more emphasis.
Check with your doctor prior to beginning a strenuous walking routine.