6 Best Walking Workouts For Weight Loss

The best exercise motivation is seeing and feeling the results. Simply getting active will help the average person look and feel better, but in order to continue losing weight in the long haul you need to challenge your body with the most effective workouts. Some ways to avoid hitting a plateau in your walking program include picking up the pace, going a new distance, and integrating strength moves to build muscle, maximize your metabolism, and burn more fat. Here are the six crucial routines every walker needs to guarantee lasting weight loss.

1. Interval Walks
This type of routine involves alternating fast and moderate to easy bouts of walking, so you might walk for 2 minutes at a very brisk pace and then recover at a slower pace for 1 minute. (If you graphed your speed, it would look like a series of peaks and valleys). This type of pattern helps rev fat loss—you'll turn up your calorie burn by as much as 100% during your workout and afterward. It's best to vary the length of these workouts as well as the intervals themselves to keep your body challenged.

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2. Toning Walks
Using an exercise band while walking will help firm your upper body and boost your calorie burn. Building muscle is the best way to stoke your metabolism long-term. When Prevention tested exercise bands in a head-to-head competition with dumbbells and other popular strengthening workouts, we found that the bands delivered faster firming. Our band-users slimmed down and toned common trouble spots such as the belly, thighs, and butt by 30% more than women who did other types of strength training. Try carrying a light to medium resistance band while you walk and stretching the band overhead and in front of your body for 45- to 60-second intervals.

3. Long Walks
Endurance training (about an hour at a moderate intensity) has been shown to keep your calorie burn revved for up to 7½ hours post-exercise. Long walks will help maximize results because there is a dose response to exercise; that is, the more you do, the greater the benefits you'll receive. These will likely be the slowest walks you do in the program.

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4. Recovery Walks
Active recovery is important in any fitness program. During a recovery walk, you should walk as if you're in a bit of a hurry, so that you're slightly breathless, for about 20 minutes. While they don't blast fat like intervals, these tried-and-true calorie-burners have an important place when you're trying to walk off pounds. They're the perfect workout in between vigorous interval days to keep up your calorie burn without risking an injury.

5. Speed Walks
During these shorter workouts, you'll maintain a high intensity for the entire session, striding as if you're late for an important appointment, so you're only able to speak in very brief phrases. This type of training has been shown to specifically attack belly fat better than longer, lower- intensity exercise.

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6. Strength Training
Adding strength training to cardio workouts improves results: It boosts metabolism, increases weight loss, and can even help you eat less. In addition to the toning walks that target your upper body, you should aim to do lower body, core, and total body strength routines 2 to 3 days a week after your regular walks.

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