Get back in shape with a new outdoor walking regimen that takes advantage of the natural terrain. You can lose 8 pounds in 4 weeks!
We all know that walking is a great way to stay fit, but were you aware that you can maximize your results by changing your routine—going from sidewalk to sand to trails? To start, grab a watch that shows seconds, and choose from one of these three plans.
Workout #1: WALK NEAR WATER
You can burn 200 calories in 35 minutes.
Stepping on sand takes more effort than walking on pavement, so when you hit the beach you burn calories faster than when you take a neighborhood stroll. And sand is easier on joints and bones than sidewalks are. You can get to that 200-calorie goal in 35 minutes, with less wear and tear.
- First 5 minutes: To warm up, walk on wet sand near the water's edge at a pace that allows you to talk and breathe comfortably.
- Next 4 minutes: Speed up to a brisk pace so that you're breathing more deeply. You should still be able to talk in full sentences but not as comfortably as during the warm-up. For the last 90 seconds of this segment, work up to a pace at which you're covering more ground and your breathing is labored. You should be able to speak only in short sentences.
- Next minute: Move to softer, drier sand and slow your pace slightly to allow yourself to speak more comfortably. Walking in soft sand boosts calorie burn and tones calves and thighs, but it also can increase the risk of ankle sprains. (If you have weak ankles, stay on harder sand for this segment.)
- Next 20 minutes: Go back to the darker, harder sand and spend 4 minutes walking at the brisk pace from the earlier 4-minute segment. Next, walk on softer sand at a slightly slower pace for 1 minute. Alternate between the two terrains.
- Last 5 minutes: Stroll at a pace that allows you to carry on a conversation comfortably.
Beach walking 101:
Follow these tips to steer clear of accidents and injuries while you're getting a workout on the sand.
- Slip on the right shoes. Wear reef-walkers, athletic sandals or lightweight walking shoes. Although it's tempting to go barefoot on the beach, you need to support your feet and protect them from broken shells and glass and other sharp objects.
- Practice safe sun exposure. Slather on an SPF 30 sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection, even if the sky is cloudy. Reflection off the water and sand can increase your chances of sunburn.
- Limber up your joints. Before starting out, warm up with gentle ankle rolls—draw imaginary circles in the air with each foot 10 to 15 times in each direction. Also, slow your pace when walking on softer, deeper sand to guard against ankle injuries.