Celebrity trainers tell you how they do it
Hate running? Don’t sweat it. You can walk the pounds away. Ricki Lake did. She shed more than 120 pounds hiking 4.5 miles a day, four days a week.
We’re not talking about walking the way you do, with cappuccino in hand and face in your iPhone. You’ve got to move your butt. A study by scientists at Washington University in St. Louis revealed that walkers could burn almost as many calories as runners, if their pace is as brisk. To burn fat like runners do, the intensity has to be, well, for real. If you move it, you could burn a couple of hundred calories in half an hour. And remember: a deficit of 3,500 calories is one pound of your fat left sitting on the pavement.
Celebrity Wellness Coach Jackie Keller has her clients walk the weight off, including Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Alba and Penelope Cruz, who hit the streets immediately post-baby. Keller said walking, along with a healthy proper eating plan, is a perfect prescription for getting in shape.
So why is walking the magic pill and something we should all get out and do? Keller believes its power is in its accessibility. Walking is practical, it’s a non-controversial weight-loss method, and it’s doable. “Most people can envision themselves walking,” said Keller, “over anything else.” She said walking burns calories and maintains muscle tone as well, because it’s a weight-bearing activity. The more muscle mass, the more calories you burn.
Don’t stress about getting started. Pretty much anyone can do it. Sue Henderson is a walking coach who has helped hundreds of clients walk off the pounds and even walk marathons. (She’s power-walked across the 26.2-mile finish line 10 times and finished 20 half-marathons.) She says walking is the perfect solution for weight management because our bodies are built to walk. Like any form of exercise, she suggests you start off slowly and then up the intensity by 10 percent a week to be safe. Start with three 30-minute walks per week, then work up to five. Build speed slowly and change up your route to keep it interesting. Partner up with a friend if you need motivation. And most importantly, use your arms, especially to pick up speed and build strength, like a runner would. “Power walking uses upper body as well and lower body muscles, which will also help to strengthen and tone,” she says. Translation: no limp arms hanging freely.
Want to lose even more weight? Kick up the pace a notch.
Both experts agree there are tons of added health benefits in addition to looking fabulous. Walking provides mental acuity (meaning: it clears out the cobwebs in your overloaded, Twitter-ified brain). It also reduces your risk of heart attack and gives you a decreased risk of heart disease. It gets your heart rate up, releases endorphins (happy hormones) and it reduces cortisol levels, the hormone that can contribute to weight-gain.
There’s almost no excuse. No bouncing. No joint stress. What could be easier than putting one foot in front of the other?