A couple months ago I sent out a survey asking a bunch of nosy questions.
It was all with the best of intentions. The goal was to find out what you and other Ageless After 50 women find most challenging in regards to weight loss and getting in shape.
First of all, if you were one of the 215 people who took the few minutes to fill it out, thank you! If you did not, I can’t say I blame you. I hate these things, too. And if you unsubscribed, well, you’re not reading this anyway.
Some things surprised me, others did not.
But the results of one part fell in line with my most popular blog posts, so it made total sense.
Here’s how a couple of the questions shook out… and tips to help you with the workout you’re most likely doing (spoiler alert! It’s in the title of this post).
The first question: If you could achieve ONE single goal this year, what would it be? I offered three choices, and one answer came out head and shoulders above the rest.
Can you guess it? It’s one of these three…
Okay, these weren’t the actual choices, but they’re far more interesting than the actual ones (see chart).
Clearly #1 is a ridiculous goal for any caffeinated human being, two isn’t practical when you live in a snowy climate, so by process of elimination… yes! “Lose weight” won out.
Shocker, I know.
Nearly half (47%) of all respondents want to lose weight, while 29% want to “be more fit in general,” and 24% strive to “see more muscle tone.”
What DID surprise me was the variety of exercise equipment you use. Most (approximately 35%) use DVDs, tubing, videos and other fitness options outside of the ones I most expected, such as treadmills, gym memberships and cardio equipment.
When it came to the type of preferred exercise, “walking and other outdoor activities” topped the chart with more than half of readers choosing this modality.
Again, not surprising.
Since the most shared posts on my website are walking based, between this and the survey results I thought I’d give you what you clearly want.
But first, a word from our sponsor… [insert voiceover voice here]
Are you an avid walker? If so, good for you! You’re strengthening your heart, burning calories and enjoying fresh air.
But do you ever get frustrated because you’re not losing weight even though you walk more miles than Forrest Gump? Are your arms still flabby and muscle tone evades you worse than a cat chasing a red laser light?
Well, I have good news for you! You, too, can have firm, toned muscles with a new discovery called: resistance training.
YES! Lifting heavy things has been shown to boost butts, lift chests and create arms worthy of tank tops — using only your very own muscles!
END OF VOICEOVER HERE.
Okay, I’m sure you get my point.
Walking is good but not enough on its own if you want to burn the most calories, see muscle definition – and be able to hoist your grandchild up and out of her highchair and into your arms without straining your back.
You still need to do some sort of resistance training if you want to firm up all over, get strong and otherwise create an Ageless Body.
The quickest way to do that? Sign up for my (free) 7-Day Ageless Body Challenge by signing up on my homepage.
You need no special equipment and it’s all doable in your own home. Need more specific, personalized guidance? Check out my Ageless Body Programs HERE. In fact, keep an eye out for an announcement on a webinar on this topic in the very near future.
In addition, here are a few simple ways to get the most out of your walking workouts…
Start off with a 5-minute easy walking warm-up.
Then gradually either increase your speed or incline (easiest if you’re on a treadmill) every 4 minutes.
Begin at an easy pace and pick it up to a moderate effort for 4 minutes, then harder for 4 minutes and – if you can do it – jog for 4 minutes and then go back to an easy pace.
Repeat for a total of 20 to 30 minutes or so; cool down with a slow walk for 5 minutes or more. If you’re just starting out keep the increases smaller until you get fitter.
After a thorough warm-up of 5 or so minutes, walk as fast as you can for 20 – 30 seconds followed by 1 minute of easy walking (more or less depending on your fitness level – if you need more recovery time listen to you body!); repeat 4 to 6 times or as much as you can do. Cool down with easy walking and stretching.
If you don’t mind a few stares, try this one, which weaves simple exercises into your walk: Warm up with a light stride for 5 minutes to start. Then:
Pick up the pace for 5 minutes
Slow down and do walking lunges 20x
Resume walking at a slow-moderate pace for 3 minutes
Pick up the pace for 2 minutes
Slow down and side shuffle for 10x each side
Resume moderate-slow pace 3 minutes
Pick up pace for 2 minutes (as fast as you can walk or jog)
Slow down to moderate pace, then slow
–OR repeat the sequence at this point.
Do 15 squats
Follow with 15 calf raises (go up on your toes and down by dropping your heels down off a ledge and up)
Stretch and cool down
A heart rate monitor (available at any sporting goods store or on Amazon) helps you track your effort by measuring how hard you’re really working. Most of us think we’re exercising far more vigorously than we really are. Wear the heart rate monitor for a few workouts to find your average heart rate and strive for five to 10 beats above your baseline to make sure you’re putting effort into it.
Walking up hills engages the glutes and hamstrings (note: avoid inclines if you have any back issues) and burns more calories. A 3.5 mph hill walk boosts calorie burn to 215 per hour versus 136 per hour for the same pace done on flat ground.
Using Nordic walking poles gets your upper body into the action, which increases calorie burn. Using walking poles also reduces impact on knees. Use them by firmly positioning the pole at a 45-degree angle behind you, then push back strongly against the ground to propel yourself forward.
I see women walking with hand and ankle weights, but these can not only throw off your gait but they can also hurt your joints. A better option: a weighted vest, which evenly distributes the workload (note: check with your doctor first if you have hip, knee or ankle problems).
Other posts to complement these include:
NOW YOU... Are you a walker? If so, which of these walking workouts will you try this week? Let me know in the comments section below… I’d love to hear from you!
If you have a question or idea for a future topic you’d like me to address in an upcoming blog, please send me an email at email@example.com.
And remember: YOU can do this!
P.S. If you found this blog post helpful, please share it by clicking on the social media buttons below… I will be forever grateful. ♥
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.