Great news for anyone who's trying to lose weight and tone up for summer, as it turns out you don't have to do crazy crunches to lose belly fat – all you need to do is walk! One of the best forms of exercise, walking can actually be a great way for you to work on building up your abs with minimal effort. Of course, you can't just step out and expect great abs overnight – you need to know how to lose belly fat the right way. These 6 easy walking exercises will ensure that you are getting the results you want without going to the gym, leaving you on your way to a toned tummy in no-time.
GET THOSE ARMS MOVING
How? Walking can be quite passive for the upper body so instead get all of your muscles working by swinging your arms up and down in time with your speed.
Why? The movements required to move the body begin in your core, also known as your abdominal region. So while simply putting one foot in front of the other helps you to activate your psoas muscles (deep pelvic core muscles), this is only the beginning. Swinging your arms from side-to-side will help to amplify this effect, turning your workout from a measly 5 to a 10/10 in no time and increasing your speed and calorie burn. Hurrah!
UP YOUR INCLINE
How? Start tackling steeper terrain. This can anything from a small incline to a hill, or even something larger if you'd like!
Why? If you can remember science class you’ll know that adding any sort of resistance ramps up the intensity. In this case tackling an incline will help to up the benefits of your walk, enabling you to to burn more calories and helping to increase lean muscle mass, eventually resulting in a smaller waist.
PUNCH IT OUT
How? There’s a reason Boxercise is so popular and it's not just down to the awesome moves. Incorporate boxing into your walk by doing some forward punches and overhead jabs every few minutes. As you punch, make sure to contract your abs and hit straight out with power, keeping your back strong and straight. This one might be best for the park, rather than the commute to work!
Why? Incorporating simple moves into your walking routine may not only help to increase your heart rate and jump-start your metabolism, but also engage your core muscles and strengthen your back. Win, win.
SUCK IN THAT WAIST
How? You can’t get a flat stomach without developing your core strength and one of the best ways to do this is to pull in your stomach muscles! Gently draw in your stomach and slightly lift your rib cage away from your pelvis.
Why? Not only should this tweak in posture take pressure and weight off your hips, it also engages the transverse abdominis: one of the muscles responsible for a flat tummy.
BRING YOUR KNEES UP
How? Replace gym-lovers side crunches with some knee-to-elbow crosses during your walk. As you step forward, bring one of your hands behind your head with your elbow pointing out to the side. Lift your opposite knee before bringing both elbow and knee to meet each other gently in the middle. Repeat the action while alternating between sides.
Why? This is a great way to tone up your obliques, the abdominal muscles that run vertically down the side of your stomach and add to that 'toned' appearance. It can be a bit tricky to balance during this exercise, so be sure to take your time and perform it slowly – or ask a friend to act as support!
STRAIGHTEN THOSE LEGS
How? Rather than walking as you normally would, mix it up by trying to walk with straight legs. To do this, pull in your stomach as described above, before lifting one of your legs as high as you possibly can while taking a step forward. Then alternate. Try it for a minute, a couple of times throughout your walk.
Why? Although it may sound bizarre, when you walk with straight legs it puts more emphasis on your lower abdominals than regular walking would, as your body copes with lifting up your entire leg rather than just the knee. More work means more calories burned in that area – which should lead to tighter abs in the long run. Great news for such little effort, huh?