When the weather's bad, take your workout inside and walk on the treadmill.
Walking inclines is an excellent way to lose weight all over your body, but your weight loss success depends on other factors, too. It's difficult to lose weight through exercise if you're still consuming too many calories in your diet. Swap unhealthy eating habits with a healthy, low-calorie diet that includes lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fresh vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
The Survey Says
In a survey of 36,000 fitness professionals conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), walking up inclines was named one of the top exercises for burning calories while shaping your rear end. ACE's chief exercise physiologist Richard Cotton argues that walking uphill is the best combination of aerobic calorie burning and muscle-building strength training, although he warns against relying too heavily on one specific exercise to get your body in shape. Losing weight relies on a combination of factors, including your fitness choices, genetics, diet and environmental factors, like stress or family, work and cultural influence.
Onward and Upward
According to Therese Iknoian, author of "Fitness Walking," walking up an incline can burn up to 50 percent more calories than walking on a flat surface. Also, the higher the incline, the more your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and core muscles will have to work to propel you upward. Iknoian recommends starting out on a treadmill at an incline of 5 and working your way up to a 7 or 8. If you walk at a rapid pace of 4.7 miles per hour, you'll burn as many calories as you would running.
Now Try This
Since we now know the best way to lose weight is to burn calories, let's get the rest of the body moving to torch even more calories. Whether you're on a treadmill or walking up hills outside, start pumping your arms while you walk. To amp up the intensity even more, punch your arms with every step. Making your body heavier, either by holding free weights or by wearing a weighted vest, is another way to burn more calories. Fitness Magazine also recommends walking with Nordic poles during your incline workout. As you move the poles forward and backward throughout your walk, you can burn up to 45 percent more calories.
Sample Exercise Routine
Before every workout, start out with five to 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise -- such as walking at a gentle pace -- to warm up your muscles, heart and respiratory system. For 20 to 60 minutes, practice interval training, cycling between intense periods of walking up the incline and periods of walking on a flat surface. An example cycle on a treadmill might include three minutes of walking on a zero incline followed by two minutes of walking up a grade 5 incline. With every cycle, increase the grade of the incline by one, peaking at a level 7 or 8 incline. Finish up your workout with five minutes of gentle walking on a zero incline as well as full-body stretches.