A flabby belly pouch is the last thing you want to reveal on the beach or in a figure-hugging dress. Walking with walking poles -- also called Nordic walking -- is a fun and effective way to get rid of excess fat all over, including that paunchy belly. Rather than grabbing any old walking poles, it's helpful to learn how to choose the right ones and use them to lose weight, leading to a more slender belly. Nordic walking helps you increase your calorie burn by up to 30 percent more than regular walking, while helping tone your ab muscles.
Choose walking poles of the appropriate height so you can do your Nordic walking with proper form. Poles made specifically for women are a little bit shorter, but you can also use adjustable poles. Adjust yours so your arms are bent at a 90-degree angle with forearms parallel to the ground when you stand still while holding the poles.
Warm up before you do your Nordic walking workout, to loosen your muscles and prepare your body for exercise. Walk for five to 10 minutes without the poles or march in place. Once your body is warmed up, you can do a couple light stretches such as toe-touchers and reaching toward the sky to further prepare your muscles.
Place your hands through the wrist straps, and grip the hand grip portions of the poles. Step forward with your left foot while bringing the right walking pole forward. Continue to alternate, always bringing the opposite arm and leg forward at the same time. Push off the pole as you step forward to engage the upper body muscles.
Stay on flat terrain, such as a sidewalk or paved walking path, for your first three to four walks using walking poles until you feel comfortable and confident using the poles. Incorporate some uphill and downhill areas, as well as other terrain, after the first few walks.
Aim for 150 to 300 minutes of Nordic walking per week to lose weight all over and in the belly area. Break your exercise time into shorter segments, if needed, to fit your schedule.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Warm Up, Cool Down and Be Flexible
- Fitness: Nordic Walking Guide
- Health.com: Walk Off the Fat -- The Nordic Walking Workout
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training -- Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- Check in with your doctor before you start any exercise program.
- Do belly-toning strength training exercises two to three times per week to get a flatter belly. Incorporate total-body strength training exercises to build muscles mass so your body burns calories more effectively.
- Lengthen your walking poles if you're going on a long downhill trek; shorten them for a long uphill trek.
- If it's been a while since you've worked out, start your Nordic walking plan slowly and work your way up. Even 10 minutes of cardio per day is better than nothing and will slowly increase your stamina so you can add time.
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.