Walking is one of the least expensive and most convenient ways to get fit, lose weight, reduce stress, and improve your quality of life. It’s no wonder that it’s one of the most popular fitness activities. To get in shape just by walking doesn’t take much, but there are a few things you want to know before getting started!
To get in shape with your walking routine, the walk should be brisk – not a race walk, but not a window-shopping walk either. Use the first 5 minutes to warm up at a nice speed, but then kick it up a notch and increase your pace. Whether you are at the gym on a treadmill or on a walking path in your neighborhood, try walking at different inclines to burn even more calories and give your body a boost. You shouldn’t be totally out of breath, but you should be breaking a sweat if you’re doing it right.
Every bit helps
Don’t think just because you can’t go for an hour walk every night that your fitness goals are over. Break it up into more manageable sessions to fit walks into your schedule. Build in a walk after lunch or instead of meeting your friend after work for a sugary cocktail at happy hour, how about meeting her at the park for a nice walk? Every little bit helps so if you can find ways to do your errands by walking to the store instead of always driving, try that! Whatever it is, weaving in a few minutes of walking adds up!
Grab a friend
Or a neighbor, or a family member, or a pet! Whoever you get to go with you, set a regular schedule and you’ll both be happy you did. Studies show that when we connect with others, it increases your chances of sticking with an exercise routine. So enlist a buddy for your first outing to the gym, the trail, or try a group workout or a class. And remember that everyone feels self-conscious at first, so just get out there and commit to your health and your friendships!
Get good gear
Definitely invest in some good walking shoes so that you don’t get injured and sabotage your whole fitness routine. Resist the temptation to just wear any old pair of tennis shoes for your walking workout. Did you know that worn-out or ill-fitting shoes are one of the most common causes of injury? Invest in your health and weight loss and get a good pair of walking shoes so that you can get started on your walking routine soon! And don’t forget to bring that water bottle along. You’ll want to stay hydrated to naturally detox and cleanse your body after exercising.
How much is enough?
Depending on your weight loss goals, you will want to modify your walking routine. It’s best to keep a journal or use a fitness app to track your progress, too. If maintaining a healthy weight or modest weight loss is your aim, then the American College of Sports Medicine recommends getting 150 to 250 minutes of moderate-intensity walking a week. But if you’re looking for significant weight loss, you’ll need to increase your walking; 250 weekly minutes or more of moderate-intensity walking is needed, which is only about 35 minutes a day. Easy!
So what are you waiting for? Get in shape with your new walking routine and start looking and feeling better today!