If you are looking to lose weight, walking can be a great place to start. You don’t need any fancy equipment or a gym membership to reap the benefits of moving your body. Furthermore, getting outside for a walk allows you to enjoy fresh air, sunshine, and a connection to nature. Not only will you burn body fat and build leg muscles, but your body will also produce endorphins. These natural chemicals can improve your mood as you improve your health. If you are walking to lose weight, check out these tips for making the most of your excursions.
14. Set Goals
When you are walking to lose weight, don’t just set out to wander aimlessly. Make a plan and set goals. You can start off with a goal of a certain number of minutes or a certain number of steps. Keep track of how many steps or miles you cover in a certain amount of time. Next, challenge yourself by setting goals for how long or how far you will walk. Then, plan to smash those goals and aim even higher! The faster and farther you walk, the more calories you will burn.
13. Use Your Pedometer
You may own a pedometer, a smartwatch, or have an app on your phone that counts your steps. If so, don’t forget to use this handy device or app. Check your number of steps each day to see if you have met your daily goal and to aid in setting new goals. If your pedometer comes with alarms, set them to remind you it’s time for your daily walk. Some apps even offer praise and encouragement for goals met.
12. Give Interval Walking a Try
Interval walking means alternating bursts of brisk or strenuous walking with periods of walking at a more relaxed pace. You can set your own goals depending on your fitness level. If you are new to exercise, you may want to start with shorter periods of intense walking and longer periods of more relaxed walking. Silver Sneakers describes a 20-Minute Beginner Interval Walk that calls for cycles of one minute of brisk walking and four minutes of a slower pace. Seasoned or more fit walkers may want to try My Fitness Pal’s 30-Minute HIIT Walk, which alternates cycles of steady state, high intensity, and recovery paces.
11. Hit the Stairs and Hike the Hills
Burn off more calories by including stairs and hills in your walks. Get your heart pumping and build up your leg muscles by huffing and puffing up stairways and inclines. If you walk outdoors, change up your route to include different types of terrain. If the weather prevents walking outside, hit the local mall and include the stairways in your journey.
10. Move Your Arms
Include your arm muscles in your daily exercise. It makes no sense to leave your arms hanging and let your legs have all the benefits of a walk. According to VeryWellFit, you should bend your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Next, keep your elbows close to your body. Now, as you move your left foot, your right arm should swing forward. Meanwhile, your left arm should swing forward when you step with your right foot. When your hand goes forward, it should remain low and aim straight ahead rather than reaching diagonally across your body.
9. Wear Supportive Shoes
You will be more likely to keep up with an exercise regimen if you dress correctly. This includes your feet. Support your arches, ankles, and knees with a sturdy pair of well-fitting walking shoes. When purchasing new shoes, always try them on. This is because different brands can vary in sizing. Be sure to check out the flex point of a new shoe. This is the place at which it bends. Make sure the flex point of the shoe matches the flex point of your foot.
8. Stay Committed
While an occasional walk has its benefits, you will achieve your long-term goals by staying committed to a regular exercise program. It may be easier to stay committed if you make walking a regular part of your daily routine and then stick to that routine. When it becomes a habit, it is easier to keep it up. Ask a friend to be your partner and check in with each other each week on whether you have met your goals. This can provide both an incentive and a source of encouragement.
7. Combine Walking with a Healthy Diet
Moving your body and exercising your muscles gets your heart pumping, strengthens your muscles, and burns fat. However, it won’t do you much good if you continue to consume more calories than you burn off. Combine your walking program with a healthy diet to strengthen your muscles and burn off even more calories. Consume lean proteins to continue to build muscle mass. Eat nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals they need. Consume plenty of fiber to keep your tummy feeling satisfied and maintain proper digestion.
6. Keep a Log
You can gain even more benefit from your walking program if you keep a log to track your progress. Take note of how long and how far you walk each day. Try to go a little farther or a little faster each week. You may be able to download a simple app on your phone to keep track of your daily exercise. You may also want to document your eating habits to help you see if your calorie consumption is appropriate for your needs.
5. Include Walking Throughout Your Day
Scheduling an early morning walk or an evening stroll ensures you set aside time each day or throughout the week for exercise. However, you can also look for opportunities to sneak extra activity into your day. Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible. Park farther away in the parking lot and catch a few additional steps on your way into work or the grocery store. Exit the bus at an earlier stop and hoof it for a few extra blocks.
4. Bring a Friend
Finding ways to make walking more fun makes you more likely to stick to it. Plan a weekly walk with pals to catch up while also exercising. If you have a dog, bring him along on your daily jaunt. What better way to introduce fitness to your children than by encouraging them to join you on a walk. An evening stroll through the neighborhood can be an excellent way for families to connect and catch up on the day’s events. A weekend hike in a local nature center can be a good way to enjoy the outdoors with others.
3. Stay Hydrated
When exercising, be sure to provide your body with the water it needs. Carry a water bottle with you and sip as needed. You don’t need to obsess about consuming a certain amount of water each day. Simply pay attention to your body’s cues and drink whenever you are thirsty and stop when you are satisfied. Avoid drinking sugar-laden sports drinks or energy drinks. These products contain excessive amounts of sugar and sodium. Instead, stick to plain water. A glass of milk, or even chocolate milk, can be a great way to help your muscles recover after a strenuous hike.
2. Listen to Some Tunes
If you are heading out on a solitary walk, consider downloading your favorite playlist to listen to as you walk. Upbeat music can inspire you to walk with extra energy and vigor, and happy tunes can put an extra bounce in your step. An audiobook might be another fun way to take your mind off your weary muscles and may entice you to walk longer in order to hear what happens next. Be smart when walking while wearing headphones, and stay aware of your surroundings.
1. Consider Hand Weights
If walking starts to feel a little tame, consider bringing along some hand weights. Carrying hand weights provides your arm muscles some extra resistance and will can you tone your biceps and triceps in addition to your legs. Just be sure to use proper form when adding weights to your walking routine. My Fitness Pal warns that walking with hand weights carries a risk of throwing your body off balance and placing undue strain on your joints.