It may be easy, but walking just may be more important than working out.
Not seeing the weight loss you expected? You’ve heard over and over that exercise is good for your health, so you get the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. But what if you take this recommendation to heart by faithfully heading to the gym each morning for a quick workout, then after your workout you drive to work where you sit all day, go home to veg all evening on the couch, and eventually head to bed. Is that morning workout going to offset the effects of your otherwise inactive lifestyle? Exercising for even an hour each day doesn’t mean it’s okay to sit around the other 23 hours.
How can you incorporate more activity to your day to reap the weight loss benefits of exercise? Try walking.
Benefits of Walking
Yes, walking will not burn as many calories as running, swimming, or cycling, but it has been proven to be an effective way to lose weight nonetheless. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to be effective. Studies have shown that if you were to walk just 2,000 more steps each day, or about one mile in 15 minutes, you’d be able to effectively maintain your weight. If you increase your steps by 6,000 each day, which is the equivalent of three miles, you’d start to see the pounds come off. Of course, these two statistics are possible only when coupled with a healthy diet.
In addition to weight loss, walking has also been shown helpful in reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes, improving circulation, lowering cholesterol, and increasing bone strength.
Opposed to any number of other workouts, walking is cheap, easy, and safe. No special equipment is needed. All you need is a pair of supportive walking shoes. Also, since you probably already know how to walk, there’s nothing to learn. It also has the added benefit of being relatively safe. The risk of injury is slim to none since it’s easy on your joints and tendons (unless you’re wearing the wrong kind of shoe). And walking is accessible and convenient. Just step outside your door, office, or house and put one foot in front of the other.
Lastly, walking is adaptable. Whether you’re a beginner at exercise or physically fit and need a challenge, you can walk. As your fitness level increases, it’s easy to increase the intensity by picking up the pace, swinging your arms, walking longer, walking up hills, hiking on uneven terrain, or adding resistance with a weighted vest or backpack. While walking may only burn half the number of calories as running (walking burns four to eight calories a minute), it’s easier to walk for a longer period of time without wearing yourself out.
Part of an Active Lifestyle
The convenience and ease of walking make it a great way to stay active throughout your day. If you don’t have time for a three-mile walk, break up your workout. Walk for 15 minutes twice a day or 10 minutes three times a day. If you live near work, walk to work. Take a walk on your snack break and lunch break. Park in the farthest parking spot from the door. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go on a family walk after dinner. Call a friend and start walking together each morning. The possibilities are endless!
As you walk, wear a pedometer all day. Track your total steps. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. If you’re lacking, try to add 500 steps each day for a week. The next week add 500 more until you reach an ideal 10,000 steps. Set goals for an active lifestyle and walk until you meet them.
Walk Where You’re Going.
Only a few years ago, people walked wherever they were going. Bring back the fad by using your legs for walking instead of pushing gas pedals whenever possible. Whether you need something at the corner market, are heading to work, or taking your little one to school, if you live close enough to walk there, do it!
If you live in the Gilbert area, treat yourself right by calling or emailing today to get started on an exercise program that will change your life for the best.
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