Walking – it’s simple, it’s free, you can do it anywhere and at anytime! And it’s a popular exercise for those looking to lose weight.
When you begin a walking program after being inactive, you may notice that weight begins to drop. But after a while, you plateau. You keep up your walking routine, but the weight doesn’t seem to come off anymore.
Oftentimes when people walk for exercise, they just go. They go outside or jump on a treadmill and move. And that is fantastic! This additional movement will improve your health and decrease your chances of developing certain diseases, such as diabetes.
But if you are looking for weight loss results with your walking, there are guidelines you need to follow.
Watch your intensity. Oftentimes we walk at a normal pace, enjoy the scenery, talk with our friends, or watch television while on a treadmill. But taking a leisurely stroll will not help you lose weight. You really need to move and work in a moderate to high intensity level for 10 to 30 minutes to burn calories and help you lose weight. This means, you should be breathing faster, sweating, and able to speak a full short sentence, but not really want to talk. So chatting with your friends is great during a warm up or cool down, but when it comes to work time, you should just move!
And remember, the more you walk the more conditioned your body will become. So your pace will need to increase as your endurance increases.
Make sure you have the appropriate shoes for walking. Proper walking shoes provide cushioning under the ball of the foot, while running shoes focus on cushioning at the heel. This is an important difference as the impact of walking and running effects different areas of your foot. While you can use running shoes to walk in, you should focus on these two areas to make sure they will provide the best support when walking:
- Pick up the shoe by the heel and toe, and bend it. A good shoe for walking should bend under the ball of the foot to aid in proper mechanics.
- Now twist the shoe while holding the heel and toe. The shoe should not be easily twisted and should supply light to moderate resistance to the twist.
If you are walking outdoors, map out a route ahead of time so you know where you are going and how far you are walking. If you are walking alone, make sure someone knows the route you are taking and your approximate time of return just in case. And always put safety first. Walk with a cell phone and be alert of any possible dangers, whether it’s a tripping hazard or bad weather approaching.
Walking is an easy, inexpensive form of exercise that anyone can do. To make sure you benefit from your walking program, apply the 3 guidelines above and you’ll be well on your way to your weight loss goals.