Walking upright: it’s one of those things that we often take for granted. Although we rely on our feet to carry us almost everywhere, you’d be surprised at how little we actually walk nowadays. Just a few years ago, a study showed that adults in developed countries spend about 70% of their waking hours sitting. Also, only about 20% of adults in the U.S. fit the guidelines for physical activity set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, you don’t have to start an extreme fitness program to lose weight and get healthy. You may want to consider a regular exercise routine, but walking is a good way to start. Here’s how to take advantage of walking for weight loss.
1. Get the Right Gear
If you don’t have sturdy, reliable footwear, consider investing in some before starting a walking routine. Going for long or brisk walks in street shoes, sandals, or other non-athletic footwear can wear out your feet and even cause health problems. There’s no need to break the bank, though. Just look for an affordable pair of shoes that will support your frame and withstand some wear and tear.
It’s also a good idea to wear comfortable clothing when going for long walks. Jeans, business clothes, and some street clothes can be restrictive. They aren’t designed for physical activity, either, and could get worn out quickly.
2. Select a Good Route
How far you walk and how briskly you walk can make a huge difference when walking for weight loss. You may want to start out slow, but as you get used to your routine, consider power walking or walking just fast enough to be slightly winded. Many of us don’t have the time to go for a long walk. Start with a 30-minute walk each day. See how comfortable you are and how much time you can effectively spare.
Try to select a route that you will enjoy walking. If you live in the city, you could pick a safe route that goes by your favorite landmarks. If you live in the suburbs or in the countryside, pick a route that will take you through some beautiful natural vistas, like through a park or sanctuary. Walking in nature is known to be good for your mental health as well.
3. Walk with Friends and Family
Unless you crave solitude, walking with friends can be a fantastic way to catch up with each other and stay healthy. You can even work collectively to hit distance goals, walk faster, and lose weight. “Social walkers” share a communal activity with friends and get exercise at the same time, which can lead to some serious health benefits.
4. Prepare for Bad Weather
When it’s raining or snowing outside, it may be tempting to stay in. But that’s no reason to give up on your walking routine! If you don’t want to face the weather, make a backup plan. For example, if there is a school nearby with an indoor track, you may be able to use it after hours. If you don’t mind a little bit of rain or snow, get the clothes you need to bundle up and hit the pavement!
Start Walking for Weight Loss
The key to getting the benefits of walking for weight loss is to stay committed. Even if you miss a few days (we all get busy), don’t lose sight of your goals. Pick up where you left off. Keep walking and you’ll be slimmer, stronger, and healthier for life.
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