10 Tips to Make Walking Great Again
Did you know that walking is a better workout than you probably think? It only takes 30 minutes a day to help you lose weight, live longer, and feel happier.
I know most of you could find 30 minutes in a day if you cut your social media on the toilet time down. I mean, do you really like dealing with tingly feet every time you go to the bathroom?
Related - 7 Walking Tips to Lose Weight
Walking is low-impact and is great for beginners, advanced athletes, and anyone wanting to live a healthier life. Most of us won't take time out of our day for ourselves, so our busy lifestyles make exercise fall by the wayside.
The Benefits of Walking
I've been a big guy and overweight most of my life. Walking is known as a weight-bearing exercise, so when you have to carry your own body weight it can suck.
You get tired quickly, you hurt, and your side hurts from trying to breathe — trust me, I know.
But there are a lot of benefits to walking, even if it's just for a short amount of time. Many of the benefits eventually will help make walking easier, less painful, and less shameful.
So the sooner you can start walking more in your day — parking at the end of the parking lot, getting more steps in, or going for a stroll or hike — the sooner you will notice the benefits.
We all know walking helps you lose weight, but here are a few more benefits to walking:
- Your cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness improves. So heart and lung performance increases.
- Studies suggest that walking reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Walking will improve your management of conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain and stiffness, and diabetes.
- Your bones will get stronger.
- Your balance improves.
- Your muscle strength and endurance will improve.
- Your stored body fat reduces.
So if you're looking to improve your overall health, put some pep in your step and try these 10 tips:
10 Walking Tips
1.) Create a Step Goal
No matter if you're an advanced athlete or you are just looking to lose a few extra pounds, it's important to stay motivated. Knowing where your efforts are going and how it affects your health is important.
Everyone is different with different activity levels, but a solid number to strive for is 10,000 steps per day. Studies suggest if you reach this goal it can lower your blood pressure, improve your glucose tolerance, and help promote weight loss.
Get yourself a pedometer or if you have an app that can use your phone to track steps, use it.
2.) Create a Plan and Follow It
Creating a plan helps you guide your efforts and keeps you from spinning your wheels.
Create a plan and stick to it so you can be held accountable and prevent boredom by varying your workouts.
Everyone has a different goal, but that's okay. Are you trying to burn 300 calories per day through exercise? Looking to zap some of that belly fat?
Create and personalize a plan for you and run with it.
3.) A Change of Pace Could Be Helpful
Something I'm guilty of is keeping my walking pace slower than I should. Any movement is better than none, so walking at a brisk pace will be most effective at burning calories.
Using a heart rate monitor can help you stay precisely in the "fat burning" heart rate, but a cadence of 100 steps per minute is considered "brisk."
It's not hard to find how fast you are walking in a minute — count your steps for 15 seconds and multiply that by 4.
4.) Try Some New Scenery
If your walking routine is getting stagnant and boring, it's time to try some new scenery. Anywhere with hills or stairs to climb, trails, dirt, or sand all can mix things up a bit.
All of these small changes in your walking routine can increase your heart rate, improve your agility and balance, and uses more muscles to burn more calories.
Start to love nature and get out in it — I plan on taking up hiking once the weather breaks here.
5.) Use the Incline If You Are Stuck Inside
If you prefer the indoor life over inclement weather or if you don't have challenging terrain, using the incline on a treadmill can be an extremely versatile weight-loss tool.
If you want to burn more calories on the treadmill, start using your incline. Let the 1.0 setting be your default and crank it up to 2.0 to 5.0 after your warmup.
Maintain proper posture — if you lean back and hold onto the treadmill while you are walking an incline, you aren't walking an incline.
6.) Try High-Intensity Interval Training
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, burns more calories in a shorter amount of time.
Studies suggest the best way to get started with a HIIT routine is to simply walk.
HIIT exercise generally will have an all-out chunk of time followed by a shorter chunk of recovery walking.
7.) Try to Incorporate Strength Moves
Incorporating strength moves into your walks can be a fun way to increase your weight loss.
Next time you are out on a walk, try some lunges, body weight squats, or pushups — it will help you build lean muscle and burn more calories.
8.) Try Walking Poles
Walking poles help improve your posture, balance, and mobility. Along with the added stability, since we use our arms more we will burn more calories.
Walking poles can help take the stress off of your joints and help you get across challenging terrain.
9.) Add Weight for Added Resistance
If you want to change up the intensity of your walks, adding some weight to your walks could help.
Wearing a weight belt, carrying some dumbbells, or using ankle weights increases the amount of energy your body is using. This will increase your strength levels and will make the days you train without the weights seem fast and crisp.
10.) Get Friends and Family Involved
Just like misery loves company, healthy changes are contagious.
Recruit some family or friends to create traditions, walking dates, and more health-oriented family gatherings. Taking a walk after family dinner and talk about your day, join a walking group in your area, or you could even start a weight loss competition.
Make some new friends, help each other create healthy habits, and find someone to hold you accountable.
Wrapping It Up
Trust me, I know how hard it is to set time aside to go for a walk. Now is the time to start putting time aside for yourself — you still need days to be a couch potato, but only reward yourself after you put your work in.
Try implementing these tips into your current routine. If you don't have a routine, I invite you to start with your "why" of wanting to get in shape and make a plan from there.
It takes 30 minutes — less time than it takes you to watch an episode on Netflix — to see improvement in your health and mood.