Whatever your current level of fitness, there is one exercise that is guaranteed to improve your health and support you in weight loss. That exercise is walking. We all do it, but most of us aren’t doing it enough. Here are eight ways to walk yourself to a fit and firm body.
1. Brisk is best. Begin by walking as briskly as possible for half an hour every day. If you need to start at a slightly lower pace, listen to your body. You will soon build up your endurance. Walking every day is an investment in your appearance, your cardiovascular health, and your overall level of fitness.
2. Prepare for the weather. When the thermostat rises, walk early in the morning or during the evening. Wear sunblock and a hat to protect skin. During cold weather, dress in layers you can discard as you get warmer. Protect your ears ad your hands. If the weather is inclement, hit the mall or get on a treadmill.
3. Variety. You’ll have more fun and get maximum results if you vary your routine. Take a brisk walk one day, then do a race walk the next.
4. Break a sweat. If you’re overweight, start at a level comfortable for you. But to really burn those calories, you need to make walking aerobic. Work hard enough to exercise your heart, lungs and muscles. You should be able to talk, but only with some difficulty.
5. Put some rhythm in your walk. Listen to music you enjoy, something that will get your heart and your muscles pumping.
6. Add weights. Try walking while carrying 2 or 3-pound dumbbells at chest level. This will exercise your shoulders, quads, abs and glutes.
7. Make it a habit. Once you commit to making walking part of your life, you begin to notice opportunities to walk. Aside from your scheduled half-hour daily walk, make it a point to walk every chance you get. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Park a few blocks away. Walk around the building during your breaks.
8. Embrace healthier living overall. Weight loss coaches say the biggest factor in losing weight is diet. Stay away from processed foods and sugar. Control your portion sizes. Focus on fish, organic veggies and fruit, and healthy fats. Include walking to tone your muscles, build your strength and support your cardiovascular system.
So… take a walk!