Following a few basic tips about walking for weight loss can help you reach a healthy weight and keep the pounds off. Losing weight can be a frustrating experience, especially when you want to get the weight off fast. Eating less helps, but if you cut back on calories drastically, you can actually sabotage your diet. Sensing the extreme caloric deficit, your body reacts to protect itself and likewise reduces its caloric needs. A better approach is a moderate cutback in food intake paired with exercise. Walking is the perfect form of aerobic exercise for beginners and fitness enthusiasts alike because it is a low-impact and low-stress activity. Walking doesn't need any special, fancy, expensive equipment and you can walk just about anywhere, anytime.
Before you start walking, you can benefit from a preliminary stretch and warm-up. You can simply lift your arms over your head, then slowly touch your toes, or do more elaborate exercises, but avoid vigorous or extreme stretching as the idea is to warm up, not wear out your muscles. Walking on level ground before taking on hills or slopes can also help you ease into your routine.
Pacing yourself when first starting a walking routine can help you avoid sore muscles, or even injury. Even a modest effort can yield positive results in your diet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 150 minutes of moderate exercise such as brisk walking per week can help you lower blood pressure, improve your cardiovascular health, and help your weight loss efforts.
Walking usually involves braving the elements, so preparing for whatever type of weather you might face helps make your exercise regimen pleasant and safe. In warm, sunny weather, light moisture-wicking clothing is important, as are sunglasses, sunscreen and water. Comfortable exercise shoes with sturdy non-slip soles are a must. To protect yourself in cold weather, dress in layers and wear darker colors to absorb heat. If you want to keep track of how far you walk and how many steps you take, there are inexpensive pedometers on the market.
You burn more calories walking faster or walking uphill. Using hiking poles can help you increase the calories you burn by engaging your upper body as well as your lower body. In addition, using trekking poles provides stability and balance. You may also want to keep track of your exercise. Simple notations on a calendar work for some, but a diary or journal allows you to add observations about your weight, dietary intake, and overall progress.
Walking is a good exercise, but it can get monotonous unless you vary your routine. Brining along an exercise buddy helps keep boredom at bay, and you can gauge your efforts by how easily you can carry on a conversation. Generally, a leisurely pace will allow for easy conversation, whereas a more brisk pace can make talking more of an effort.
The key to success in walking for weight loss is consistency. Along with a healthy, reduced calorie diet, walking can result in safe and lasting weight loss. Equally important, walking can make you feel better and become fitter.