by Ginette King
Of all exercises walking is the best. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Get a pedometer
Walk 10,000 steps a day or more. Wear it all day and make sure to meet your goal, even if you have to walk in place in front of the TV at night. You'll feel great when you "make" your numbers - it's surprisingly motivating if you're as goal-oriented and compulsive as me.
Find good places to walk
Walk where it's convenient, has a nice atmosphere, is visually interesting, or where you have a purpose (to run an errand, for example).
Get good shoes
Get fit by a pro at a running store where they will examine your foot and analyze your gait. Well worth it to find a brand that works for your foot type.
Use your ankles
Step heel to toe and push off from your toes. It may feel funny at first but keep with it and you'll get that proper rolling gait.
Shorten your stride
Taking too big of steps puts strain on our hips and knees. Take a smaller step and speed it up to protect your joints while upping your cardio intensity.
Pump your arms
It seems like it wouldn't work, but it really does propel you forward. Bend your elbows and pump your arms as you lose weight walking. You'll avoid swollen fingers (from letting them hang like dead weights at your sides), it keeps you standing more upright, and it engages your upper body in the movement). Let your shoulders relax.
Keep your head and chest up
Pretend there is a string coming out of the top of your head to the heavens keeping you standing tall.
Wear moisture-wicking clothes
Prevents chafing! Cotton next to your skin is trouble as the sweat gets there and stays put. Find wicking clothes at sporting good stores, discount stores, and department stores under various brand names. Wearing them in layers gives you flexibility to strip down as you warm up.
Use your abdominal muscles
If you're standing upright with your abs tucked in, you'll feel it. A great way to lose weight walking and engage your whole body.
So important! Do a little light stretching before you begin, anytime during the walk, but definitely stretch after the walk while your muscles are warm and looser. Take you time and hold each stretch for about 20-30 seconds, if possible. Focus on hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, back, calves, quadriceps, and shoulders. You'll prevent injury, connect with your body, and improve your flexibility.
Mix up your routine
Keep your body challenged and your mind engaged by going to new places sometimes. Doing the same thing every time is a sure way to lose interest in walking. Keeping your muscles (and brain) challenged helps you lose weight walking!
Carry your ID, cell phone, and water with you. Go where it's light, easy to see traffic, and where you feel comfortable and free. Being prepared means feeling empowered - isn't that a big part of what having fun is all about? And if it's not fun you won't be motivated to keep doing it.
To Up the Calories Burned by Walking
Walk a longer distance
Use walking poles
Walk faster (short fast steps protect your knees and hip joints)
Add some hills (lean into the hill when you go up, shorten your stride and lean back a little when you go down)
Make sure you get in some weight training each week to further tone up your muscles and to balance your upper and lower body development.
Do not carry weights with you. It can overload your joints, get your posture out of whack, or create a muscular imbalance. You'll lose plenty of weight walking without putting your body in danger.
Keep a walking log to note your improvements and setbacks and to learn what works best for you.
Treadmills vs. Outdoors? Outdoor is usually a better workout (more variety, use more muscles on the uneven surface, fresh air) but treadmills are great in that you can control the weather, speed and incline. Whatever you are more likely to use is what's best for you. Walk indoors and out if you have the chance to do so.
As with any sport, challenge yourself but listen to your body, too. Rest one day a week. Don't do the same exact thing every single day.
Lose weight walking and you'll start to firm up, feel more energy, and lose body fat all while seeing the world!
What are you waiting for? Your life is happening NOW.
By Ginette King