All you need to get started is a good pair of ASICS walking shoes and a little information. If you're interested in walking for weight loss, take advantage of these tips.
Walking Posture and Technique
Walking is easier and more productive if it's done a certain way. For good form while walking, try these suggestions:
- Keep your back straight and your head up, but relax your neck and shoulders.
- Tighten the muscles in your stomach slightly.
- Allow your arms to swing freely (a little pumping is okay on speed walks).
- To keep your movement smooth, use a heel-to-toe motion.
Tips for Boosting Your Calorie Burn
Depending on your body weight, walking briskly for 30 minutes burns 100 to 200 calories. To boost your calorie burn and make your walk more interesting, consider making a few changes to your routine:
- Increase your distance.
- Buy a weighted vest to wear while you walk. Use caution when wearing extra weight, and consult your doctor beforehand.
- Combine regular walking with intervals of power walking.
- Combine walking with circuits of resistance training. Exercises you can do on most trails or pathways include lunges, squats, pushups, and park bench tricep dips.
How a Fitness Tracker Can Help
Keeping track of your daily steps, the distance you've walked, and how long it takes to get from point A to point B can inspire you to continue walking. That's why a fitness tracker, a pedometer, or fitness apps can be helpful for walkers. Or, if you prefer a traditional method, you can record your daily walking stats in a journal. All these techniques can be motivating for better fitness and weight loss.
How to Make Walking a Priority
Life is busy, so it can be hard to fit any type of exercise into your schedule. It might help to consider that few habits can change your life like regular exercise. Here are several more ways to make walking a priority:
- Schedule a walk like you would an appointment.
- Get up earlier.
- Walk to work if you live within a mile or two.
- Walk on your lunch break.
- Buy a good stroller and walk with your infant or toddler.
- Walk during your child's sports practice.
- Invest in a treadmill.
- Combine your social time with walking.
Tips for Walking With a Friend
The addition of a friend can make walking more enjoyable, but it's important to choose the right friend. Here are a few tips for conducting your search:
- Make sure your schedules are similar.
- Look for a pal with related weight loss goals.
- Choose someone at (or close to) your fitness level.
- Make sure you're on the same page for walking times, distance, and pace.
- Find a walking partner who will hold you accountable and one who expects you to do the same.
What to Look for in Walking Shoes and Clothing
Your footwear and clothing can make or break your walking routine. To make any walk more comfortable, look for shoes with the right arch support. If you don't know what type of arch you have, dip your bare foot in a tub of water, step on a dry sheet of cardboard, and look at your footprint. If the arch section of your print is full, you have a low (or flat) arch. If the arch section is filled about halfway, your arch is normal. If there is little or no fill in the arch section, you have a high arch. In addition to getting the right arch support, make sure any walking shoes you buy have sturdy, flexible soles for shock absorption and cushioning.
When shopping for walking clothing, don't forget a lightweight ball cap and sunglasses with UV protection for warm, sunny days and a headlamp for walking at night. Features to look for in walking clothing include:
- Loose, comfortable fit
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- Bright colors or reflective tape for near-dusk or nighttime walking
Eating for Nutrition and Taste
Walking for weight loss works better when you eat healthy too. Fortunately, you don't have to sacrifice flavor to have a healthy diet. You can make nutritious foods taste great with a few smart strategies:
- Buy fruits and veggies that are fresh and in-season.
- Liven up stir-fried, baked, or grilled veggies with spices and herbs like garlic, lemon zest, dill, ginger, cumin, or curry powder.
- Use marinades or spice rubs for fish, poultry, and lean beef.
- Saute meats or veggies in chicken broth, wine, or flavored oils instead of butter.
- Pair sliced fruits or whole berries with coconut whipped cream sweetened with vanilla.
- For healthy snacking, make a smoothie with almond milk, frozen fruit, and vanilla protein powder.
Additional Benefits of Walking
There are even more reasons to start walking than weight loss. Here are a few additional benefits of starting a walking program:
- Better heart health
- More energy
- Lighter mood
- Improved sleep
- Stronger bones and muscles
- Better balance and coordination
- Less tension and stress