How to Begin a Walking Weight Loss Program
Pedometers (step-counters) are relatively inexpensive tools for measuring your progress when it comes to improving your health. There are also several apps available on your smartphone that work just as well as the original trackers that clip to your pants. Whichever tracking tool is better for you, tracking your steps is simple and cost-effective in achieving the results you want. Walkers are encouraged to take 10,000 steps per day, totaling to about 5 miles. Everyone begins at a different starting point, but choosing to actually start your personal walking challenge is the first step in the right direction.
Know your body’s limits and set target goals. You daily goal may start at 5,000 steps a day, but as you progress you’ll be able to increase this number. Reevaluating your goals weekly or bi-weekly is a great way to check back in with yourself. It’s easy to become discouraged if you set your sights too high at the beginning. Exercise habits are not formed in a single day.
Walking on your lunch break or hitting the treadmill after dinner is great. But be sure you are consistent with when you set aside time during your busy to-do schedule. Dedicating a specific time to getting those extra steps in will help you not brush it off and stick with your goals. Make it a part of your normal routine, just like brushing your teeth or folding laundry. Even small increments of time add up!
Diet choices play an important role in your health. Start by making one difference in your diet during your first week of tracking, then add more as time goes on (i.e. limit yourself to one soft drink a day, bring your lunch instead of eating out or cut potato chips from your grocery list). Fuel your body to be motivated and energized. Keep power snacks in your purse or work desk to bridge that tough lunch-dinner gap of your day. Appetite-satisfying snacks include:
- A small apple (or banana) with a mini to-go container of peanut butter
- ½ cup of dry-roasted almonds
- Whole grain crackers and hummus
- Grape tomatoes and fat-free feta crumbles
- Greek yogurt and granola
Using the same walking routes can and will become a bore. Be creative in how you add up your steps. Bypass inter-departmental mail at work by walking to the department next door. Have a new neighbor? Invite them to join you for a walk to introduce them to others in the neighborhood. Even changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking your car further away will make a difference. Consider your typical day and think about how you can sneak extra steps in.
Plug into your smartphone or iPod and listen to tunes while getting in your extra steps. Music inspires the mind and tends to be an effective escape for many while exercising. Or, download the audio version of a book you’ve always wanted to read but could never find the time. By choosing a “page-turner,” you’ll find yourself not only wanting to take a longer walk but also enjoying it.
About Author: Alisa Martin is a proficient author writing articles on fitness, personal improvement and other similar topics. She contributes regularly for Aceso-wellness.com.