How to Start Walking for Weight Loss
When you have some extra weight that you would like to lose and are not very active, there is a simple way to start losing the pounds. This method to help you lose weight does not require any monthly gym memberships, buying a new treadmill, a large financial commitment, and can even be accomplished by getting the whole family involved. The following 10 simple steps will help you Start Walking for Weight Loss and take control of you health goals.
10 Steps to Start Walking for Weight Loss
Invest in a good pair of shoes
Many people who decide to start walking don’t realize how important it is to have a good pair of shoes. A good pair of shoes helps to reduce the stress and impact on your feet while walking. Plus it will help you prevent injuries that can occur when wearing the wrong shoes. If you are not sure what shoes will be good for your feet, head over to your local specialty sport or shoe store and speak with a staff member who can help get you fitted.
Find a Fitness Tracker
Years ago the only way you could measure your steps was with a pedometer. While these are realativly inexpensive, there are many other ways that you can measure the amount of steps and distance you walk. Some popular FREE Apps include Map My Walk, Endomondo, and Google Fit. You can also purchase a fitness tracker that you can wear such as a FitBit, Jawbone, and Misfit Shine. It doesn’t matter which option you chose as long as you have a way to track your distance.
Track Your Progress
Now that you are using some sort of a tracker to know how far and long you are walking, you will want to keep track of it. Create a writing journal and record every time you walk. Record the date, distance, and amount of time that you walked. You will use this to see how you have progressed and allow you to see the progress you have made.
Set a Walking Goal
Setting a goal will give you something to work towards. Try not to set a weight loss goal but a walking goal. Weight will fluctuate at times and you don’t want to get discouraged. When you set a walking goal you have something attainable. This walking goal can include walking in a 5K, walking a 15 minute mile, completing a 5 mile walk, etc. Once you know what you want to attain, set a time limit to accomplish this goal. Be realistic in your time frame and then get to work on accomplishing your goal.
Don’t think you need to get off the couch and go walk 5 miles in the first day. If you have not been involved in any physical activity for a while, you do not want to hurt yourself. Start out by focusing on walking 3 days a week for 20-30 minutes. After a few weeks, increase your time and/or distance. Continue increasing your time until you are walking at least 5 days a week for 30-60 minutes. You don’t always need to add time but can focus on walking a longer distance in the time frame.
When walking for weight loss, a good goal to set is walking 10,000 steps in a day. When you are starting out see how many you walk in an average day, then make your goal for the next week to walk 1,000 more than that. Continue increasing by 1,000 until you hit the 10,000. See how far you can go.
Doing physical activity depletes the fluids from your body and you will want to stay hydrated to avoid muscle cramps, overheating, and dehydration. A reusable water bottle is a great investment and will save you money over buying bottled water. A good guide is to drink 8-10 ounces of water for every 15 minutes of walking, 8 ounces within 30 minutes after finishing your walk, and 16 ounces a few hours before.
Break longer walks into shorter segments.
If it is hard for you to walk a long distance at first, break it into shorter segments to make it more manageable. This is also a great tip when you have increased your walking to 45+ minutes and don’t have the time. 3- 15 minute walks will be just as helpful. If you are keeping track of your steps you can also add them in during your work day by taking the stairs, parking at the other end of the parking lot, and walking the long way to places.
Get a Walking Partner/Accountability Partner
Nothing keeps you more motivated than having a walking partner or someone who will make you accountable. Schedule a few walks a week with your partner so that you don’t talk yourself out of going. You will be both be less likely to back out because you are depending on each other. An accountability partner is there to help encourage you and to talk you into doing the thing you are talking yourself out of. Make sure this person will not give into you and only tell you what you want to hear. If you don’t a friend who is available when you are to walk, enlist your kids or spouse. The walking won’t hurt them and they will enjoy spending the time together.
Bad Weather? Walk Indoors
Many people self-destruct when the weather is bad because they use it as an excuse to stay home. If you don’t want to don extra layers, a rain coat, or other weather gear then take your walk inside. There are many popular DVD fitness programs that let you walk at home. One of my favorites is Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie Sansone.
Make it Fun
Walking doesn’t have to be boring and if you have a great attitude when you start you will find it easier to continue. Create a custom music list to listen to when you are walking. Make sure to fill it up with upbeat, inspiring songs to keep you going and encourage you all the walk. You can also take a virtual trip across the United States with the Webwalking USA Walking Program. This is a fun way to see how far you would have made it across the United States as you start walking for weight loss.
Reward yourself as you hit milestones. Some important milestones include walking your first mile, your first 30 minute walk, walking your first 5K, completing a 15 minute mile, walking 10,000 every day for a week, and many more. Make sure your reward is not food based but instead focus on something you will have longtime. Your reward could be a new pair of earrings, new socks, a new water bottle, or even a certificate you create for yourself to hang on your mirror. This visual reminder will help to keep you motivated to continue walking for weight loss and to better your overall health.
Before you start walking for weight loss, make sure you check with your doctor to insure you are cleared for physical activity. Pay attention to your body and contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.