For those who do walk as a form of physical activity, but are not receiving the results they seek, try these 5 easy tips to maximize your walking benefits:
- Try to increase the intensity of your walk. Do short intervals of speed walking or walking at a brisk pace for 30 seconds to a minute, followed by 4 minutes at your regular pace and then repeating.
- Try working your way up slowly, increasing your time and distance for walking. Set new goals when your regular time and distance becomes too easy.
- Set weekly goals that you are able to achieve, and hold yourself accountable to achieving them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that one should complete 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week. One can make a goal to follow that recommendation. By walking 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week, one can reach that goal.
- Try to get yourself sweating during your walk! Sweating is great indicator that you are pushing your body, increasing the intensity of your workout may help you lose/maintain weight, improve cardiovascular fitness, slow bone loss, and improve mood and sleep.
- Change up your walking route. It's easy to get bored if we continually walk the same route and at the same pace, our body adapts and it becomes too easy for us. Try using a new route with some different turns or even something more scenic to freshen up your routine and motivate you more.
Another concern/barrier at times, is staying safe and healthy during our walks. Here are some reminders before heading out for your walk. Your attire is a major key to your workout, so during the hotter months wear lighter colors and clothing that has breath ability. A hat, sunglasses, and some sunscreen will help you beat the summer heat and the strong rays from the sun. For colder months wear sweats or other warm exercise clothing, layers are great for those that get hot during exercise! Always lace up with active footwear, examples include walking/running shoes or cross training shoes that provide ankle support and good grip/tread on the bottom. Finding a good pair that fits right and is comfortable for you is important, don't just settle for the cheapest shoes available. Bringing a snack like a health bar, fruit, or trail mix is also good to keep handy, especially for those that need to monitor their blood sugar. Lastly, stay hydrated throughout the day and bring water with you during your walk (especially during the hotter days). Also, try to avoid walking during the hottest part of the day during the summer time, it will dehydrate you quicker and increase the likelihood for heat stroke or other health complications to arise.
Continue to keep active, stay healthy and safe on your way to accomplishing your fitness goals with these tools and tips. Don't lose sight of your goals and let barriers stop you! Keep stepping towards better health.
Written by: Jonathan Denney, B.A.
Sources and Images: