Many people who want to lose weight put barriers up for themselves. They think they need fancy equipment or an expensive gym membership. In reality, the solution is so simple — all you need to do is start walking!
I'm a personal trainer and I am always advertising the benefits of walking to my clients. Walking can lowering your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and it can lead to fat loss. You can easily burn 500 calories a day by walking. And the best thing about walking is you can do it anywhere — at work, home, or school. And it’s an ideal exercise for pregnant women, overweight people, people who suffer from joint pain, people with high blood pressure, and the elderly.
To burn 500 calories a day, you need to walk 10,000 steps a day. Though it may seem like a high amount of steps, it's pretty doable. A typical sedentary person walks about 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. With a little focus and determination, it's easy to bump that number up to 10,000.
Here are some things to keep in mind: One mile is equivalent to 2,000 steps, and it takes about 20 minutes to walk. You’ll need to walk about five miles to complete 10,000 steps. Below are tips that will help you focus on reaching this number:
1. Use a pedometer.
A pedometer is a device that counts the number of steps you take. It records each time the hips move up and down. You can use a pedometer watch or an app. Aim to check it a few times each day to see your progress. If you're short on steps, it might motivate you to take a walk during your lunch break or an after-dinner stroll.
2. Add 300 steps every day.
Don’t start walking 10,000 steps right away. Just like any other exercise routine, start moderately then gradually increase your intensity. Aim to add at least 300 steps every day. Keeping records of your daily steps will also help you improve; keep a journal in which you log your daily step totals.
3. Commit to walking.
Sure it's an easy exercise, but walking 10,000 steps every day is not easy. You have to put in a lot of effort and push yourself. Unless you stay consistent and keep progressing, you won’t benefit from walking. Try to turn it into a habit by designating certain times of the day for walking.
4. Walk up and down hills.
Walking on hills burns more calories. If you live in a hilly place, take advantage of the terrain. Regularly walking up and down hills will stretch and strengthen leg muscles. Walking up stairs also burns more calories.
5. Set reminders.
People are busier than ever and it’s easy to forget about your walking goals. Set a reminder on your work calendar that encourages you to walk a few laps around the office every hour. Set an alarm on your phone that urges you to go for a walk before or after you eat dinner.
6. Walk at high intensity.
The faster you walk the more calories you’ll burn. You should be able to hear yourself breathe as you walk. Increase the pace if you are breathing normally. Also, feel free to swing your hands as you walk.
7. Remember, the extras count!
Here are some other easy ways to sneak in a few extra steps every day:
- Get off the bus/train one stop beyond where you live and walk home.
- Park far from the office, then walk.
- Walk kids to school or to the bus stop.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Go for a walk with a friend or walk the dog.
- Walk to a co-worker's office instead of calling or emailing.
- Go for a walk instead of watching TV or scrolling through your Facebook timeline.
- Use different walking routes to avoid monotony.
These are just a few — there are literally hundreds of ways to walk more. Don’t waste time, start walking today!
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