Start Walking and Get Fit

Walking is one of the easiest exercises to help you lose weight, firm and tone your body and get fit. You don’t need expensive exercise equipment or a gym membership to walk your way to weight-loss and fitness. People who walk regularly can experience lower cholesterol, stronger bones, improved circulation and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. You do need a good pair of walking shoes for proper support. See your doctor for a checkup and a podiatrist if you have any problems, such as pain and soreness in your feet, ankles or knees.
Photo Credit: Sarah N CC-BY-2.0 2004
A busy lifestyle or hectic work schedule are not barriers to walking and other exercise. You need about 30 minutes of exercise each day to lose weight, maintain your weight and stay fit. You don’t have to get your 30 minutes of walking exercise in one session. Break up your daily walk into short, 10-minute periods of walking. Walk before work, during your lunch break and after work. Wake an hour earlier each day and walk for 15 minutes. Walk for 10 minutes before lunch or walk a few blocks to your favorite deli for a salad and some fruit for lunch. Walk to work if your job is 30 minutes or less from your home. Vary your route to avoid becoming bored with your daily walk. Walking the dog is a perfect opportunity to get some exercise. Your dog will enjoy the long walk and you can enjoy the benefits of walking. Take part in a walking tour of the historic section of your town or in a nearby city. Pair up with a walking partner or join a walking group to help keep you motivated.

Don’t get discouraged! Set realistic goals when it comes to exercise, fitness and weight-loss. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, you may become exhausted after only 10 minutes of walking, that’s okay! Don’t give up. Walk for 10 minutes each day until you can finish your walk feeling energized. Gradually increase your walking time by 5 or 10 minutes until you can walk for 30 minutes without becoming exhausted. 
When you are walking for 30 minutes without feeling tired pick up the pace. Walk faster to get more from your walk. Try adding some ankle weights to help strengthen your ankles and knees. Use ankle weights with a normal walking gait. Don’t use them for brisk walking or jogging exercise. Carry a 5 pound dumbbell in each hand to help strengthen your arms and increase the cardio benefits of your walk. 

For more information and walking tips, see:

WebMD, Make Your Walk a Workout, by Linda Melone, Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD,2011

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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

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