When you think of getting more exercise, do you picture going to the gym? Or taking up running?
While they’re both valid forms of exercise, they’re also not your only options. Walking also offers a great way to lose weight and feel better.
Research shows that walking for more than 7,500 steps per day can help improve your overall health. At least 30 minutes of that walking should be at a brisk pace.
Keen to create a walking plan to help you lose weight? Read on to learn more.
What Exercise Gear Do You Need?
Walking is free and doesn’t need specialist equipment. Yet you’ll still enjoy it more if you have the right clothing and footwear.
Choose a pair of running sneakers because their flexible soles make walking less tiring. Sturdy hiking boots can provide extra ankle support if you need it.
You can wear ordinary everyday clothing, but choosing something specific to wear can remind you to go for your walk. Exercise clothing can be a great visual cue that you’re walking to improve your health.
Create a Walking Playlist
Not only is walking good for you, but it can also be a good opportunity to catch up on your favorite entertainment.
Create a playlist of songs that will motivate you to keep walking. Music at a tempo of 75-130 BPM will help you pick up the pace without you even noticing.
Or use the time to absorb ideas. Cue up podcast episodes or an audiobook to keep you company on your walk.
Choose a Route (Or Two)
There are two approaches to walking, and the one you choose depends on the time available and your personality. Make sure you account for the seasons with your walking plan.
Your route may change depending on the weather. Where possible, plan your walks during the day. You’ll get the extra health benefits of natural sunlight.
1. Plan Your Route
The first is to choose a specific route or two. You can figure out the length of the route to fit your lunch break, or add in particular sights you enjoy.
Following a route makes it easier to get out and start walking. You can also let people know where you’re going if that makes you feel safer.
Try to have a variety of routes that give you a change of scenery. Plan your routes according to how many steps you want to do.
2. Go With The Flow
The second approach is to be more exploratory. Head out and see where the path takes you! Perhaps choose a different part of your town every time you set off.
This option is ideal if you don’t have time constraints. Make sure you have a fully-charged cellphone with a maps app in case you take a wrong turn.
Do You Need a Support Network?
When you’re creating your walking workout plan, figure out how much support you’ll need. Research shows that people lose more weight within a support group than they do on their own.
You may just need a friend or family member to check in with you. Their encouragement can keep you going if your weight loss plateaus.
You might prefer to join a walking group so you have people to walk with. This is a great way to feel safe but also to be more accountable.
How and When Will You Walk?
Now you’ve decided on your route and you know how much support you need. Block out the time on your calendar for your walk. Treating it like an appointment makes it more likely you’ll stick to your walking plan.
Consider fitting in your walk before breakfast if you can. It’ll help to boost your fat-burning abilities. Make sure you add a high-quality supplement to your diet.
When you’re walking for weight loss, vary your pace. A gentle stroll won’t raise your heart rate enough to kickstart fat burning. Yet walking too briskly can wear you out.
If varying the pace seems hard to remember, vary the terrain. Walking uphill burns more calories.
Add Mindfulness to Your Walking Plan
Last, consider adding mindfulness to your walking plan. Mindful meditation offers a host of health benefits, including reduced anxiety and less stress.
It also doesn’t mean you have to sit still on a cushion. You can meditate while walking if you approach it in a mindful way.
Mindful meditation helps to reduce stress. By lowering your stress levels, your body produces less cortisol. This makes it easier for your body to let go of excess fat.
To add mindful walking to your plan, choose a stretch of your route where you don’t need to worry about traffic. Turn off your music or audiobook.
Bring your attention to how your feet feel when they carry your forwards. Notice how the sunlight feels on your skin. Listen out for nature sounds, even in an urban setting.
If your mind wanders to your to-do list or other concerns, bring your attention back to how it feels to walk.
Track Your Progress
Add a way to track your progress to your walking plan. After a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to plot weight loss, which is a great motivator.
Keep a log of the distance you walk and the number of steps you do. Track your weight but also take your measurements on a weekly basis.
Your weight can naturally fluctuate on the scales. Tape measures give a more reliable way to track your weight loss.
You may also like to log which routes you follow and when. Even notes about the weather or your mood can give you information to play with.
With enough information, you can tweak your walking plan for even better results.
Follow these tips to create your first walking plan. You can build goals into your plan for more success, but keep things realistic at first.
If you’re new to exercise, build up to longer distances or faster paces. You’ll find walking is a fun and easy way to lose weight and lower stress.
Are you ready to get started on the path to a healthier you? Contact Us and learn about how we help patients achieve their goals.