Why would you start walking using a pedometer to lose weight? When it comes to losing weight, a simple approach is going to help you yield results that you actually want.
Perhaps, it is easy to be led astray by promises of weight loss supplements, fancy gym equipment and more. All you really need to lose weight is to start walking.
Combine this with a sensible eating plan and you will be well on your way to success.
As with any exercise, when you first start walking, start off slowly and work up the amount of time you spend walking and the distance you cover.
If you have any type of health or joint issue, always consult your doctor before starting any type of exercise program.
This way your doctor can give you any extra advice that will only add to your success.
Why Choose Walking?
Well, walking is a great activity for anyone at any fitness level or age. It’s perfect for those of you who are really out of shape, or overweight.
Walking is easy on your joints, and you can increase your walks according to your ability.
On the plus side, you don’t require any special equipment for walking. You should invest in a good pair of walking shoes, though. Otherwise, you may find that your feet hurt.
There are many places you can walk all year long. If you live in a colder climate you can walk indoors at your local mall during the winter.
Many malls open early to accommodate walkers, plus it’s perfect for moms with strollers too.
If you own a dog, become the official dog walker. You can walk with your grandkids or kids or invite friends and neighbors to walk with you. Hey, you could even start a local walking club.
This would make walking fun for you, and if you are walking with a friend it provides you with motivation to meet them and walk – you wouldn’t want to let your friend down by not showing up!
After a couple of weeks, you will notice that your fitness level starts improving. This is a good signal that it’s now time to increase the intensity of your walks.
Either walk a little faster or go a little further. As you improve you may also want to add hand or ankle weights as well.
Another great way to increase your walking is to find some hilly terrain to walk on. See if you can walk up some nearby hills!
With so many options and so many ways to make your walking more fun and get more benefit from the time you walk, it just makes sense to include walking into your overall fitness plan.
Using A Pedometer
Setting aside some time to go for a 45-minute walk isn’t always easy. We all live busy lives and between family and work, fitting in a workout isn’t always possible.
What if I told you that you didn’t have to dedicate a set block of time for your walking workouts?
What if you could get the same health benefits by working in a little more activity here and there throughout your day?
And what if there was a fun little gadget that helped you keep track of it and motivated you to move more?
There is and it’s called a pedometer. You can pick up an inexpensive model at your local super store or order it from Amazon. Or you can go with something a little fancier like a Fitbit for example.
A pedometer is a small electronic device, about the size of a pager or smaller. The basic function of a pedometer is to track or count how many steps you take.
Most models will also convert our steps into the number of miles you walked and calculate how many calories you have burned.
More advanced models will save several days’ worth of date and some will even connect to your computer so you can chart your progress through software provided as well.
But before you head out to spend any money, check your smartphone. Many models have a pedometer built in. All you need to do is download a free app and you’re good to go.
A recent study by the University of Minnesota shows that people wearing pedometers tend to walk more.
The study split people up in two groups who were both encouraged to walk each day. Only one group was given pedometers to track their steps.
Those with pedometers increased their steps by about 2,100 per day, or 20 minutes of steady walking, a 30% increase in daily steps.
They walked almost twice as many blocks as those without pedometers. People using a pedometer also tend to stick much longer with a walking routine.
The pedometer will track how many steps you take on any given day.
It will also track how many minutes you’ve spent being active and how many miles you’ve walked. In other words, it keeps track of how much exercise you get during your day.
And the good news is that it doesn’t matter if you head out after work for a 45-minute walk, or if you work out in little spurts here and there throughout the day.
Maybe you start your day by parking a little further away from the office and walking a couple of hundred extra steps.
Then you take a quick stroll during your lunch break. You wrap up your day by walking around the park while your kids play.
And just like that you’ve gotten your exercise in without having to block out any additional time.
Give it a try. Put on a pedometer, or start tracking with that phone you’re always carrying around anyway and see how much you’re walking around any given day.
From there, try to get a little more active as time goes by until you hit your stepping goal.
For most of us 10,000 steps per day is a good long term goal, but if you’re feeling more ambitious than that, go for it.
Keeping track of your steps is very motivating. Looking at your pedometer and realizing you’re 2,000 steps away from your daily goal may be just the motivation you need to head out for that after dinner promenade.
Get Most From The Pedometer
To get the most out of your pedometer, set daily and weekly goals. Start by setting a baseline number of steps. To do this, simply wear the pedometer for a few days.
Don’t try to aim for a certain number of steps. All you are doing at this point is measuring how many steps you take in a normal day. Calculate the average number of steps you take any given day.
Next, you want to start taking 500 to 1,000 steps each day. You can easily accomplish this by taking a little walk around the block, parking a little further away during errand and at work, as well as walking to a college’s office instead of calling him or her.
Each week, or every two weeks increase your steps and additional 500 to 1,000 steps until you reach a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. If you are walking to lose weight, work yourself up to 12,000 to 15,000 steps per day.
Why is it important to count steps? It’s a primary indication of the activity you are engaged in during the day.
Studies have shown that you don’t need to dedicate a specific time to exercise, per se, but smaller bouts of activity can have the same effect as one longer, extended period.
That means that making small changes in your daily routine can have tremendous effects on your health.
Park farther from the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, stride while you’re on the phone, walk with the dog instead of just letting her go, and go down the hall instead of sending an e-mail or picking up the phone.
By taking more steps-essentially increasing your daily activity and burning more calories-you are becoming more physically active.
The American Medical Association says that by increasing your activity level, you will:
Stimulate weight loss
Lower blood cholesterol
Lower blood pressure
Enhance quality of life
If any of these benefits are important to you, it’s vital that you begin to move more.
The American College of Sports Medicine traditionally prescribes the following as the appropriate level of activity in order to get these benefits:
Frequency: 3 – 5 days per week
Intensity: 60% to 90% of maximal heart rate
Duration: 20 – 60 minutes
If you can’t take 30 minutes to exercise, try three 10-minute walking sessions throughout the day.
Walk briskly to get the maximum benefit. If you have been sedentary, check with a doctor and start slow.
Walking NOT Strolling
Many overweight people, especially those who have arthritis or other problems have already discovered the benefits of walking.
It is the safest form of exercise and most people can at least take a walk around the block every day.
The idea is to have a brisk walk at a pace that gets your heart rate going. The fact is that you won’t lose much weight by just strolling along.
You need to get sweaty for this or you will not be optimizing how much you can lose. It is possible to lose weight by walking slow but it will take ages.
You need to walk at a rapid pace and keep it up for at last an hour. The faster your heart pumps the more weight you will lose.
The secret is – the more you walk the more lean muscle you will develop. Lean muscle burns more calories as you use it. This means that you burn more calories because you have more muscular mass in general.
This means that you burn more calories because you have more muscular mass in general.
So, how much weight can you lose by walking? Keep this in mind. A pound of fat equals 3,500 calories.
In order to lose that one pound a week you will need to burn off 3,500 calories.
When it comes to losing weight it is the amount of distance that you cover that matters. Walking for a long time at a slow pace will not do much for your weight loss efforts.
You can expect to lose at least one pound a week by walking at a moderate pace for at least a half an hour to an hour a week.
Not only is walking the best thing for shedding pounds but it can also help prevent other disorders such as heart disease, colon cancer, diabetes, stroke and breast cancer.
Another bonus, walking can help keep your immune system in good working order.
If you are not used to exercising you might want to take it easy when you first start. Take care not to overdo it if you are in recovery from an illness or operation.
Besides, it is a really good idea to get checked out by a doctor before you begin any kind of exercise program – including a regimen to walk your weight off.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, you need to pay attention to the foods you are putting in your body.
This will have a huge impact on your overall weight loss success. Be aware of what you are eating, and your portion sizes.
Try to eat healthy, fresh foods as much as possible. Just staying away from fast food and packaged foods will help you knock off those pounds.
Why not start looking for some new recipes to try? You can easily find recipes online these days.
Look for ones that are heart healthy, low cholesterol and are low in carbohydrates. To save money try to find recipes that use foods that are in season.
Walking for weight loss is the perfect way to get started on creating a healthy lifestyle for yourself and your family.
And a pedometer will help you track your progress and motivate you to keep walking. All you have to do is put on some comfortable shoes; clip on your pedometer and put one foot in front of the other.
Remember to start slowly and then increase the intensity as your fitness level increase. You will feel better, lose weight and start sleeping better. Who doesn’t want that?
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