Walking is among the simplest, easiest, cheapest and most effective forms of exercise. Also, it is easy to incorporate into a busy lifestyle. Helping you reduce the pounds is not the only benefits you could derive from walking. It also helps lower the cholesterol levels in the body, cuts the risk of diabetes, improves the strength of the bones, and improves the circulation. Adding a few little steps everyday would greatly contribute into leading a healthy life.
If you have been not so physically active for some time, it is best to first consult with your doctor before starting a fitness program. In terms of walking, it is best to first establish a baseline most especially if you have been inactive for a while. Start with maybe walking at least every weekend for about fifteen to thirty minutes. Build up from there. After some time, make it to maybe three times a week and gradually increase the time. As a walker, you could either focus on distance or time. Some prefer to measure their walking through the distance covered while others put their focus on how long they walk. At the end of the day, it is about speed. Speed is the measure of distance over time. Make use of both. Also, include your heart rate. You must also keep the intensity of your exercise in check. Use your heart rate to gauge the intensity.
In terms of checking your pulse rate, you may manually check for your pulse by counting the beats per minute or simply make use of a heart rate monitor. But the values are highly dependent on your level of physical fitness. One easy way to check if the intensity of your workout is still right for you, see if you could still string about six to eight words. If you could, the intensity is just right. But if you find yourself gasping for air, lower the intensity. If you could still say a lot in one breath, increase the intensity.
The main predicament of those who are just beginning to have walking as their workout is that they find it hard to stay motivated. Here are simple yet effective ways on how to keep yourself motivated. Wearing a pedometer would help. Wear it for a week to see how many steps you have made. The following week, aim for more. This would help you keep track of your progress as a walker. Recording details in a journal also helps. Having someone to walk with would keep you even more motivated. It gives you someone to lean on and it also improves your relationship with that person. Also, get involved in charity walks. It is easier to keep walking if you know it is for a good cause.
If you are already comfortable with this new addition to your life, maybe it is time for an upgrade. First, speed up. Brisk walking burns more calories. You may also head for the hills. An upward slope increases the intensity of your workout. Changing the surface is also a good upgrade. Try walking on snow, sand grass, and trails. It adds challenge to your exercise. Another way to upgrade your workout is to add weigh by carrying backpacks or weight vest.