7 Tips to Meet Your Walking Goals
Start with the right equipment.
When it comes to walking, shoes are your most important walking gear. To get off on the right foot, you'll want to be sure to protect your feet, legs and back (their all connected) with sturdy strolling shoes. They'll protect you from pavement pounding injuries so you won't get sidelined. If your sneakers are more than six months old it's time for a new pair.
Have a plan.
People who follow a formal walking program are more likely to stick to their goals than those who just say they'll walk most days of the week. Check out our walking calendars. You'll find plans for beginner walkers, weight loss, half-marathon and marathon training, as well as tons of information about walking.
Know your zone.
Whether you use a heart rate monitor or a 1-to-10 self-rating scale, exercising at the right intensity will help you lose weight and get fit faster. Maintaining your walks at a fat burning and fitness-building zone will increase your results.
Healthy fitness-related treats are a great way to keep you motivated on your walking program. A new pair of shoes, workout pants, and even socks, are all perfect and appropriate rewards. Plan to positively reinforce yourself with some sort of gift for every month of fitness walking you successfully complete.
On days when the going gets tough—get creative. If you can't make your regular 30-minute walk, break it up into doable chunks. Do 10 minutes in the morning, 10 at lunch and 10 after dinner. Don't let the weather keep you down either—walk at the mall, on a gym treadmill, or pop in a DVD.
Working out with a buddy may up your chances of success by making exercise feel easier. When 24 women walked or ran on a treadmill, those who received positive feedback such as "Great job," "Keep going," or "Excellent work" reported their workouts felt easier compared with women who received no encouraging words. The Bloomsburg University researchers weren't sure whether the cheerleading motivated exercisers or distracted them from discomfort. Even if your buddy isn't available during exercise—ask for friends and family to cheer you on.
Listen to your body.
If you find yourself feeling overly fatigued, or if you have a fever—stay home. Fitness walking when you aren't well will only make you feel worse. If you rest, you'll get back on your feet faster. While you're walking, it's normal to feel some discomfort as you push your body out of its comfort zone. As long as you feel good, go for it, but if you experience pain, nausea, or dizziness, you need to back off.
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