Cheat Sheet

Walking the Weight Off For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Walking the Weight Off For Dummies

By Erin Palinski-Wade

It may sound too good to be true, but losing weight doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the more simple your weight loss efforts, the more likely you will lose weight and keep it off for good. One of the simplest ways to lose weight is by just walking, something you already do each and every day. Anyone can do it, almost anywhere, and at any time. Just get up and start putting one foot in front of the other, and you are well on your way to achieving your weight-loss goals.

Increasing the Intensity of Walking Workouts

After your walking workouts begin showing results and you start losing weight, you’ll find yourself motivated to try to do more, and that’s great. You can safely increase the intensity of your workouts with just a few simple adjustments.

Increase your daily steps

A calorie burned is a calorie burned, no matter how you do it. By simply walking a few extra steps today than you did yesterday, you will burn a few more calories, helping you on your path to weight-loss success. The more steps you can fit in each day, the better.

To help increase your steps, purchase a pedometer and wear it from the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed. Do this for three days to figure out how many steps, on average, you walk each day. Then aim to walk an additional 500 steps each day for a week. Once this goal is easily achieved, aim to add on another 500 steps each day.

Keep doing this until you can walk 10,000 steps or more each day. Although it sounds simple, these steps really add up in a big way.

Increase your walking speed

Going for a daily walk is a great way to boost your health along with your weight-loss efforts. The longer you walk, the more calories you burn, which can help to promote faster weight loss.

But maybe you have a tight schedule and can only walk for a short period of time each day. Not to worry! By increasing your speed when walking, you can cover a greater distance in the same period of time. This technique allows you to burn more calories per minute, which means you’ll achieve a faster rate of weight loss without having to increase the amount of time you spend exercising each day.

Increase your incline

Walking daily is a great form of exercise, but if you walk in the same way day after day, your body will become accustomed to your walk. This means that your muscles won’t have to work as hard to help you walk at the same speed or for the same distance. And when muscles aren’t challenged, you burn fewer calories and lose less weight. To prevent this problem, mixing up the way you walk is vital.

One way to do this is by added an incline to your walk. If you walk outdoors, aim to walk uphill for part or all of your walk. If you walk indoors, add stairs or an incline on a treadmill to your walk to increase the intensity of your workout.

When you walk on an incline, the muscles in your lower body along with your core have to work harder to propel you uphill. This extra work not only increases the amount of calories you burn each minute as you walk, but it also helps to tone and tighten muscles as well.

Making Walking Part of Your Lifestyle

Setting aside time each day to take a walk is a great start to losing weight and improving your health. But research has found individuals who set aside time to actually workout may end up being less active at the end of the day than their peers who lead an active lifestyle but don’t schedule in structured workouts.

For the individuals who schedule workouts, the activity becomes a chore, and they find it hard to stay on track, especially if they are inactive for much of the day. If, however, you use walking as a way to stay active all day long, you don’t need to schedule chores to manage your weight and maintain your fitness.

So to be as active as possible, make sure you incorporate walking as part of your lifestyle. Here are some ideas that can help:

  • Take the opportunity to fit in additional steps throughout the day whenever possible.

  • Stand and walk while talking on the phone.

  • Park in the furthest parking spot instead of the closest.

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Although all of these ideas seem simple, when you do them day after day, in combination with a structured walking workout, you can quickly and easily achieve your weight-loss goals and also keep the weight off for good.