My Top 5 Strategies for Maximizing Your Health with WalkingNov 02, 2023
I begged to get out of gym class, I refused to walk anywhere because I didn't like it. But then I had no choice- hello adulting. I had to get myself to work with no vehicle, and my son to school. And worse, the school was at the bottom of a big hill. People might see me, I thought. They might think I'm trying to lose weight. They might see me struggling and laugh at the fat girl struggling to get up the hill.
So I took the long way. It took me 30 minutes to get home instead of 15, just so I could avoid the dang hill.
No one was more shocked than me to look in the mirror one year later at a totally different version of me.
After that I became slightly obsessed with fitness, and nutrition. You might think that's the end - Girl transforms - happy ending kinda thing, but there is an ugly side of weight loss and I wrote all about it in my book Be Weightless, Like Your Body Love Yourself
A couple of years ago, I began to lay off running. I had become a recreational runner in my early 40s and began leading group fitness. Then I bonked. In the quest to keep moving I looked to milder types of exercise, and circled back to walking as my source of cardio, instead of running and vigorous work.
Something magical happened. It was like returning home. Walking has so many benefits beyond exercise. It's actually enjoyable. No huffing and puffing, no coaching myself to get tough, keep going, no beating myself up for not being fast enough. You know what we say to ourselves WHILE we exercise matters too. If it's being done in a punishing voice, or dread, it's going to do nothing for transformation.
Occassionally I jog a bit, but only if I want to, and I really wish I learned how to love myself like this earlier. Well actually in the beginning I did. I had no expectations except to avoid the hill, and get from point a to b. Once I felt my body and mind transforming it became a craving. I never expected that.
It's so simple. But not easy right? There is a time investment and in this present day it seems to be something we are so short on!
And it can get boring with no goal attatched to it.
I want to share with you my top five strategies for getting the most out of your walking routine. Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your walking to the next level, these tips will help you stay consistent, motivated, and maximize your health benefits.
1. Start small and stay consistent: One crucial thing to remember when starting a walking plan is that more is not always better. It's best to start with shorter walks and gradually increase your distance or intensity. This helps prevent injuries and allows your body to adjust gradually. For example, if you're currently doing around 3000 steps a day, aim to add 3000 to 5000 steps to your routine over time.
2. Spice up your walks with variety: To keep your walks interesting, add some variety. Try incorporating hill training walks, exploring new trails, or even interval training. Adding these elements not only makes your walks more enjoyable but also boosts your cardiovascular fitness and calorie burn in a shorter period of time.
3. Give yourself permission to be a beginner: Even if you've walked in the past or have been doing it for years, starting a new walking program can mean facing new challenges. Embrace the mindset of a beginner and allow yourself to learn and discover new things along the way. Don't make excuses, but instead approach walking with a fresh perspective and a willingness to adapt.
4. Find your sweet spot and stick to it: Pay attention to when you feel most energized and successful during your walks. Whether it's in the morning, after lunch, or in the evening, identify your "sweet spot" and make it a regular part of your schedule. Lock in that time and treat it as a non-negotiable appointment with yourself. This consistency will help you stay committed and reap the long-term benefits of walking.
5. Walk unplugged: Take a break from the distractions and allow yourself to tune in to your body. Walk without earbuds or any external stimuli that might divert your attention. By listening to your body's needs and cues, you can better assess your physical and mental state. This unplugged approach also helps reduce cortisol levels, aiding in weight loss efforts and boosting overall well-being.
If you're looking for a solid plan to follow, with a schedule to keep you on track, consider joining the Walk & Win program. It offers a comprehensive guide, checklists, and a supportive community to keep you motivated and accountable. Remember, consistency is key, and together we can achieve our goal of walking 20 to 30 minutes a day!
I hope you found these strategies helpful. Share this post with a friend who might want to join you on your walking journey. Let's prioritize our health and make walking a regular part of our lives!