Walking For Your Health

Walking 300One common question that I am frequently asked is if it’s true that you can lose weight simply by walking. And the answer is always the same Of Course You Can. In fact, everyone should strive to reach that magic number of 10,000 steps each and every day however; any amount of walking can be beneficial.

Realizing the benefits of walking

Physical activity isn’t intended to be complicated. Just by taking a brisk walk on a daily basis can allow you to live a healthy life. Increasing the distance, speed and frequency that you walk will result in greater benefits. Here are a few examples of how a brisk daily walk can benefit you:

  • Helps you to keep a healthy weight
  • Can reduce or prevent various health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease
  • Helps to keep your bones strong
  • Improves your mood
  • Can help improve balance & coordination

 

As you begin to turn a normal walk into a quicker fitness pace you need to focus on your posture and movements. Concentrate on the following as you begin to increase your walking pace:

  • Be sure to keep your head up and look forward, don’t look at the ground.
  • Keep your back, shoulders and neck relaxed not stiff.
  • Slightly bend your elbows and freely swing your arms, you should have a little pumping action in your arms.
  • Make sure to keep your back straight (do not arch forward or backward) and slightly tighten your stomach muscles.
  • You want to walk smoothly, as you walk roll your foot from your heel to your toe.

 

When you begin a walking routine consider the following:

  •  Be sure you have the proper equipment. Select shoes that provide proper arch support and that have a firm heel as well as a thick but flexible sole (you want to absorb the shock and cushion your feet). If you choose to walk outside at night, use reflective tape or wear brightly colored clothing or a safety vest to keep you visible. Some individuals will use a weighted vest, ankle weights, hand weights or some other exercise equipment to burn extra calories and intensify their walking workout, be careful not to over things, start out slow and add weight gradually.
  • Carefully select a course. When you walk outdoors there can be all types of hazards, keep an eye out for low-hanging tree branches, broken sidewalks, uneven surfaces and potholes.
  • Begin with an easy warm up. For the first 5 -10 minutes walk slowly, you need to let your muscles warm up and prepare the body for exercise.
  • Finish with a cool down. After you finish your walk then continue to walk slowly for another 5 -10 minutes to help cool down the muscles.
  • Don’t forget to stretch. Gently stretch after you finish your cool down. If you prefer stretching before your walk, then warm up first.

 

Remember to start of slowly and gradually increase your speed, duration and distance and before long you’ll reach and possibly pass the 10,000 step goal.

 

Diet and Fitness – The Perfect Couple

Walking on Track 300In order to live a long, healthy and happy life, you’ll discover there are really only two rules to be adopted: diet & fitness.  Although many believe that they're the same, there isn't anything further from the truth. It is quite doable to maintain a nutritious diet without any fitness habits. Additionally, it is possible to be quite physically fit and maintain poor eating habits.

I have to be honest; you can actually shed pounds by dieting only. It will be tough but it is doable. Additionally, it is possible to stay physically fit yet have some extra weight hanging around. You may have heard the old saying "you are what you eat". If we maintain a diet that is high in fat and low in substance, our bodies simply won't have the energy necessary to burn fats. In addition if we don't supply our systems with the resources it requires to produce muscle it won't matter how much weight we lift or how regularly we exercise.

The greatest benefits are reached when diet & fitness work as a team instead of separately. A fitness routine can be used to burn off extra calories and your diet plan will provide the body with the nutrition and fuel required to produce muscle. Did you ever hear someone say muscle doesn't weigh as much as fat?  Quite simply, it doesn't matter if it's muscle or fat, one pound is still one pound. However, one pound of lean muscle takes up less area on our body when compared to the same amount of fat.  But, I would prefer my body be made up of muscle rather than fat. Diet alone will not produce muscle which is something to keep in mind in your endeavors to become fit.

Remember, when you are creating muscle and preferably shedding inches, you might not see a lot of movement on your scale. It's critical you don't gauge your progress solely by the numbers on the scale alone or you'll be mislead by the results.  One big problem I frequently see is too many individuals fall into this trap and become frustrated and stop trying when they're really making excellent progress.  Never let yourself turn into a slave of the scale.  A much better approach is to put on some clothes that had previously been too tight, or simply use the mirror and a tape measure.  Calculate if your sucessful by the way your feeling after a quick 10 minute walk or perhaps a climb up a set of stairs and not by the number of pounds you lost during the past week.

By choosing to include a fitness routine as part of your daily activities you're allowing your system to burn up any excess calories you might have consumed throughout the day. Meaning that should you cheat a bit on your diet throughout the day, you can get back on course by shedding more unwanted calories than you normally do at night. This isn't a practice that you want to make routine, but the occasional slip for a special event (Birthday, Holidays, Super Bowl) isn't likely to destroy your diet.  Dieting & fitness if properly combined can produce fantastic results for individuals who take both of them seriously. Both need to band together to produce maximum benefits.