Not a fan of the gym? Or the swimming pool? Or even going for a run? Don’t worry – the good news is that even those who don’t like to work out can stay healthy with physical exercise. How? By walking regularly!
Walking is one of the easiest and affordable ways to stay physically fit, and it’s also a versatile form of exercise that can be practiced year-round, indoors or outdoors. Whether you’re interested in beginning a new walking regime or you’ve already started the habit, we’ve got some top tips for getting in shape by walking.
Read on to learn how to stroll to fitness success:
- Invest in Suitable Shoes
Before you start your new walking workout, you should invest in a decent pair of suitable walking shoes. Since these are the only expense and equipment you’ll need, it’s worth spending the extra dollar for a quality pair of shoes that fit well. After all, a decent pair should last you a long time.
Walking shoes should fit when you try them on without experiencing any pinching or pressure that could result in blisters or calluses as you walk. Your shoes should feature decent arch support and a slightly elevated heel to support your feet when walking and prevents any wobbling.
Depending on the climate and type of terrain you plan to walk on, it may be useful to invest in trekking poles or other suitable accessories.
If you’re wondering how to get in shape fast by walking, then you’ll want to pace rapidly with an exaggerated swinging of the arms to burn extra calories. This is also known as ‘power walking’.
However, just as you’d warm-up for any other high-intensity physical activity, you should warm-up ahead of power walking too.
Start with a stroll for five minutes, before slowly picking up the tempo and walking faster and faster. After around 20 minutes, you can walk to your quickest pace.
Remember to also allow your body to cool down once you finish your power walk. You can even do a few stretching exercises to help.
- Listen to Your Heart Rate
While you should walk at a pace that challenges you and gets your heart rate racing, be sure not to overdo it. Listen to your heart rate and breathing as you walk. You should be breathing harder than usual with your heart beating faster, but you should still be able to carry a conversation and speak in complete sentences. If you can’t you may be walking too fast and should slow it down.
- Always Carry Water
It’s a given, but when you go for a walk you should always leave with a full bottle of water, whether you’re going for a short stroll or a long hike.
If you’re walking long distances or are walking in hot weather, you should bring more water than usual. In very hot weather, you may additionally need to bring fitness drinks or some other source of electrolytes. However, be aware of the high sugar and calorie content present in some of these drinks.
- Track Your Success
When walking for exercise, tracking your steps on smartphone apps or Fitbits can be motivational for your regime.
Watching your improvement over time is a wonderful way to drive you on and you’ll find yourself wanting to beat your previous targets!
Not only are tracking devices like Fitbit useful for your fitness regime and targets, but they can also look super trendy too. Complete your Fitbit Charge 2 style with a new designer strap to complement your sporty and stylish exercise look.
- Prepare for the Elements
If you’re walking outside, you’ll need to prepare for the climate and type of terrain, so you don’t become unwell or struggle on your hike.
During the winter, be sure to wear lots of warm, light layers with plenty of cozy accessories such as gloves and a hat to keep your snug. If you do get too warm as you exercise, you can always peel off several layers.
In the summer, dress appropriately for warm weather and always, always bring sunscreen and a hat! This is especially so if you’re walking long distances. You’ll also want to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Socialize as You Stroll
Do you get bored walking for long periods? While walking can be a great way to have some quiet ‘me’ time to clear your mind and feel refreshed, sometimes it can get a bit lonely.
The best way to get in shape while also having fun is to bring someone along with you.
Invite family, friends, or co-workers to join you for a walk and use the time to catch up. If you choose a scenic route, it can feel more special and you may not even realize that you’re even working out!
- Vary Your Route
The best part of walking for fitness is that you can do it pretty much anywhere – indoors, outdoors, out in the wild nature, or the comfort of your own home. The world is your oyster!
Usually, we end up walking the same route again and again, usually because it’s the most convenient. Perhaps it’s your daily walk to work or a stroll in your local park.
If you need more motivation, changing up your walking routine can help a great deal. After all, it’s difficult to find the drive to get into shape if you’re bored of your regime.
Consider taking a new route to work, or you could even take the train or bus to a new neighborhood to explore. That way you can make a day of it and discover a new place while you work out. The possibilities are endless!
Getting in shape can be easy with a successful and consistent walking routine. Most of the time, you won’t believe that you’re exercising at all!
Remember that before embarking on a new fitness regime, you should always see a doctor for a medical check-up and to discuss your plans. This is especially so if you’re obese, suffer from a chronic medical condition, or haven’t exercised in a long time.
Did you enjoy this article? For more fitness advice, check out our Health + Fitness section.