There are so many fancy gadgets available for us to work out and get into shape. But there is one activity open to everyone, and it is extremely easy to get started, walking. Walking offers many health benefits; in fact, getting those steps in each day could help you successfully manage your prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends a 30-minute walk at least five times per week.
“Taking into account factors such as the subjects’ health status, researchers discovered a 51 percent lower mortality risk for those who took 8,000 steps a day, compared with those who took 4,000. And the more the subjects walked, the greater the benefit. In fact, extending a stroll to 12,000 steps a day was linked to a 65 percent lower risk of death. Even better, a rigorous walk wasn’t required to see these benefits; low-intensity strolls appeared to be just as effective as higher-intensity power walks for the nearly 5,000 study participants.”
Although you have probably been walking since you were a child, there may also be some new techniques you can pick up that will help you burn even more calories. Look at these tips for walking your way to a healthier you.
Speed up. Depending on your weight, you can burn about 65 to 100 calories for each mile you walk. If you move faster, you will burn more calories covering the same distance.
Vary the pace. Studies also show that interval training is an effective way to burn more calories. Alternate between periods of walking briskly and strolling at a more moderate pace.
Check your posture. To move efficiently and avoid injuries, ensure you are using the proper form. It is usually safer to take more steps rather than trying to lengthen your stride. Check that your heels hit the ground first and use your toes to push you forward. Engage your core muscles to take the pressure off your back.
Use your arms. Swinging your arms will also increase the intensity. If you want to add props, try walking poles or hand weights. But be sure that your hand weights are not too heavy. Start light and add weight as you get stronger.
Walk backward. Seriously, not only will you use your muscles in a new way, but you will also burn calories and include some fun in your workout. Try walking backward in a safe area like around your neighborhood middle school track for an extra challenge. Climbing up hills is another beneficial option.
Hit the beach. Did you know that just changing the surface you walk on can power up your workout? Traveling across sand or snow requires more energy than walking on smooth pavement.
Listen to music. Playing your favorite tunes can make any workout seem like less effort. Put together a lively soundtrack that will motivate you to keep going.
Dress comfortably. You can buy shoes designed specifically for walking or just choose any pair with low heels and firm support. Your local athletic shoe store get you fitted and help you pick out the best shoes for your feet. Dressing in protective layers will also help you deal with cold or wet weather.
Find a buddy. You know I love an accountability partner. Walking with others can be fun. Invite family and friends along or join a local hiking group. If you have a dog, you have a companion who would love to join you at the park. I know my English Bulldog Winston loves our walks together; he is such an awesome walking buddy.
Before you start, talk with your doctor. I know every Health Coach says this, but you should check with your doctor. Especially if you are getting back into the swing of working out. Even though walking is a generally safe and low-impact activity, you may want to check with your doctor if you have been sedentary for a while. Your physician can help you set goals that are realistic for you.
Walking is so simple but does so much for your health and fitness. In addition to burning more calories, you strengthen your muscles, manage your blood sugar levels, and condition your heart with each extra step you take. Make walking a regular part of your workout program and daily routines.
With Peace and Love,
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