Walking to Lose Weight
In a recent article posted on the highly regarded nonprofit website Obesity Action Coalition, certified exercise physiologist and health fitness specialist Mira Rasmussen BS, ACSM-HFS,discusses the importance of walking as a way to create “a natural connection between our thoughts and well-being [that can’t be] replicated so easily by running on a treadmill, cycling, or during any other type of movement.” In addition to making that essential mind-body connection, walking has been shown to be the best way for persons interested in weight loss to see real results. No other form of exercise is as egalitarian as walking can be. It is something nearly everyone can get started doing at anytime and derive from walking very positive physical and emotional benefits.
In her article, titled “Walk into Weight Loss“, Mira provides tips for getting started as well as individual targets to shoot for to see in yourself the weight loss you want to achieve. Among the key tips she provides, Mira recommends the following.
Walk before you run
You need to “ease into” a walking program that fits you where you are at the moment you are ready to get started. Mira suggests a device that counts your steps each day to help you understand your starting point and then build from there. Starting small with basic changes you build in incrementally is the best approach.
Use the science behind exercise
Each person has a maximal heart rate number in beats per minute. Finding out your specific number (how fast your heart can beat in one minute), allows you to set a training level at a certain percentage rate to your maximal heart rate. Mira’s article includes a helpful chart on maximal heart rates and how to think about which percentage rate is best for you. Ideally and to be safe, she recommends you seek out a fitness professional to have a metabolic test called VO2max testing, which determines your individual exercise zone–important to reaching the goals you’ve set for yourself.
Consider yourself first
Starting a fitness program is easy, but keeping to it is hard. Think about what you want out of it, and what you prefer when you set up your walking program, rather than following a program set up by someone else. Mira recommends you think about three things:
- the environment you prefer when getting started– indoors or outside;
- what inspires you — time alone or walking with a friend; and
- your schedule — you’re busy, so “if walking twice per week for 15 minutes is the only feasible starting point, start there!”
Walking is a great way to get exercise: it’s cheap, it’s easy to do, and it’s even easier to get started when you apply the recommendations we’ve condensed here. To read the full article, visit Walk into Weight Loss.