Walking to Lose Weight Means Staying on Top of Your Diet and Exercise

We’ve all heard the anecdotes. “I’ve been walking more than ever, to work, to church, to the grocery, but I’ve been gaining weight. You can’t use walking to lose weight!” Next time a friend says this, just reply, “You’re doing it wrong.”

In fact, walking is a great way to lose weight if you change your thinking a little bit and follow these simple guidelines.

First, you must be committed to walking to lose weight. Many people try dieting because it’s easier to cut calories than to exercise regularly. While healthy eating is a good idea, the payoff of walking to lose weight goes beyond the benefits of losing weight through dieting. Introducing a low-impact exercise routine into your lifestyle will make you look and feel better and help you keep off the weight instead of yo-yoing up and down with a parade of failed diets.

Second, set realistic targets for yourself. Some people can burn off a lot of weight quickly with exercise. Others have trouble getting started at all. If you’ve never tried to exercise regularly before, walking is a good way to start. But you should start slowly. Walk briskly for 5 minutes around your block every day for a week. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss your first few targets—just set the bar lower at first. But stick with it and slowly increase your walking time.

To get the most from your walking program, you need the right equipment. Walking to lose weight begins with a good pair of walking shoes. You’ll also want to determine how far and fast you need to walk to burn enough calories to reach your weight loss goals. How many calories you burn depends on how much you weigh now. Pedometers and heart rate monitors are affordable and widely available, and you can use a calorie calculator to determine your ideal walking pace.

If you’re measuring your speed and burned calories, you’ll need to know how far to walk. Use a GPS map to calculate your walking routes. One of the beauties of walking is that you can do it anywhere—on hot days, you can do 20 laps inside a mall. You can walk the same route every day, or you can explore far and wide, taking a different walk every day. But it’s important to know how far you need to walk to reach your goal.

Walking to lose weight works best when you also watch what you eat. Legend has it that on April 2, 2007, the 1 millionth book about dieting was published somewhere in the world. So we’re not about to discuss dieting in depth. But simple changes in your diet, like cutting sugar and salt, can make a big difference.

Keep Walking to Lose Weight and Keep It Flexible and Spontaneous

The best part about walking to lose weight is that you can do it any way you want. Join a local walking group or start your own. Can’t find a whole hour to take a walk? Break up your daily fitness into smaller parts. The important thing to is to stay committed. Any amount of walking beats no activity at all. Walking to lose weight need not be all or nothing. If you learn to make more healthy changes in your life, you’re making progress.