If you are not a fan of running, but you still want to lose weight all you need to do is walk. According to a British study, people who walk for fitness are slimmer than those who run or cycle.
Personal trainer and fitness video guru Jessica Smith truly believes that walking is indeed the best workout. She said: “I truly believe it’s the best way to get and stay in shape. Not only is it free, anyone can do it and you don’t need any equipment to begin. It’s easy on the joints, and I believe it helps with appetite control”—unlike with running, she feels less hungry after walking, not more.
And Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, author of Walking the Weight Off for Dummies says that the bigger you are the faster you will lose weight. You will lose around 2 pounds per week.
All you have to do is follow these tips by Palinski-Wade, Smith, and the orthopedic surgeon Scott Mullen, MD, of the University of Kansas Hospital Sports Medicine and Performance Center, compiled by Prevention.
1. Check with your doc
Walking might seem like a fairly easy activity to do, but if you haven’t been active for a while it can be difficult and painful “If you haven’t been exercising, running it by your primary care doctor is a good idea, just to make sure they don’t have any concerns or think you need any testing ahead of time,” says Mullen. Also, you have to listen to your body that will tell you if you are pushing it too much “Always listen to your body and pay attention to its signals,” Smith says.
2. Gear up
Don’t be cheap when it comes to walking gear. You need to invest in comfortable sneakers with stability and motion control options. “Look for a shop that does gait analyses to help you select the right pair for your specific foot type,” Mullen says. And Smith will tell you to get one size bigger because your feet will swell from that much walking. Also get the right sports bra—”it should support but not squish you,” Smith says. It would be wise to buy tops and bottoms that will absorb moisture and feel comfortable.
3. Fight the chafe
When you walk your skin will get sweaty and the movement will irritate it even more. To prevent this apply petroleum jelly on your thighs or wherever you have a problem with painful rubbing.
“Stop blisters before they start by pairing properly fitting shoes with socks that fit snugly without sliding,” Palinski-Wade says.
4. Ease in
Every big journey starts with small steps. So don’t overdo it. Start by walking 10 mins, then 15 and add 5 more every day. You want to build up to 30 to 60 minutes of walking most days of the week. “One of the great things about exercise in general, but especially with walking is that it really can be cumulative during the day,” Palinski-Wade says. You can take breaks every 10, 15 minutes until you finish your 60 min goal. “At first, keep your pace comfortably challenging—you should be able to speak a few sentences, but not carry on a lengthy conversation without effort” Palinski-Wade says.
5. Calm aches and pains
If you are walking uphill, expect for your muscles to be sore. That is quite normal. If your muscles are sore and painful, all you have to do is apply some ice on them and take a break from walking. “Take a day off if soreness alters your gait or limits your movements, or if your aches occur around your joints rather than just in your muscles,” Mullen advises. However, if rest doesn’t make you feel better and you are still in pain visit your sports doc or physical therapist for advice.
6. Keep track
Writing your achievements and goals in a dairy will keep you motivated. Over time you’ll start to see signs of improvement—”not just on the scale but in your fitness. That can be really motivating,” Palinski-Wade says.
7. Make it fun
To make walking more interesting and less mundane, invest in a music player, download an app to join fitness challenges and see how you stack up against friends. Plus create a playlist with powerful, motivating songs. Also, you can ask a friend to join you on your walks what Smith calls a walking “accountabilibuddy”—and spend some time catching up as you stride. And lastly, don’t always go to the same place or route. Make things more challenging by wearing light weights “Not only is it more challenging to your body, you’re going to see results faster that way, and it keeps the exercise fresh,” Palinski-Wade says.