Seven Mistakes That Could Derail Your Walking Weight-Loss PlansPosted: Feb 25 in Getting Active by Staff
Many people are taking to walking for health and fitness. Walking is convenient and you can do it almost anywhere, including in your house. Apart from a good pair of shoes, walking requires no financial input.
Walking is low-impact and you can adjust it to suit your level of fitness, your health, your age, and your schedule. However, there are mistakes you need to avoid to reap the full benefits of walking, particularly if your goal is to lose weight.
Some mistakes may lead to injury, while others may cause discomfort that reduces your enjoyment of this activity. Here are mistakes to avoid:
- Wearing the wrong shoes
For walking, experts recommend wearing athletic sneakers that fit correctly and offer adequate support. If shoes are too tight they will pinch, while loose shoes might cause blisters. Choose a shoe that offers enough support. For additional comfort, consider using an orthotic insole.
- Neglecting strength training
To lose weight, you need to do some strength or weight training. Strength training builds lean muscle, which is more active than fat and thus burns more calories. Strength in your hips and glutes enables you to walk faster and further. Strong muscles also help to prevent injury, meaning you will be encouraged to continue your walking routine.
- Taking it too easy
Sometimes you just want to take a leisurely walk, taking in the sights and sounds. This is fine, especially for your mental health, but if your goal is to lose weight, you need to walk at moderate intensity.
If you’re a beginner and find it difficult to walk briskly throughout your walk, alternate brisk bouts of three to five minutes with less intense walking. Aim to work up a sweat. To test the intensity of your walk, see if you can talk while walking. You should be able to talk but not sing if you’re walking at moderate intensity.
- Not drinking enough water
Before heading out for your walk, make sure you are well hydrated. Drink two cups of water at least an hour before you set out for your walk. You want the water to be out of your system before you head out to save you the trouble of having to look for a bathroom during your walk or the discomfort of walking on a full bladder. Drink a cup of water at the end of your walk.
- Pushing yourself too hard
Going full throttle from the word go can result in sore muscles, discomfort, and even injury. Personal trainers recommend starting slowly with distance and speed you can manage comfortably, then increasing these over weeks or even months. If you develop any pain, consult a physician before you continue with your program.
- Not walking far enough
Take a longer walk than normal at least once a week. Also, increase the distance you cover, week by week. Walk for a mile (1.6 km) longer or increase your walking time by 10 or 15 minutes every week, or whenever you feel ready.
- Not changing your route
When you use the same route day after day, negotiating the same terrain, you don’t challenge your body. Moreover, your mind also adjusts and you soon find the routine monotonous. You could easily give up on your walking program.
To keep your mind and body challenged, change the scenery every few days. You could try a new park, the beach, hilly terrain, country road, or urban hike, whatever is available in your area. Different terrain engages different muscle groups, so you end up with a more rounded workout.
Walking is an excellent exercise for you, whatever your fitness level or age. If you have a health concern, consult your doctor before engaging in a walking routine. However, to reap the maximum benefits of the activity, do it right and challenge yourself progressively.