Walking is one of many physical activities that can help you become fit and healthy–and stay that way. The activity is low impact, enables you to explore your surroundings, requires no equipment and offers numerous health benefits. Regular walking can also help manage your weight, and as an added bonus, your next medical check up may show physiological changes as well! Is walking an activity that you currently or could potentially enjoy? Here are five tips for a successful program:
• Set a weekly mileage or step goal. Write down your weekly goal and plan for it. What time will you walk? Where will you walk? What distance will you cover? Your mileage or steps should be a planned activity, not part of your every day movement. With a moderate walking pace you should be able to complete 4 miles* in 60-65 minutes. Over the course of seven days, you could easily accumulate a minimum of 20 miles. If your are new to walking, start with 1-2 miles a week. Add a ½ mile per week until you reach your weekly goal. Work to complete the distance first, then you can work to increase your speed, if you so desire. If using a pedometer to record steps, work to accumulate 8,000 steps (steps to miles chart) a day.
• Walk at a moderate intensity. Using a scale of perceived exertion from 1 to 5 (1 is very easy, 5 is very hard) your walking should be at a level 3 or 4. A steady music tempo can help maintain intensity. If you enjoy listening to music while you walk, use your own music playlist and set a steady tempo (general range is between 120-140bpm). You can do this by using the Tempo Pro Magic app. Yet another app, RockMyRun–yes, you can use it to walk–changes the tempo of the music you’re listening to in order to match your pace. Explore other apps that offer similar features.
• Monitor your progress. How far did you walk today? What was your pace? How did you feel after your walk? Journaling, whether in a notebook or online, works well along with a pedometer. Those who are tech savvy can use an app, such as MapMyWalk. Within this app you can monitor your pace, record your distance and join in group challenges. Friends and family members (that use this app) can connect with you. It’s a great source for motivation, encouragement and friendly competition.
• Eliminate barriers. No sidewalks where you live? Is there rain in the forecast? No excuses. Plan accordingly. Use the stairs at your office building or any other public walking area. Here are local options:
• Mountain Ridge Middle School and Jenkins Middle School have tracks open to the public.
• Chapel Hills Mall’s route is 1.41 miles. A great indoor alternative!
• Create a support system. Join a walking group or recruit a walking buddy (or two!). Discover local MeetUp groups in your area like this local walking club.
Are you local and looking for a walking buddy? Reply below with your contact information & let’s see if we can connect you with someone!
*As an alternative, 4 miles could be accumulated over a 24-hour period.