Get, and Keep, Walking Every Day

Walking Every Day for Fitness
Walk every day, in all kinds of weather, to increase your health and maintain (or lose) weight. It doesn't always need to be a power walk - even a stroll in the park with a friend is beneficial.

“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.”

I’m not sure who coined that phrase but it is one of my favorites when I’m lacking in motivation. This is especially true when it comes to good health and personal fitness and the phrase motivates me every day to strap on my pedometer and get out there for a walk.

You see really, when it comes right down to it, the exercise we do today determines what we can or cannot do in the future. How hard we push ourselves this week will determine how good we look next week. However, it is important to remember that personal health and fitness needn’t be an all encompassing lifestyle. Make it a part of who you are and what you do. You don’t need to be a guru or a fitness expert to reap the rewards and you don’t need to knock yourself out.

While some may think that exercise and fitness needs to be hard, challenging or even painful, this needn’t be the case. Many trainers and fitness experts having written numerous studies on aerobic exercise and suggest that walking for just 30 minutes per day is sufficient to maintain a higher level of health and increase your life span.

Walking? Yes, walking. It isn’t particularly challenging – although you can make it so – and it doesn’t require a lot of money to get started. You really just need some comfortable and supportive shoes, motivation, and an accurate pedometer to chart your progress.

For your efforts you will reap the rewards of:

  • a reduction in body fat
  • lower your cholesterol levels
  • an increase in cardiovascular endurance
  • lower blood pressure
  • a strengthened immune system
  • a consistent weight range
  • higher bone density
  • lessened risks for colon cancer, diabetes, heart disease
  • plus much more.

How to Get Started

Here’s all you really need:

  • comfortable shoes (preferably designed for fitness walking)
  • a walking journal or notepad to record your progress
  • a step counter or pedometer
  • 5 minutes to warm up and 30 minutes to walk
  • motivation to do it, every day

Now look around. You’ll see people walking for fitness in every park, city streets, along the boardwalk, down a country road – even in shopping malls. You won’t be alone in your quest for better health! The popularity of walking for fitness is growing by leaps and bounds due to it’s ease, health benefits and low start up cost. In conclusion, walking is truly one of the best ways to get back into a more active lifestyle while positioning you on the path to a longer and healthier life.

Pedometer Basics

Although they’ve been around for decades I am often asked by people I meet on my walks about the gadget I have strapped to my waist. It doesn’t seem to matter which country or city I’m walking in – the device and the concept behind the pedometer is not as well known as you’d think. If you’ve landed here because you want to know what a pedometer is and why you’d want one, then this article is just right for you. Pedometers are inexpensive tools that count your steps and keep you motivated in an exercise regime. They are, in effect, a fitness and weight loss tool.

The pedometer is a small – simple or complex – electronic device. The basic function of this device is to track and record how many steps you take throughout the day and over time. Most models also convert the steps into the number of miles walked, number of calories burned and, if you’re a Weight Watchers’ fan, the number of activity points you’ve earned. The more advanced pedometers store the data so you can track your progress from month to month and some even connect to your computer via a USB port so you can track your progress through software and online services.

On a personal level, the pedometer keeps you motivated to take more walks, park a little further from your destination, be more willing to climb the stairs, and always competing against your own personal best.

You’re not alone in finding that with a pedometer hanging from your waist you’ll be walking more. A study performed by the University of Minnesota had clear results that people wearing pedometers walk more, on average, than people not wearing them. The study split people into two groups. Both groups were encouraged in the same manner to walk each day – the members of one group were given pedometers, the others were not.

The members who had a pedometer increased their steps approximately 2100 per day – the equivalent to 20 minutes of steady walking or a 30% increase in their average routine. The members without a pedometer walked a little more than half as many blocks as the first group.

This isn’t just a short term anomaly. People who own and use a pedometer tend to stick to a walking routine longer as well.

Once you have your pedometer, set daily and weekly goals to get the most use out of it. Read other articles on to learn how to set your baseline step rate and simple ways to increase the number of steps you take each day.

Doing your best to ignore the fact that you’re wearing a pedometer, carry on your normal routine for a few days to a week. Don’¬ít aim for a certain number of steps per day during this time or you will be defeating the exercise of increasing your step rate. You want to measure how many steps you’d normally take in a normal day, seven days a week, work days and weekends.

Next you’ll want to calculate the steps you took and make a goal to take 500 to 1000 steps more each day. Five hundred more steps is nothing more than taking a walk around your city block, parking at the other end of the parking lot, getting off the bus or subway one stop early, or walking in place while watching a 30 minute sitcom on television at the end of the day. Every week assess your progress and keep working up to a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. If you are participating in a challenge to lose weight you’ll want to increase your daily steps to 15,000 per day.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to increase your exercise and a pedometer helps you to keep track of your progress and motivate you to keep at it.