Increase Cardio to Gain Strength While Losing Weight

Treadmill, bike, stair climber, elliptical...which is right for you?Cardio exercises assist you to increase your heart rate by targeting the large muscle groups. This is why most cardio workouts involve upper thigh workouts – even as simplistic as walking and running. Once a moderate level of fitness is reached, we can’t get the same cardiovascular benefits just through leg movements and so the arms are engaged to keep your heart pumping and calories burning.

The categories of home exercise equipment we use for cardio exercises are listed below. If you own these machines and aren’t seeing as much progress, try incorporating arm exercises or increasing the speed of use to take your fitness to the next level.

  • Treadmill – Studies showing that exercise on the treadmill is superior over most other fitness equipment. You can adjust the settings to suit your fitness level or energy level in the workout. You’ll be able to walk, jog or run from the comfort of your own home regardless of the weather outside your door.
  • Stationary Step Machine – This class of home gym equipment burns calories, tones and enhances hips, legs and butts. You’ll also hear them called stair climbers and some come with an electronic display showing you (amongst other things) how many calories you have burned during your workout. Not recommended for the overly obese range or for those with weak joints.
  • Stationary Bike – Bikes without wheels that you can plant in front of the television set or computer to get a quick workout in at any time. Perfect for the home gym that doesn’t have much room to spare. According to recent studies a 30 minute workout on a stationary bike per day will maintain your current fitness level while conditioning your heart for more.
  • Elliptical Trainer – One of the most popular home gym exercise equipment available. The perfect home workout for anyone with stiff or weak joints.
  • Rowing Machine – Intense cardio workouts for moderate to hard core athletes. Easily folded and stored under a bed or in a small closet making them an excellent choice for a home gym. Some models have electronics to display and store calories burned, intensity of the workout or speed.

If you’re setting up your home gym for the first time and you aren’t sure which piece of equipment you want to buy first, I suggest getting a visitor pass to a professional gym or a one-month membership. Try out the equipment and see which one suits your style and needs best before committing to the purchase. Be sure to read our reviews (currently we are working through the treadmill models) and check out our current sales. Pedometers.org checks for the best deals online and factor in shipping costs and warranties to ensure you get the best value at the lowest final price.

Defining Factors For Home Fitness Machine Purchases

For many of us there are two primary places to work out – through a gym membership or in a home gym with fitness machines.

When you first contemplate taking control of your health and fitness, the thought of working out in a public gym with all those muscular and able bodies is daunting. So why not buy some home fitness machines and begin your weight loss at home?

But wait! Before you shell out a big investment in equipment there are a few points I want to warn you about to help you make the best selection for your needs and goals. And, I’ll even save you future hassles and money in the process. Every week I watch the national flyers and evaluate costs and products, factoring in shipping or delivery, warranties and durability. That is why you’ll find my purchase recommendations change so often – I’m looking after you.

Let’s first cover the basics and then I’ll show you the best deals based on my review.

  1. Performance and Quality – Even though I can help you find the best price, based on manufacturer’s suggested retail, you will always get what you pay for. Home fitness machines are available in three levels of quality but the variances in price between mid-range and top-notch aren’t drastic. So I suggest you buy the best that you can afford and end up with equipment that lasts or has resale value once you decide to start working out at the gym. Suggested Treadmills: Nautilus T514, (more coming soon).

  2. Intended Usage – When you buy an exercise machine, choose the one that you’ll be most excited about to use. Do your best not to let price, color or salesmen sway you. With a firm budget and necessary features in mind, don’t sway or be persuaded by commercials.
  3. Home Gym Space – If the area you’ve designated for home gym space is restrictive, make sure that your new exercise equipment will work in that space. Look for machines that fold away (and be sure to check the folded size) so you can do other exercises like free weights or yoga as your body transforms.
  4. Based on Your Personal Needs – Are you a senior? Morbidly obese? Suffering from past sports injuries? These are all factors to consider before setting up the home gym. Previous injuries and other health situations may require a pre-consultation with your medical doctor or at least a fitness trainer. As an example, if you have weak knees you might not be suited for a stair climber. Another? Those with bad backs probably shouldn’t jump right into cross-country ski machines or rowers.
  5. Safety Features – Aside from built in heart rate monitors and such, consider other safety features if children will ever have access to your home gym.
  6. Difficulty Factors – It can be tricky to match the machine to your needs today and your needs in the future. You don’t want to choose expensive exercise equipment that is too difficult to master but on the other side of the coin you don’t want to choose one that you’ll outgrow in a month’s time. Shop for, and purchase, home gym equipment that matches your current skill level but has enough features to challenge you later as well.
  7. Warranty – I can’t stress this point enough. Home gym equipment takes a beating when you’re dedicated to being fit or losing weight. It has to be tough enough to stand your eagerness or at least well warrantied to have the equipment fixed for free if it breaks down. The only items Pedometers.org approves of has a minimum 5 year warranty on frames and motors. I don’t suggest settling for anything less.

Choosing A Pedometer to Lose Weight

Resolution time is upon us once again. So dust off those pedometers, we’re off to get some fit-inducing walks underway. Just by wearing your pedometer again and observing your daily steps and distance traveled will be motivational. I suggest if you are just starting out in your trek to better health, you wear it all day long for at least two weeks and journal your daily count. Once you have some new habits in place, you can wear your pedometer just for walking workouts.

If you don’t own a pedometer, or have never used one in the past, you might need a little guidance to choose the best one for your personality type, your needs, and your interest in fitness. At the most basic level, a pedometer will sense your body’s movement and count every step you take. Technology has taken this small device to do so much more though.

Once the steps are racking up, a pedometer will next convert those steps into distance traveled. It does so by learning the length of your stride. To do so you must program the pedometer to your average step (stride) length. Each model varies so you’ll have to read the instruction manual to get this accurately.

Here is a little explanation though to make sense of the measurement. Step lengths and stride lengths are often referred to as the same thing but in some cases they are different. Your step length is the distance from your heel print of one foot to the heel print of the other foot. Stride length is measured similarly by many pedometers but some explain it as the heel print of one foot to the next time that same foot imprints. Really this is a stride length of two steps, since the other foot has already touched down once.

Sometimes you can come across a fairly accurate guess-timate of stride length based on your height. For women the equation is your height x .413. For men the equation is your height x .415. This never worked for me but I have a longer than average inseam.

Enter the Multi-function Pedometer

Although all pedometers will count steps, there are others that record calories burned as well as estimating your speed and measuring pulse rate. Some will even tell you how much fat you burned and sync with your laptop or Iphone to chart your progress. If you like features in your gadgets get the best pedometer you can afford because all those charts, graphs and measurements will keep you motivated, I promise!

One of the newest features in pedometers are those that track both speed and distance. These devices use GPS technology which, when coupled with software to upload to your PC or online journals, is a lot of fun. Nike has even launched a foot pod that is embedded into your training shoes which also is stored online at their website.

Just the Basics Please – the Simple Step Counter

On the other hand, if simplicity is your game, the most basic yet accurate pedometer will be your goal. As for the numbers, you want to increase the count daily with a starting set (for the over 30 crowd) of 7000 for weight and health maintenance; 10,000-12,000 for weight loss and fitness; and 15,000 for athletic training.

How to Tell If Your Pedometer is Accurate

Accuracy becomes an obsession once you’ve owned a pedometer for a while. Dependent on your model of choice you may find that just wearing the pedometer in a different location may chance the accuracy of steps counted, or if you’re more concerned about distance traveled you may have to adjust your stride settings. Pedometers should be comfortable enough to wear all day – some will even count steps from your handbag or purse – but I prefer to wear mine on my hip with a safety leash. Safety leashes ensure your pedometer isn’t lost as you’ll soon find that you come to rely on the little gadget.

A great way to double check your pedometer for accuracy is to visit Google Maps: Pedometer. Just go there and chart your route, then compare the results with your own pedometer’s count.

Get Walking With Your New Pedometer

Keeping records for two weeks of your steps and distance keeps you motivated and here’s why. Every day you see that you’ve taken more steps than the day before and start to look for more ways to increase your step count. Walking up a flight of stairs, walking part way home, parking away from the grocery store are just three examples.

So let’s get busy walking shall we? I’ll walk with you, in my own little town and we’ll grow stronger, fitter and leaner every day. Even just the simplest little pedometer starting with just 5,000 steps a day is a great start – I know you’ll find it to be both motivational and addictive once you see the changes in your health and fitness level.

Walk Toward A Long and Healthy Life

A favorite walk to burn off calories with your pedometer.More and more people today are ending up at the mercy of their doctor’s knowledge to fix medical problems with pills and operations because they didn’t value their health when they were younger. The trouble is that fixing anything once it has broken always costs far more than maintaining it when it was working fine. And maintenance of your body and health is free.

Yes, free. You just need to put on a pair of walking shoes and put one foot in front of the other, every day. Walking is still believed to be the healthiest exercise for people of all ages, current health levels, and sizes. Easy to do and inexpensive to boot, if not completely free to every North American. It can be performed by any one, any where and any time.

Get up from your couch, move away from your desk, step back from the dinner table and start moving your feet toward a longer life.

All you need to do is make up your mind to do it, promise a commitment to yourself and your health, and start moving.

After a week of walking every day you may find that you are lacking in the will power to persevere. Dig deep inside your reasons to be fit and keep it at the front of your mind and the will power will take care of the rest. If you don’t have determination you may eventually give up before reaching your goal of better health, a longer life, or a slimmer body. If you have tired of walking for exercise then step up to brisk walking. Fast paces burn calories and is also easier on your knees and joints than running. When on a regular brisk, fast, or power walk there is less chance for an injury. Unlike jogging or running your power walk routine will have no ill side effects – unless you consider a stronger body an unpleasant end.

One way to stay motivated an on track is to pick up a top quality pedometer that tracks your progress and motivates you to do more day after day. There are many (you can see our favorite in the sidebar) available just be sure to pick one that has been reviewed by people who actually use one in their fitness routines.

Stay Fit at Any Age

Walk for Fitness at All AgesIf you’ve ever been on a dieting or fitness roller coaster you’ll have already learned that we need to work out or walk regularly to to stay fit. However our overly busy lives often keep us from our fitness program once we’ve met our goals.

This has often caused me to wonder why I keep running across research reports stating that we have more leisure time today than any other time in history. How can that be? I seldom feel as though I have leisure time and I know a lot of you are over-stretched and stressed out as well. Regardless of work obligations, looking after our homes and children (and in some cases our parents), we need to take care of ourselves and stay in shape. This becomes ever more important as we pass the age of 40 years when we find that we’ll have to work harder to lose five pounds or re-build muscle.

The superior strategy dictates that if we’re in shape it is far easier to maintain that state than have to fight our way back after a month of letting life get in the way or worse, working out too hard and pulling a muscle or spraining an ankle on our walk.

In the last five years I’ve been following the advice of author Tosca Reno as we’re similar in stature and age. Tosca recommends staying on track by making intelligent and clean eating choices, to eat five or six small meals a day, and drink plenty of water. This style of eating literally fuels your body with a steady flow of energy, keeps your metabolism humming along and minimizes the risk of suffering from highs and lows throughout the day.

How frequent you eat is as important of what you eat. You need a balanced diet of carbs, protein, fiber and fats to maintain your energy balance. Tosca suggests eating carbs with a protein in the morning and working through your food choices to fresh fruits and vegetables with proteins by the end of the day. I can’t give the full systematic eating program in this short article but she has written many books on the subject, the latest of which is “Your Best Body Now”.

Aside from eating, hydrating and remaining consistent in your workout schedule you might also consider the shoes on your feet – especially if you need a little extra motivation to stay active. Since different workouts require different shoes make sure your sneakers are in good shape and suitable for the job at hand. If you love to power walk or jog you’ll already know that the average walking or jogging trainer will give you about 500 miles before they wear out. Even less if you have any deviation in a neutral gait (many of us do).

If you are worrying or wondering about your stride and gait but aren’t committed to visiting a podiatrist or orthotic specialist, you may find that by taking your old sneakers into the store you might be able to get some free advice about a more suitable style for your needs. Specialty fitness stores may be able to retro-fit a new pair of sneakers with special insoles to balance your gait and therefore reduce the chance of injury. For years I hadn’t known of the risks involved by wearing the wrong shoes for the exercise but after many years of reading and sharing with other enthusiasts I now realize.

The Right Fitness Equipment for You

When I first started on my quest to get into shape I bought DVDs, running shoes, a pedometer, a treadmill, and had to hold myself back from purchasing all the late-night advertised fad equipment on television. Now that I’m in shape I realize that I could have saved myself a lot of money if I’d just started out with some good shoes and a pedometer.

If you’re just starting out on your own weight loss or quest for fitness, you’re probably in the same boat. Which equipment should you buy? Which is the best deal? Which will be the most suitable for your goals and current level of fitness? After all I’m sure you’ve heard the stories of friends buying expensive treadmills only to have it collect dust and laundry in their bedrooms for years afterward.

For these reasons, choosing the right fitness equipment is for you is an important topic to consider. We can save a lot of our time and money by doing a little bit of research and understanding our goals before we whip our our wallets.

So let’s have a look at the various types of equipment and see how they fit with your budget and your workout style.

Home Weight Set

If you want to burn off fat and tone your muscles you’ll need to incorporate some weight training into your exercise routine. However you might not be ready for, or have room for, a full bench set. You can start small with just a few dumbbells in various weights to strengthen arms and abdominal muscles. These workouts help with posture and balance and your body’s ability to burn fat (metabolism). Light weights are also a good place to start in your fitness regime as nothing is more pleasing than seeing your arms toning up and your pants fitting looser as your abs get toned.

Treadmills

Out of my top 10 friends I think I am the only one to use my treadmill regularly. The treadmill helps you to run or walk while staying in one place during inclement weather, potentially dangerous outdoor surroundings, or if you just want to exercise in solitude. Running or walking on a treadmill is an effective way to get your daily 10,000 steps in easily. You can watch television while you walk or run, you can surf the web, or you can crank it up and run hard without the shock and strain on your ankles, knees and lower back. Make sure you have tried a treadmill before you buy one though. In my experience people either love them or hate them – and I don’t want to see you spending $1,000 or more on a piece of equipment that does nothing but make you feel guilty for not using it.

Rowing Machines

Rowing machines aren’t my favorite fitness equipment but many of my friends swear by them. They offer the benefit of an all-over workout with minimal joint impact. In fact they are excellent for the clinically obese and senior citizens. You can start at an easy pace and as your grow stronger, increase your row speed. Fast rowing is great for burning off calories and increasing your heart rate while strengthening your arms, abdomen, back and shoulder muscles.

Stationary Exercise Bikes

They’re everywhere and they come in all sizes and price ranges. You’ll find old ones at yard sales or even in your parents basement, as they are one of the best low-impact cardiovascular machines available. These exercise bikes don’t do much for your arm strength or toning but they are great for your heart and legs. You can watch television while exercising and you don’t have to worry about getting hit by a car or inclement weather. Stationary bikes are easy on your joints and are perfect for people who have more than 20 pounds to lose. Most bikes have varying levels of difficulty so you can crank up the workout as you become more fit.

Pedometers

My pedometer has been my best fitness friend for years. It keeps me accountable for activity during the day and inspires me to get walking on less active days. This is one purchase that I have never regretted. Even today I own a few different models and keep one in my purse, one in the car and one in the house – charged up and ready to go whenever and where ever I am.

iPhit for the iPhone

Fitness and excellence in health programs are quickly merging with information and technology as you’ll find with iPHIT for the iPod and iPhone.

In 2007 the Ipod Fitness Center launched a new app that allows you to track your fitness goals and progress to an iPhone or iPod touch user. Not only that but you’ll also find that the Ipod Fitness Center functions also as a social networking community. The entire app and community were created as an added function in the iPod plus Nike product merge for enthusiasts. With interaction in the community personal fitness becomes competitive and helpful with added accountability and encouragement to other members.

iPhit (now iFIT) assists you in tracking your walking distance or speed (or jogging and running) while using the personal Nano with the Nike iPod Sensor kit. The Nike sensor in the popular running shoe or trainer is linked to the Nano for tracking purposes. All of that tracked and calculated info is then sent by the iPhit app to your iPhone.ifit

Once on the site you’ll find that the iPhit’s home page displays runs, challenges and goals – the same features available on the Nike website. Monthly targets called PARTIs and perform as personal bench marks to fitness. Through these PARTIS, community members remain challenged and accountable. Almost like a multitude of fitness partners helping each other to meet fitness goals and stay on track with personal goals.

To access the iPhit app from your iPhone or your desktop computer with the Firefox browser. Membership is free at the moment.

You must have an iFIT membership to usethe app. iFIT.com connects you with your fitness equipment through your profile – all managed, in turn, through your iFit dashboard. You can store your exercises, your diet information and weight changes.

The Exercise Metabolism Connection

Have you, in the past, started a rigorous exercise program, started eating several small meals a day, or started taking a supplement that promised to boost your metabolism? If so you have been thinking about, learning about, or attempting to alter your metabolism.

So which one works? The truth is, they all work in conjunction with a weight loss program of eating correctly and exercising regularly.

Exercise, eating strategically, and ensuring that your body has catabolism-friendly supplements are three of many generally good weight loss ideas.

If your methods of increasing your metabolic rate didn’t prove the results you’d hoped for it is likely that you are just missing one or two parts of the metabolism puzzle. You don’t need to be a scientist or struggle through medical journals to learn the ins and outs of your metabolism though. This article and others like it on Pedometers.org will help to get you on track.

On your walk to better health it is important to not risk your future health. To ensure it you’ll want to understand strategies, and techniques of increasing your metabolism while walking to lose weight – or any other exercise program. Although there are many ways to do so, the ten easiest ways will be discussed over the next few articles. You will find them all within the ‘Metabolism’ category here.

Each of the ten tips are classified in one of three categories: exercise, lifestyle and diet. However you will also notice while you read that some of the tips are equally valid in one of the other categories. As an example of this, incorporating exercise into your daily routine is also a lifestyle choice. Therefore I suggest you read every section or article to get the most value and the best weight loss results.

Since exercise is one of my favorite topics, we’ll start there…

You can’t skip exercising if you want to increase your metabolism to lose weight unless you’re born with an unusually overactive metabolism. Any cardiovascular (aka aerobic) exercise will work as long as you notice an increase in heart rate and body temperature. With the added benefits of blood circulation and oxygen intake/carbon dioxide exchange, your metabolic rate increases.

The other side of exercise, strength training, increases metabolism by building muscle. Why does this work? Well a pound of muscle will burn more calories than a pound of fat. Therefore the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn in any activity – sedentary or aerobic.

Just remember that if you workout to build muscle and then quit exercising those muscles over time, your muscle fibers deteriorate you lose the high metabolic rate that burns calories so efficiently. Adjust your intake to ensure you don’t pack on the pounds again if you stop working out.

Some Specifics About The Metabolism and Exercise Connection

The basic weight loss principle behind exercise is catabolism. By changing your body’s composition (i.e. more muscle than fat) it requires more energy and catabolism will break down cells to deliver that energy to you. Based on that logic, once you have gained a moderate comfort level with walking or other aerobic exercise you might want to look into some interval training. Interval training is a high-energy, calorie burning, exercise plan implemented on an infrequent basis.

As an example, if you walk every day try adding a twenty minute jog to your program every second day. It will increase your metabolism by building muscle and oxygen intake. Another example, if you have achieved a stronger fitness level and you jog, try adding a one minute sprint every twenty minutes that you jog. Do you see the trend here? Anything that will give your body a bit of a jolt or rush will work.

Interval training can last longer than a minute but for most people this is based o your current level of fitness. Those who are extremely fit may benefit from interval training of 30-40 minutes at a time.

As with all exercise changes, check with your doctor for specific advice and don’t overdo it with interval training. Your goal here is to become healthier and stronger, and lose weight in that process.

Of course there is much more to learn about interval training but that introduction will get you started. A hint to keep you interested in interval training is that by adding some variety to your exercise program you can give your metabolism another jolt. The variety ensures that your body doesn’t get into a comfortable groove and continues to burn calories at a faster rate.

Remember that any activity that causes your temperature to increase, your heart working harder and deeper breathing will increase your metabolism and aim for those increases regularly.

Two Tips for Walkers Who Want to Lose Weight

Walk this Way to Lose More Weight

If you’re here you’re probably wondering how to make the most out of your daily walks when you’re trying to lose weight. I do have a few tips to share with you that will help you burn up to 30% more calories and take off more weight for every step taken.

First of all you can’t just stroll along for an hour and consider that walk a fat burning exercise. You will need to walk on an incline, include stairs in your routine and/or walk at a safe clip on a decline as well. Simply walking on flat terrain is alright for long term weight loss when you are incorporating walking into your daily fitness routine, but it won’t do you much good for fast and lasting weight loss.

If you are walking in your home (for instance while watching your favorite television show every night) you will want to consider purchasing a treadmill that has an incline adjust feature. Set it to a 10 or 15 degree incline and test it out for a few weeks. I think you’ll notice a difference. Not only will you be getting all the regular benefits of walking but you will also see the excess pounds leaving your body.

Another great tip when walking as a weight loss exercise is to breathe deeply during the duration of your walk. The more oxygen you inhale, the more calories you burn. This won’t be helpful if you are buddying up with a friend on your daily walks (and if your friend likes to chat) but whenever you walk alone or walk the dog, take deep breaths like this: take a deep breath for 5 seconds, then hold it for 5 seconds, and then exhale for 5 seconds. That’s all there is to it. If you have a pedometer that also has a stop watch feature or a timer, use it to keep track of the number of minutes on your walk you can sustain deep breathing. (If you start to feel light headed then work at it until you can build up to 5-5-5. Nothing more dangerous than a fast walker who is dizzy!)

Try these two tips for the next week and chart your progress on your bathroom scale. I am sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

A Custom Walk-for-Weight-Loss Program

Walking Program - Trails and BoardwalksWinter, spring, summer or fall – it doesn’t seem to matter what the season is, there always seems to be a few pounds we’d love to lose. In the spring, there seems to be more – especially when we’re pulling out our summer wardrobe.

So let’s get walking shall we? Somewhere in your drawers you probably have a pedometer. If you don’t have a feature rich one like my favorites (below and at right) then you’ve at least got an application on your phone or MP3 player that will do for now. However, how do you plan a custom program to drop the pounds while walking?

I’m hoping this article will get you started.

Although walking will help you with weight loss to get the most out of it you’ll want to walk long enough to burn calories, tighten muscles and increase your metabolism.

To begin focus on steps taken (distance) before you focus on aerobic or heart rate (speed). You want to ease yourself back into fitness and not burn out before re-establishing good habits, routine and form.

And don’t worry about not getting enough effect for the time you’re investing early on in your program. You can burn nearly the same amount of calories with a long, slow walk as you can with a short, fast walk. It is all about consistency of the day at any stage of your program. For instance, there will be some days that you want to take a long and leisurely walk (think Saturday mornings on the beach boardwalk). While on other days you may want to power walk, burn up a lot of energy and calories, and really get your heart pumping and your metabolism in full swing (think of early morning walks before an intense staff meeting at the office).

The intensity or lack of isn’t really what matters when you’re just starting out as long as you are happy and comfortable and consistently getting out there. Make a minimum of 5 days a week, 30 to 60 minutes per day, your focus and let your energy level determine intensity of the day.

A word or two about the ‘stroll’. For maximum health, weight and cardiovascular benefits, you will want to make sure that you are walking quickly enough to increase your heart rate for the majority of the walk, so when I say ‘stroll’ I really mean something just a little under a power walk. The experts will tell you that for weight loss you should be walking 30 to 60 minutes at 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate once your fitness level demands it.

Once you have established a routine of 5 days per week you might want to increase your pace, change your route, add some ankle or wrist weights, or change your walking style (see my previous article for walking ‘tricks’ to keep you motivated).

A Walking Program With Man’s (and Women’s too) Best Friend

Walking With Dogs
Start with a simple walk and work up to excellent health.

Don’t wait for your pedometer to arrive in the mail, start a walking program today. It will warm you up to more brisk walks once your pedometer has arrived and it is one of the safest exercises you can do for your heart – not to mention lessen the risks of breast cancer and diabetes.

If you have a dog a daily walk or two is a great way to warm both of you up to more brisk and beneficial walking next week. Plus, you’re doing something wonderful with your pet as they need exercise too.

Even if your dog is a little lazy and overweight I’m willing to bet that by the time you strap on your pedometer and get set for a faster pace walk your dog will already be showing the signs of health. I’ve seen it first hand. A friend of mine had an aging and overweight dog that she loved dearly. She had no trouble going out the door with me the first few times but by the second week of daily walks she was dragging her paws. On the third week of walking she was excited again as the exercise had already made some positive changes to her weight, her endurance and her breathing. Funny how they can be so much like the humans who love them.

Whenever I take an overweight dog for the first week of daily walks we take it easy. At the start of week two I begin to step it up – probably why they decide they don’t want to go for walks at first! But by the third week as they realize they are feeling better, their metabolic rate has increased and the brisk walk isn’t such a huge challenge – I can often get them into a light jog.

Some important considerations to take for both you and your dog are to ensure the leash is long enough that you aren’t bent over while walking the dog, but not too long that your dog can get tied up in your feet. If your pet has not been trained to heel the first week of casual walking is a good match for training – after that you should have made a great walking companion. By the time you move into your third week you’ll be able to bend your arms at the elbow and pump yourself along for a cardiovascular boost.

Here are a few of my other walking ‘tricks’:

  1. Flex! Flex your stomach muscles while walking a few seconds at a time. You’re toning your abs while you walk.
  2. Flex! (again) Your buttock muscles as you walk. Every step you take should be a conscious movement from the ball of your foot to the top of your waist. With practice you’ll feel the flex and in no time at all you’ll have the shapely butt of an athlete.
  3. Work your thigh muscles! Plan at least one walk a week that includes a steep hill or a large flight of stairs. Going up and going down both will do your thighs good.
  4. Stay motivated! Don’t let yourself get bored of walking the same block, the same city street, the same route every night. Once you’ve been walking with a pedometer for exercise for a while it is so easy to get bored. Drive to the park, take your MP3 player with you, walk backwards for part of the route, walk home from work or park a mile away, and take walking vacations. More on those on a later post, but suffice it to say you will love some of the fabulous places I’ve visited as part of a walking tour and am ready to share with you now.
  5. Spoil yourself with good gear! Get the best pedometer you can afford and learn how to use all the functions. Fitness now becomes a part of your daily life and you’ll live longer for it. Subscribe to a walking or fitness magazine and buy well-fitting, athletic footwear.
  6. Drink! Stay hydrated. Bring along a water bottle.

More Walking Program Articles can be found here on Pedometers.org!

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.