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.

Questions About Metabolism

The Connection between metabolism, fat cells, calories and exercising.Since I started writing about metabolic rates and personal metabolism, I’ve been fielding quite a few questions from my readers.

As such I’ve decided to take a break from some of my other publishing dates and write a few articles to help you understand your metabolism better and how to work with it to change your overall health.

Metabolism is the word used to describe the process your body goes through to transform food into fuel. What it does with that fuel is a direct result of how you look today.

If you are carrying a few extra pounds this might cause you to shake your fist at your metabolism, especially so if you once had a healthy or fast metabolism in your youth but now find that it has defied you and slowed down. Before you wage war with it please understand that if you had no metabolism you wouldn’t be able to move, read this article, or click a mouse button.

In fact, nearly everything your body does on auto-pilot such as circulating blood, transforming oxygen into carbon dioxide, expelling lethal toxins through your kidneys depend on your metabolism. Given all that you have no choice but to love and appreciate it, but what of the extra pounds?

First of all stop thinking of it as some single-function fuel or fat burner. Your metabolism is at work in your body every second of every minute of every day of your life making numerous chemical conversions (also referred to as ‘metabolic functions’).

Your metabolism is a constant process that works in two seemingly opposite ways: anabolism uses energy to create cells, and catabolism breaks down cells to create energy.

Anabolism and Catabolism

Your body is continually creating new cells to replace dead or dysfunctional cells. As an example, should you cut your finger, your body instantly begins the process of creating new skin cells to clot the blood and start healing the wound. This creation process is a metabolic response. You will hear myself and others discuss it as ‘anabolism’.

Since there is always an opposite action for every bodily action or function, we have ‘catabolism’. Instead of building new cells and tissue this function breaks down energy. An example of this would be while you’re walking or exercising, your body temperature rises and your heart beat increases. Due to the increase your body will need more oxygen and so your breathing will increase naturally. If your body couldn’t adjust to this increased requirement of oxygen, you would collapse. These increases require additional resources which is carried out as converting your fuel into energy. That is the metabolic process named catabolism.

Metabolism is actually a harmonizer. Bringing together two seemingly opposite functions (anabolism and catabolism) in the best way for your body to create cells as needed, and break them down again when required.

Make sense?

Good. Let’s talk then about how your metabolism affects weight gain or loss…

Metabolism and Weight Loss

Everyone knows about calories. Counting calories going into our bodies and, if you have a pedometer that measures it, counting calories burned for steps throughout the day. Calories are simply units of measure, nothing more. They are a measure of energy.

Your body creates energy from the food you eat. It creates energy from fruits and vegetables using the same process that it uses to create energy from chocolate bars and candy.

While you know it’s better for your body to get energy from fruit and vegetables, your body doesn’t stop to evaluate the food. It will simply create energy from whatever you eat.

Although it may sound strange at first, your body really doesn’t care what you feed it in the sense of creating energy. To the body, energy is just energy. It will take whatever you feed it. It doesn’t know that some foods are healthier than others. It is rather like a garbage disposal in this manner: it will take what you put into it, whether it should or not.

So here’s what happens…When your body receives a calorie it must do something with that energy. As an example, if a broccoli spear delivers 100 calories, the body has to accept those 100 calories. The same goes for 600 calories from a chocolate bar or energy drink.

Then, your body will do one of two things to the energy. It will either metabolizes it via anabolism, or metabolize it via catabolism. That is, it will either convert the energy (calories) into cells/tissue, or it will use that energy (calories) to break down cells.

When there is an excess of energy, and the body can’t use this energy to deal with any needs at the time, it will be forced to create cells with the extra energy. It has to do something with the energy after all, especially if you aren’t putting it to use.

And those extra cells? Yup, you guessed it: added weight.

In a nutshell, the whole calorie/metabolism/weight gain thing is really just about excess energy. When there are too many calories in the body, they are transformed into fat.

Here’s the clincher though, and this is very important to understand, especially if you are walking, exercising or burning excess calories in some way. Sometimes the extra calories get transformed into muscle. And…since muscles require calories to simply maintain their mass, people with strong muscle tone burn calories without actually, physically, doing anything. The metabolism burns it for them.

That is why you want to get, build, tone, create as much lean muscle on your body as possible and in the shortest, healthiest, amount of time. Muscle ‘ownership’ boosts your metabolism. The more lean muscle you have, the lower the risk of excess calories being transformed into fat.

Now that you understand the basics of metabolism, muscles, energy and fuel, we can discuss how to use your specific metabolic rate – at any age – to help rid you of those extra pounds. Before you go however I have one more point to share. You may have heard that fat cells are permanent. I wish I could tell you that it isn’t true! Most health and diet experts agree that once fat cells have been created, they’re permanent. But don’t let this stop you on your trek back to health and fitness. Even though experts believe that fat cells are permanent, they also agree that fat cells can be shrunk. Therefore, even if the number of fat cells in your body remains the same, their size, appearance and percentage of your overall weight, can be reduced.

Weight Loss Is Just A Walk Away

Walking for Weight LossWalking – one of the simplest exercises – is also one of the best exercises you can do to achieve weight loss.

If you’re just starting to consider getting in shape, losing some weight, and taking charge of your health, walking is a great way to kick off your planned program. Regardless of age, regardless of current physical condition, nearly everyone can walk off the weight – even if just at the beginning of a full blown, back to health, program.

Whenever you embark on any new exercise program you’ll first want to check in with your doctor to inform him or her about your plans. Your doctor may have some helpful tips and guidelines based on your current state of fitness, your age, or any illnesses you may have. Either way – whether you go to the doctor or not – it is always a good idea to take it slow to start.

To begin a new walking program you’ll want to first get a pedometer so you can track your progress. You don’t need anything fancy to get started but having a heart rate monitor and the ability to upload your daily steps to your computer via USB cable are two nice features I couldn’t do without. You’ll also want a pair of comfortable and supportive walking shoes.

Begin by going for a 10 minute walk 3 times a week. Although this may sound overly cautious, it is the safest way to begin any new weight loss program. Now that you have started your new walking program and you have made a commitment to yourself to stick with it, start adding 10 more minutes to each walk every week. Should you experience difficultly breathing do not become discouraged, just walk a little slower until your heart and lung function catch up to your journey into better health. Again, it may be prudent to check back in with your doctor.

Within the month of your new walking program you will begin to see your hard work pay off. You will have more energy and your clothes will start fitting much looser. With just a 30 minute walk every day you should also be experiencing:

  • See an increase in your overall fitness level.

  • Notice changes in the tone of your muscles.
  • Feel better and look better.
  • Discover an increase in energy levels.
  • Feel less stressed.
  • Get better nights sleep.
  • Be in a better mood and less prone to depression.
  • Notice a difference on the scale.
  • Find that muscles, joints and bones are stronger.

There are many benefits to a walking program! As you can see it leads to much more than just weight loss. The longer you stick with the program, the easier it becomes. Before you know it you’ll be just like me and have developed a new, positive, lifelong habit.

Walking Regularly But Not Losing Weight?

Recent research suggests that most walking programs will have minimal effect on weight loss all due to lack of consideration of metabolism. How can this be so when thousands of people every moment are initiating daily walks into their already busy schedules to help them get or stay fit?

The primary reason that research of walking programs don’t show evidence of weight loss or an increase in health is that ‘on the books’ the number of calories burned off during a walk is relatively small in comparison to other workout programs. As an example, a two mile brisk walk burns only 90 more calories than staying at home. Ninety calories equates to the caloric value of a low-sodium, low-calorie bowl of chicken soup.

Furthermore it would take nearly three months of a regular walking routine of three brisk walks a week to lose roughly 500 grams of fat.

Research also suggests that “a lack of time” is given as the most popular excuse for not exercising, and that it becomes quite unlikely that people would be able to find time three days per week for a walk.

With all that said you’re probably wondering what then, is the best method of exercise for weight loss.

If so, there are more factors to consider than just the exercise you’re considering. You must factor in your age as well as your lifestyle and learn at least a little about human metabolism. You see, after age 30 we all lose between 200-300 grams of muscle tissue per year – this causes our metabolism to slow down. When your metabolism slows, excess body fat accumulates where the lost muscle tissue once was. Considering that almost all body fat and dietary fats are burned within muscle tissue you can see how this becomes a downhill problem and an uphill battle as the years go on.

To reverse this natural function, you might consider adding some strength training exercises (to rebuild some of that lost muscle tissue) to increase your fat burning engine – your metabolism – capability.

Here’s where this gets really interesting…once you have regained some of your health and fitness level again, research proves that up to 44% more body fat can be lost when a strength training program is implemented – in comparison to no change in your physical routines but only restricting caloric intake (a diet).

All things considered it is muscle that is the secret weapon to fighting fat. Muscle mass burns fat, increases metabolism, improves the shape of your body and gives you more strength. With more muscle tissue and less fat on your body, you will have a slim and sculpted physique. You will find it is easier to stay slim and look younger as well. Research again proves that a fit body gives the appearance of youth and can shave years off your true age.

So while you’re walking, or in conjunction with your walking program, consider every muscle and consider different ways to increase your muscle mass. Muscles hold the key, the secret to your metabolism and burn that fat throughout your body. By flexing your muscles you are kicking your metabolism into gear and the effects are longer lasting than just the workout time. You will continue, over time, to burn a higher amount of fat all day long.

Here’s another benefit to building muscles that not too many people talk about…the more muscle you have the more you increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin. Insulin greatly enhances your ability to lose weight. Many of our nation’s overweight are moderately to highly insulin-resistant as long as they are lacking in muscle tissue. Two to three strength training sessions per week are all it would take to correct this resistance and begin the fat burning process. Plus, with a higher metabolic rate you will be able to consume more calories throughout the day while losing weight and without any fad diets.

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.

Walking My Way to Good Health

Walking To Health and Weight LossWith the rise of commentaries in the news and on documentaries about the high levels of obesity in North America it is no wonder people are getting out more, eating less, and taking conscious steps to control their weight.

Walking is an excellent first step on your way to better health. How can I be sure? Because conscious walking (with a pedometer tracking my every step) I lost the pregnancy weight and put myself into the best shape I’d ever been in at 30 years of age. I also walked off two years of depression (and the associated eating that comes with that illness) induced weight gain (to the tune of 45 pounds) in my mid-40s.

At neither time in my life did I feel like exercising – heck I didn’t even want to walk to the store if I could help it – but I forced myself for the first 2 weeks and after that I had a new healthy habit that I didn’t want to ever give up.

Honestly, it helps to have a pedometer to get and stay motivated. Not only will it chart your progress and push you onto new personal ‘bests’ but it feels like a treat. Somewhat like a gym membership except not as expensive, you can even ‘guilt’ yourself into making good use of your new purchase. Some days that guilt worked for me and some days it didn’t but I still love and use my pedometers today – one is very basic and over 12 years old, the other is an MP3 model purchased just 6 months ago.

So what happens while you are walking your way to health and how can an exercise so simple accomplish so much?

Well, when we walk, we are working muscles and joints. As muscles tone they burn more of the calories we put into our bodies and therefore less fat is stored. Less fat on your body is healthier all round.

Your joints on the other hand require flexibility. If they don’t have this flexibility, pain and inflammation are the result. Exercise that uses and strenthens your joints helps to prevent arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, gout and more.

More health benefits? Walking also reduces the risks of heart attack, strokes and diabetes.

Wait! Before You Buy That Pedometer, Consider This…

A Pedometer Only Needs to Be Walked and Will Make You Thinner and HealthierEverything you have heard is true! A pedometer is not much more than a small, lightweight device that counts your steps. They come in many different shapes and colors and some have a few fancy features but basically their ‘job’ is to count your steps. However, this seemingly insignificant device is so much more than a step counter. It is a fitness coach, a motivator and a tool to help you achieve new goals in your overall health.

Tall order, yes? If you purchase a pedometer and become comfortable with the available features of your model, it will pay you back with a longer life and a healthier lifestyle. All you have to do in return is take it out for a walk every day.

All tongue-in-cheek kidding aside, there are variety of pedometer models. Some flip-down and some are open face. Some count calories along with steps, others count distance traveled. Some come with an FM radio receiver, some play MP3s and others calculate your desired length of exercise with your current heart rate – and then change the music based on tempo to keep you moving.

Before choosing your pedometer you want to know what type of exercise routine you’ll be engaging in. Truly the most popular for those just getting back to being fit is a walking program that includes 10000 steps a day to start. After that you’ll be increasing your steps per day so be sure to get a pedometer with a memory of at least 7 days or one that allows you to upload your week’s workouts and walks to your computer via a USB cord. Sound fancy and expensive? These models are certainly fancy but they aren’t expensive. In fact you can find them right here on Pedometers.org for less than $40.

Another feature I love on my pedometer is the calorie burned counter. This usually prevents me from excusing myself of a second portion by telling myself that I walked an extra 200 steps. The numbers just won’t add up and if I’m not careful I’ll end up putting all that weight back on that I worked so hard to lose. The calorie counting pedometer keeps you honest with yourself – no excuses.

A Pedometer Helps You Increase Daily Exercise Levels

Newest pedometer on the market: The Philips ActivaThe vast majority of us detest the thought of exercise – yet we all want to be in better shape. Not exercising regularly can result in weight gain and resulting health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure.

When you get that feeling that it might be time to start exercising again or regularly you consider the options – perhaps a gym membership, a piece of fitness equipment for the home, or taking up a new physical hobby. Beginning a workout program doesn’t have to be costly or difficult though. In fact, starting a new program is the easy part, sticking to it is where the difficultly arrives.

Overall the easiest way to get more exercise without the expense is to increase your walking. Again, easy to say you’ll do it but without a walking partner or a plan it may all fall by the wayside until your doctor notices health complications due to obesity. Don’t let it get that far! You can do this now and a simple pedometer can be accountability partner – keeping you on track, moving forward and increasing your steps on a daily basis.

A pedometer can be purchased with a variety of different features. Some are designed primarily for the walking or jogging group of fitness-minded people. Others are designed for cardio workouts. A pedometer will come in ranges from the very simple, basic pedometer (a step counter) to the more sophisticated model that has a range of other functions. The most well received ‘extra’ in the world of pedometer upgrades in the last 10 years has been those with the ability to transfer statistics directly to your personal computer through your USB port.

Aside from all the bells and whistles of the more advanced models, a pedometer helps you reach your goal to become more fit and perhaps to lose some weight.

A pedometer is a gadget to help you track the number of steps you take. By targeting a realistic daily step rate you will walk more and as a result increase your fitness and lose weight. Trials have shown that wearing a pedometer is helpful in increasing the number of calories burned. 26 studies, reviewed in the Journal of American Medicine, showed that the use of a pedometer was effective in increasing how much participants walked every day. A typical study concluded that step rates were increased by around 2000 steps compared to participants not using a pedometer. Two thousand steps is roughly equivalent to an extra mile walked each day and a 25% increase in activity. This is a considerable difference and would have a major influence on the participants health and weight.

An important consideration to to remember is to set reasonable goals. Setting a step target every day was shown to have a major effect on the amount of physical activity achieved. Those participants who managed to keep up their target showed a marked increase in activity and benefited more by showing increases in fitness which included a reduction in weight and blood pressure. On the other hand cholesterol and blood sugar levels seem to be unchanged.

The use of a pedometer can be a huge help in increasing the level of physical activity without having to join a gym. By making daily increases in the number of steps you take you will reap the rewards of a healthy weight and improved fitness levels. A simple pedometer is the easy way to monitor these benefits, get yours today.

Starting Out With A Step Counter

Step Counter vs. Pedometer - Which Do You Need?
By the time you retire you could be taking treks along the side of moutain ranges. Start walking today and you never know where it will take you...

A step counter, or pedometer, can improve your health and overall wellness, help you to lose weight and potentially live longer too.

So, what’s a pedometer? It is a small electronic device (a gadget) that you wear on your waistband. As you walk, it counts your steps.

To be technically correct I’ll clarify. A pedometer actually calculates distance. A step counter only counts steps. Today’s pedometer still counts steps but it also uses a user-input stride length to calculate that distance.

More complex pedometers will also calculate calories burned, time spent in exercise each day, steps per minute and whether you reach aerobic levels, etc. If you are just starting to walk for fitness, you don’t need much more than a decent $20 or so step counter.

So why would you want to count steps anyway? Well the steps you take are a primary indicator of the activity you engage in each day. Research and studies over the last ten years have shown that you don’t need to allot a specific time for exercising as smaller bouts of exercise can have the same effect. Say, for instance a short walk in the morning, afternoon and evening.

Nice? I thought you’d like that! Some small daily changes in your routine and a simple little pedometer to chart your progress can have tremendous beneficial effects on your health.

By taking more steps per day you increase your daily activity and metabolism. You burn more calories. Your muscles get moving.

But that’s not all….

Exercising also increases stamina, stimulates weight loss, lowers blood cholesterol levels, lowers your blood pressure, improves your mood and your self image and enhances your quality of life. Really. Try it for a week – 3 small walks per day, every day and assess how you feel by the end of one week. Remember that it takes 7 weeks to make your new habit a part of your life so if you feel better (and I know you will) then keep at it for another 6 weeks to follow.

Here’s what else you’ll notice…

You’re going to sleep better, you’ll be strengthening your heart and lungs, your energy will increase and you’ll ability to deal with stress will strengthen. You’ll also lower your triglycerides and better control blood sugar levels/diabetes naturally.

There are more benefits to exercise as I’m sure you already know. The point is that a new routine, a step towards fitness, doesn’t need to cost a fortune or fill up your evenings and weekends. Start with just 10 minute walks a few times a day and your life will be improved. Assess at the end of the week and if you’re feeling great, add more time to each walk or increase the speed and intensity of your walks. Measure your progress and record your steps in your personal pedometer if you have one.

Here’s to your strength, your health, and your long life!

Add Some Steps to Your Day!

I know, I know. 10,000 steps a day to maintain your physical condition or 15,000 steps a day to lose weight and firm up sounds like a lot at first, but strap on a pedometer and go about your day and you’d be surprised how many steps you actually take even when you’re not trying.

Once you’ve counted and measured the steps you already take with a pedometer, here are some ways to add more steps to your day…Strap on a pedometer and get moving. How to add steps to your day.

  • Hand deliver office memos or walk down the hall to a co-worker’s office.
  • Take a lover’s walk, in the park, even if it’s raining.
  • Take the stairs – even if this means you need to get off the elevator a few floors early.
  • Walk up the escalator in malls and subways.
  • Park farther from the office, the grocery store, or the shopping mall.
  • Walk the kids to school instead of driving them.
  • Take the dog for a walk instead of just letting him outside the back door.
  • Take your designated breaks at work and walk around the building or city block as many times as time allows.
  • Do your grocery shopping in the order you have items listed, instead of going aisle-by-aisle.
  • Take the kids to the park and either run around with them or walk laps around the play area while they play on the swings and slides.

By adding steps to your day you are essentially increasing your level of fitness and burning more calories. Every little bit moves you closer to your goal whether it be a fitness goal or a weight loss goal.

The American Medical Association states that by increasing activity, you will also:

  1. Increase stamina.
  2. Stimulate weight loss.
  3. Lower blood cholesterol.
  4. Lower blood pressure.
  5. Improve self image.
  6. Improve mood.
  7. Enhance quality of life.

And it that’s not enough to get you moving more with your pedometer, the AMA also says you will:

  1. Sleep better.
  2. Strengthen your heart and lungs.
  3. Decrease stress levels and the effects of stress.
  4. Increase your energy.
  5. Maintain appropriate weight.
  6. Lower triglycerides.
  7. Control blood sugar levels (and risks of diabetes).
  8. Feel better.
  9. Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
  10. Improve productivity in all areas of your life.
  11. Build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.
  12. Increase muscle tone.
  13. Reduce risk of dying prematurely.

Really? It’s a win/win situation. A pedometer strapped onto your waist inspiring you to move around more often and in no time you’ll be looking better, feeling better, plus all the benefits above.

Your new life begins today! A healthier, longer, and no doubt happier, life!