I hate running. HATE it. The only time you will see me run is if it’s the zombie apocalypse and I’m being chased by a slavering horde of the undead intent on eating my brains. On the other hand, walking is one of my favorite forms of exercise—it’s easy on the joints, therapeutic, and doesn’t require any fancy equipment or a gym membership. Also, if you’re aiming for weight loss, walking and weight loss are buddies, so you’re in good company. Don’t have a walking regimen? Never fear, here are three easy ones to get you started.
The “60 Minutes” Walking Regimen
Set a goal to walk for at least one hour, at least once a week. To keep you motivated, consider using this walk as a weekly “friend date,” a time to catch up and socialize with someone you care about. You can meet the same person every week or invite different people each time. You’ll be amazed at how fast an hour flies by when you’re engaged in good conversation! An outdoor location can be perfect for this, or if the weather is bad you can head to an indoor track or even the closest mall (just resist the temptation to stop and shop by leaving your wallet in the car).
The “30 Minutes a Day Keeps the Doctor Away” Walking Regimen
For this regimen, your goal is to walk for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. The key to this routine is that three of these walks should be “high-intensity” (you’re walking fast enough that it would be difficult to carry on a conversation with ease). Studies have found that “women who do three short (about 30-minute) high-intensity walks plus two moderately paced recovery walks a week lose up to six times more abdominal fat than participants who simply stroll five days a week.” Lose abdominal fat? Count me in!
The “It All Adds Up” Walking Regimen
Between work, commuting, taking care of your family, (oh and sleeping), you don’t have an hour of time each day to go to the gym or hit the pavement? No problem. Try this:
1) Park farther from your building when you arrive at work, or get off the bus a few stops early and walk 15 minutes (about a mile) to get to the building
2) During your lunch break, go outside and do some brisk laps around the block for 20 minutes
3) When you start feeling that mid-afternoon slump, take a 10-minute “power walk” to get your blood pumping and boost energy
4) Remember how you walked 15 minutes in the morning to get to work? Just reverse this and ta-da, you just squeezed 15 more minutes of walking into your day!
Now that you’re armed with a few suggestions, lace up those shoes and get walking! According to the Mayo Clinic, if you add in 30 minutes of brisk walking every day, you can burn up to 150 more calories each day than you otherwise would. Plus, you never know when walking will save your life—you might need to power walk your way to safety from the walking dead, so start training now!