Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals

Set your walking fitness goals, plan, get started and reach your goal.

Introduction: The Surprising Benefits of Walking

When it comes to exercise you might be surprised to learn how powerful walking can be. Walking not only increases your heart rate and cardiovascular fitness, it also improves your bone density and strength. This particular benefit is increased when you walk on uneven surfaces like trails or gravel paths.

Walking has mental and emotional benefits as well, and can help you reach your weight loss goals. Let’s take an in-depth look at how fantastic a walking program can be for you and what 10,000 steps a day really looks like.

Bone Density Improvements from Walking

Did you know that without exercise, after the age of 40 your bone mass decreases by about 5% a year regardless of gender or ethnicity? That bone loss leads to debilitating diseases like osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is “a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to fracture. Usually the bone loses density, which measures the amount of calcium and minerals in the bone.” (National Library of Medicine)

According to The Sport Journal, in the U.S., it has been estimated that by 2025 the number of hip fractures attributed to osteoporosis will double to nearly 2.6 million. And while women account for the majority of osteoporosis diagnosis and bone breaks, men account for 29% of the 2 million fractures that occur each year in the U.S.

It’s all pretty scary. You don’t want to break a hip or wrist, especially not when you’re older and your recovery time can take months, if not years. The good news is that if we go back to the very first sentence in this section, you’ll see that there’s hope.

Walking is a weight-bearing exercise. That means that you’re putting the weight of your body into each movement. Weight-bearing exercises actually slow down the bone density loss and delay or prevent osteoporosis. Now, you can’t replace bone density but you can stop or dramatically reduce bone loss, and a good walk each day is a great way to get started.

Additionally, if you walk on uneven surfaces and you keep your eyes looking forward (rather than constantly focused on the ground) you’ll improve your posture and your joint mobility and flexibility.

Walking for Weight Loss

Walking burns several hundred calories per hour. For example, if you walk for an hour at a moderate four miles per hour pace and you weigh around 150 pounds, you’ll burn 350 calories. If you weigh more, you’ll burn more. Additionally, there are different types of walking that can increase the calorie burn. Walking also kicks up your metabolism so you continue to burn more calories after you’ve finished walking.

Additionally, The Diabetes Prevention Program showed that walking 150 minutes per week and losing just 7% of your body weight (12-15 pounds) can reduce your risk of developing Type II Diabetes by 58%. Since walking can help you lose that weight it’s a win/win for you. You lose weight and you prevent diabetes.

Don’t think you can walk for an hour a day? Consider breaking it up into smaller segments. You can take a 30 minute walk at lunch and three smaller 10 minute walks at other times. The benefits are the same.

How Does Walking Improve Mobility and Flexibility?

There are actually a few ways that walking helps improve your mobility and flexibility. When you walk you increase your heart rate, which pumps more blood and nutrients to your tissues. That helps your ligaments and joints stay healthy. Additionally, you work your muscles so they are more lose and better able to respond to the demands you put on them.

If you do a little stretching after your walk you’re helping take your mobility and flexibility to the next level. Why is mobility and flexibility important? It helps your posture stay tall. Many elderly people struggle with movements and mobility. Much of this is due to poor posture during their earlier years.

When you cannot move your body the way it is supposed to move, other areas of your body are forced to compensate. This leads to breakdown and ultimately it can lead to a shuffle walk and a hunched posture. Walk tall and stay mobile.

Walking Enables More Mental Energy and a Brighter Disposition

According to research on depression, walking for 30 minutes at a time, three to five times per week for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of depression by 47%. It makes sense. When you walk outside you are exposed to the sunshine, which helps your body make vitamin D. Vitamin D has been connected to both physical and mental well-being. Exercise also causes your body to release endorphins, which generate a feeling of contentedness and a positive outlook.

Whether you struggle with depression or not, you can gain mental energy and a brighter mood from walking. It has also been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce cognitive decline later in life. You’ll strengthen your brain and keep it strong well into your golden years.

Waking for Better Sleep, Cancer Reduction, Improved Cardio Health and More

Walking has also been shown to improve sleep, which is connected to weight loss. People who get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis weigh less than those who don’t. Walking reduces your risk of deadly cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer too.

More Good News!

Most anyone can walk for fitness and health. There are no special requirements. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting from a place of good health or if you have health issues you’re dealing with, you can walk and move your body.

You may start slowly and you may not get far in the beginning, but step by step you’ll increase your fitness. You’ll be surprised what you’re capable of. In fact, you can put on a pair of comfortable shoes and go for a walk right now. Let’s take a look at how walking can help you improve your fitness and lose weight.

How to Track Your Walking Fitness Progress

There are several good ways to track your walking fitness progress.

While you can keep track of your walking time by manually writing down the minutes walked in a journal, it’s a difficult way to track your walking fitness plan, if you exercise throughout the day. Instead, use technology to track steps walked instead of time spent exercising. There are several different ways to track steps walked:

Track Your Walking Fitness with Accelerometers

An accelerometer differs from a pedometer in that it measures a mechanical motion (walking) against a frame of reference and converts it into an electronic signal outputted as steps taken, among the other data collected, such as calories burned and distance walked; one of the leaders in this wearable technology is FitBit. Their products can also synch up with an app loaded on your computer, so you have an online journal of your activity.

Track Your Walking Fitness with Pedometers

Pedometers differ from accelerometers in the way they measure steps. They count the number of strides taken over time, meaning you have to input the length of your stride in order for them to accurately measure the number of steps taken. While not as accurate as an accelerometer, they are less expensive and you usually have to manually track your progress.

Track Your Walking Fitness with Online Journals

Applications and programs to track your walking fitness plan progress come in both free and paid versions. One free program from the website Spark People makes it easy to track nutrition, fitness and weight among numerous other things.

For a paid program, try Fitness Journal. For $3.95 per month, you can track the same information, plus a lot more, including when your walking shoes need replacing. It also allows you to journal your progress and creates various charts and graphs making it easy to see your progress. For a whole list of online tracking options, search “Online Fitness Journals”.

Track Your Walking Fitness with Smartphone Apps

Applications that run on your smartphone is another way to track your walking fitness. While there are many applications you can use, one of the most popular one for the iPhone, Android or Blackberry is MapMyRun. With this app, it uses your smartphones’ GPS capability to not only track steps taken, but duration, distance, calories burned and even the route you took on a map. It also has the capability to journal your progress online.

With so many walking fitness tracking tools available, there really isn’t a reason to not start a walking fitness plan. Buy either a pedometer or accelerometer and start documenting your walking accomplishments today. Before you know it, you will be at goal.

If you’d like to get more out of your walking for fitness plan, check out the “Guide to Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals” for more in depth knowledge on the subject of walking for fitness. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the free Newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest health and fitness topics.

How to Breathe Properly When Walking

It's just as important to learn to breathe properly as it is to walk properly.

Breathing is a natural bodily function that most of us don’t think twice about when walking; it just happens, you breathe in, you breathe out. However, unless you consciously focus on how you breathe, most likely you are doing it wrong.

By using the correct breathing technique, you can gain further benefits from walking besides weight loss and getting fit; benefits such as lowering your stress and increasing your endurance also occur when you learn how to breathe properly.

Breathe Properly for Lowering Stress

When your body senses an increase in heart rate and more rapid and deep breathing, as in walking, it releases a chemical in the brain called endorphins. Endorphins, not only relive stress, but they also induce relaxation, improve mood and increase self-esteem. It’s no wonder many call it the natural “feel good” drug.

Breathe Properly for Increasing Endurance

By breathing properly, you get the maximum amount of oxygen to your lungs which in turn get it to your muscles via your bloodstream. This allows your muscles to work harder and longer that would otherwise be possible if you were not breathing deeper than normal.

Proper Breathing Technique

While there is no set “rule” for breathing while walking, most experts agree that diaphragmatic breathing, or “belly breathing” as it is sometimes called, provides the most oxygen to your lungs.

Diaphragmatic breathing while exercising is different than breathing while at rest. To start:

  • Relax your abdominal muscles slightly.
  • Breathe deeply enough so that your stomach extends out on the inhale and contracts in on the exhale.
  • Adjust the quickness of your breathing pattern as necessary to meet your oxygen needs while walking.

Pushing your stomach out on the inhale allows you to get much more air into your lungs; using your diaphragm on the exhale pushes more air out of your lungs. Whether you breathe through your mouth or nose is a personal preference. If you do breathe through your nose and you find you need more air than you can get, switch to breathing through your mouth.

Meditation Breathing

Some people like to focus on the rhythm of breathing while exercising. Breathe in deeply for three steps and exhale for three steps. By focusing on this rhythmic breathing, it becomes a sort of meditation practice or a point of focus.

Just Get Out – Breathe Properly and Walk!

Regardless if your goal for walking is weight loss, fitness, relaxation or relieving stress, it is an exercise program that can be done virtually anywhere; all that is required is a pair of walking shoes and the desire to get out and walk. So take a deep breath and get started!

If you’d like to get more out of your walking for fitness plan, check out the “Guide to Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals” for more in depth knowledge on the subject of walking for fitness. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the free Newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest health and fitness topics.

The Best Walking Shoes

The best walking shoes for you are likely not the best shoes for someone else.

Because your feet are unique to you, selecting a pair of walking shoes has to be based on what fits your feet the best and not based on looks, reviews or price. The most expensive shoe might not be your best choice.

If you are unsure of what to look for in a good pair of walking shoes, seek advice from a knowledgeable shoe representative in a sports store. They tend to have more experience fitting athletes with the proper footwear.

Features for Good Fitting Walking Shoes

When selecting shoes, look for a pair that gives you right amount of support, flexibility and cushioning.

  • Support – A shoe right for your foot should fit your foot snugly, but not so tight that it compresses your foot. If your shoe fits too loosely, it can cause blisters and even damage your toenails, if they jam against the front of the shoe. Remember your feet swell during exercising, so you may need a size bigger than what you wear in other shoes.
  • Flexibility – Walking shoes that fit right should bend where your foot naturally bends. If the sole is too stiff, you can end up with foot pain.
  • Cushioning – Even though walking is a low impact sport, you want cushioning in the sole. It cushions your heel when it strikes the ground and improves the fit of the shoe.

Always try on shoes before buying. If you plan on buying shoes online, go to a shoe store first and try on the same pair you plan on buying to ensure a good fit.

Also, if you have stride problems, such as overpronation (where your foot rolls too far inward with each step) or fallen arches, make sure your shoe or insole compensates for it. Some manufacturers use motion control technology that compensates for overpronation. In some cases it may be necessary to get a custom pair of orthotics made for your shoes.

Determine Your Foot Wear Pattern on Your Walking Shoes

When shopping for new shoes, bring an old pair of walking shoes with you. The wear pattern on the sole will help the salesman recommend new pairs of shoes that will complement your feet and even improve your walking.

Replacing Your Walking Shoes

If you walk a lot, plan on replacing your shoes at least once or twice a year. When you walk, the outside portion of your heel hits the ground first, as your step progresses, the weight on your foot shifts forward and in towards your arch, As your step finishes, the weight shifts forward to the ball of your foot and you push off for your next step with your toes.

The continuous movement of your feet eventually breaks down the cushioning and arch support on the inside of your shoes. If you start to have sore feet, check your walking shoes as it may be time to replace them.

If you’d like to get more out of your walking for fitness plan, check out the “Guide to Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals” for more in depth knowledge on the subject of walking for fitness. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the free Newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest health and fitness topics.

Walking or Running

What is better walking or running for fitness?

Should You Choose Walking versus Running for Your Overall Health Benefits?

Both aerobic activities are simple to perform and promote weight loss. And both walking and running help regulate a healthy sleep rhythm, elevate your energy levels while awake, and even allow you to maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Running and walking can also be social exercises that you enjoy with friends or family members, and you can take a jog or a hike just about any time of the year, depending on where you live.

Walking is Easier on Your Body Than Running

Just remember that if you choose walking over running to improve your overall health, you will need to walk twice as far as you run to gain the same weight-loss benefits. Running is much more rigorous on your body, and burns more calories. But walking is also much easier on your joints since the impact of your foot striking the ground is lessened.

For Beginners Walking is the Best Place to Start

If you are just beginning some type of dedicated physical regimen, walking is definitely recommended, and you can always build up your endurance and physical fitness to include running in the future.

And in some cases, walking can give you many of the same benefits as running, with less downside. For instance, extensive research taken from the Runners and Walkers Health Study shows that both running and walking equally cut down on your risk of contracting age-related cataracts.

That significant body of information, compiled from tens of thousands of runners and walkers, also showed that runners could expect a reduction in the risk of contracting heart disease by about 4.5% by running one hour a day.

Running Beats Walking for Weight Loss

But those who spent that same one hour daily simply walking cut their risk of heart disease by over 9%. Certainly, walking and running both improve your overall health and fitness much more than if you were sedentary instead. So choose whichever exercise best fits your current fitness levels and situation. And for weight loss, running is definitely the better vehicle than walking. That is because of the increased energy expenditure, elevated heart rate and calorie burn.

Before Walking or Running for Exercise – Check With Doctor First

You should always consult a doctor before adding any type of exercise to your daily routine. But both walking and running are excellent ways to get you up and active, and are low-cost activities which you can enjoy even if you only have a limited amount of time on your hands.

There is no argument that running or walking is much healthier than not doing either, so put one foot in front of the other today and begin to enjoy the heart and total body benefits are that these simple but healthy exercises can provide.

Avoiding Bulky Legs While On a Walking Fitness Program

Because muscles have two different types of fiber, some walking fitness programs target one type of fiber better than the other. To avoid bulking up your legs, you want to follow a walking fitness program that targets slow twitch fibers as they do not grow significantly from their current size.

If you choose a program that targets the fast twitch fibers, you stand more of a chance at building up leg muscle than you may not want as those fibers do have the capability to grow in size.

Follow These Five Steps to Keep From Building Up Bulky Legs:

  • When planning your walking course, avoid hills, inclines or stairs. Moving your body vertically emphasizes building up the glutes, hamstrings and calves, which can give you a bulky appearance. Staying on flat land works all of your lower body muscle groups equally.
  • Maintain a proper posture by engaging your abdominal muscles and keeping your head and neck centered over your spine. This keeps your weight evenly balanced vertically across your muscles supporting it, thus not working one group more than others.
  • Don’t walk with added weight. While ankle and wrist weight do increase the number of calories you burn while walking, the additional weight on your ankles can make your large lower body muscle groups work harder thus developing them more.
  • The same advice applies to other things you may carry with you. What you carry in your backpack can add additional weight, so think about what you really need and leave the rest at home.
  • How you walk can make a difference. In a proper walk, your foot should land on the outside of your heel. As your step progresses forward, your weight should shift forward and inward to your arch. At the end of your step, your weight should shift to the ball of your foot and then to your toes where you push off for the next step. If you land on the middle part of your foot, you can strengthen and ultimately enlarge your calf muscles.

For Walking or Running Choose Good Shoes

Of course, having a good pair of walking shoes that fit well and support your arch will make walking properly much easier.

By selecting a walking fitness course that works slow twitch leg muscle fibers and following the rest of the above steps, you can safely burn calories and lose weight without having to worry about bulking up your leg muscles. As you lose weight, your toned and well defined leg muscles will begin to show themselves.

If you’d like to get more out of your walking for fitness plan, check out the “Guide to Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals” for more in depth knowledge on the subject of walking for fitness. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the free Newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest health and fitness topics.

How Walking More Helps Prevent Diabetes

Studies show how walking can help control diabetes.

The largest non-profit entity providing diabetes research in the United States is the American Diabetes Association. So when such an organization annually promotes a Walk To Stop Diabetes, that should show you just how powerful the simple act of walking is in combating this dangerous and deadly disease.

It is also known that walking helps improve overall fitness levels, while supercharging your metabolism and allowing you to burn more fat and calories, which helps you lose weight.

Walking More Can Also Help Control Diabetes

If you already have diabetes, walking more can help control the affliction and avoid many of its dire consequences. And if you are at risk for diabetes, simply walking more each and every day could keep you from contracting this potentially deadly disease altogether.

This is because the act of walking not only helps you shed pounds, but it also substantially increases the amount of insulin receptors which are located on your cells. This allows your insulin to help blood sugar move into the cell directly, where it needs to go for proper functioning.

When blood sugar gets stuck in your bloodstream, it runs the risk of becoming attached to blood vessel walls, and possibly decreasing or even totally stopping blood flow in some areas of your body. Several studies have shown that for people with diabetes who take insulin, a regular regimen of walking can even help reduce the amount of medication that is required.

Walking More Helps Oxygenate Your Whole Body

Walking helps your heart beat faster to move blood throughout your body, and this helps oxygenate your muscles, which aids in burning blood sugar as well.

And as a wonderful side effect, increasing the amount of time you spend walking can also positively affect your gray matter. As a brain-sharpening and diabetes-defeating activity, the act of walking efficiently combats slowed brain activity which is often impaired in older diabetes sufferers.

Walking More Can Help You Think Clearer

Scientists have noticed that in many cases with older diabetes patients, the ability to think clearly is drastically reduced. But in at least one study, simple physical activity such as walking actually stimulated the very type of brainwave activity which diabetes had impaired.

Gerald Bernstein is an MD and endocrinologist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, and he agrees with multiple findings that average to brisk sessions of walking just thirty minutes a mere three times a week is enough to significantly impact your fitness levels in a positive manner.

This means if you currently have diabetes, are at risk for diabetes, or are simply fit and healthy and want to remain that way. Put the positive power of diabetes prevention to work in your life by walking more, and immediately enjoy the wonderful health-enhancing benefits of this simple activity.

If you’d like to get more out of your walking for fitness plan, check out the “Guide to Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals” for more in depth knowledge on the subject of walking for fitness. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the free Newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest health and fitness topics.

How to Make Walking A Habit

Make walking a habit because the alternative is not pretty.

If you are wondering how to make walking a habit, you probably understand the many health benefits the simple exercise can provide. From lowering cholesterol to improving your heart health, walking delivers a significant overall health boost while shedding unwanted pounds and fat. And if you have tried but failed in the past to add a dedicated walking routine to your life, you can successfully make walking a habit simply by following the tips and tricks listed below.

1 – Make a plan, and write it down. Then post your walking goals in a place where you will constantly see them on a daily basis. This helps to habitually remind yourself of this new activity which you are trying to implement, meaning that you will have a much better chance in sticking to your exercise plan.

2 – Start slow. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you are not going from the couch to the Boston Marathon in a week. Set realistic and sensible daily and weekly goals for yourself, and the positive feelings you get from reaching them will make your walking habit much easier to achieve.

3 – Envision the perfect end result. If you are adding walking to your life to help you lose weight, then visualize your new body minus the 10 or 20 pounds which will disappear after you have successfully created a walking habit in your life.

4 – Celebrate small victories. The human brain feeds off of positive reinforcements. If you walk for 30 minutes your first day, congratulate yourself out loud. Every small win that is celebrated and recognized creates the desire for more positive self encouragement, which not only makes walking a habit, but also something you look forward to and cannot wait to enjoy again.

5 – Be very specific, and consistent. Instead of a vague goal like, “I will walk 5 miles a week,” say, “I will wake up one hour earlier Monday through Friday and walk 1 mile each morning before work.” Habits are much easier to develop when your mind and body understand that a specific activity is going to take place on a consistent basis, at the same time each day.

These simple but easy to implement tips will help you make walking a habit in your life. And you will instantly begin to see the positive mental and physical benefits that a consistent walking plan can deliver, as conscious effort gives way to unconscious habit.

If you’d like to get more out of your walking for fitness plan, check out the “Guide to Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals” for more in depth knowledge on the subject of walking for fitness. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the free Newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest health and fitness topics.

How Walking Reduces Risk of Heart Attack

When you eat healthy walking can have a big impact on reducing heart attack risks.

In a recent report based on a study done at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, doctors found that women who walked at a brisk pace three or four hours per week reduced their risk of a heart attack by 30 to 40 percent; those who walked at least five hours per week reduced their risk by 50%.

They went on to state that one-third of coronary events in middle-aged women are due to physical inactivity. Walking can reduce your risk of a heart attack by…

1) Lowering Your Blood Pressure

One of the causes of a heart attack can be high blood pressure – known as hypertension. This “silent killer” causes your heart to work extra hard to pump blood throughout your body. Walking, along with eating properly, losing weight, stopping smoking and restricting your salt intake, has shown to decrease high blood pressure and therefore decrease your risk of a heart attack.

2) Reducing Stress

Walking reduces the amount of stress hormones released in our body. An overabundance of stress hormones elevates your blood pressure. However, by exercising, your mind focuses less on what is causing you stress and more on the repetitiveness of doing the exercise. With less stress hormones in your system, your blood pressure lowers itself.

3) Reducing Cholesterol

The higher your cholesterol level – a ratio of HDL, LDL and triglycerides (another fat in your bloodstream) – the greater chance you’ll have a heart attack. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that when found in excess, can build-up on the walls of your arteries and cause, at the very least a narrowing, or worse a blockage.

With a narrowing, your heart will not get as much oxygen as it needs and you will get chest pains. If one of your arteries becomes blocked, you suffer a heart attack. By walking, you can naturally raise your good HDL and reduce your bad LDL cholesterol thus lowering your overall cholesterol level.

4) Stabilizing Your Blood Sugar Level

When you eat foods high in sugar, your pancreas releases insulin into your bloodstream to break down the sugar. But in many people, the insulin response is too great, thus processing too much sugar. Your body responds in the form of a craving for sugar so you eat something sweet … and the yo-yo cycle continues.

Why this is bad is that over time, your body becomes what is known as insulin resistant. In other words it takes more insulin than your body is capable of creating to break down sugar. The result – Type 2 diabetes and generally an associated weight gain.

As your body becomes insulin resistant, a thickening of your arteries starts to happen with symptoms and results similar to high cholesterol. Walking takes energy and that energy comes from your blood sugar. With less excessive blood sugar to control, insulin can do its work effectively thus preventing insulin resistance.

A Quick Note on Eating Properly

All the walking in the world will not reduce your risk of a heart attack unless you also eat properly. Many of the above symptoms are linked to not eating right. By eating foods low in salt, sugar and saturated fat, along with regular walking, you can significantly reduce your risk of a heart attack.

If you’d like to get more out of your walking for fitness plan, check out the “Guide to Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals” for more in depth knowledge on the subject of walking for fitness. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the free Newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest health and fitness topics.

Make Time for Walking More

In these days of modern living, we all need to be walking more.

We are all busy nowadays, so how does one find the time to do a little walking every day? It really isn’t that hard. For most people, it requires committing a little more time here and there out of each day.

Many people that should be exercising don’t because they believe they have to do it in one chunk of time; that is not true. While we should each get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, it can be done in small chunks of time throughout the day and still reap the same benefit.

But keeping track of small chunks of time spent each day walking can be trying and most people will soon give up. Instead, let technology keep track of it for you in the form of steps walked.

Wear a pedometer or accelerometer and strive to walk 10,000 steps each day. Before you dismiss that goal as impossible, try it. You are already racking up more steps walking each day than you realize. By creatively adding in some of these opportunities to your workday, you’ll soon reach your daily goal.

Workday Walking Opportunities

There are many ways you can get in some extra steps while going to or from work, or while at work:

  • Instead of finding a parking spot close to your workplace, park at the far end of the lot and walk in the rest of the way. It only takes a few extra minutes each way and the steps adds to your daily goal.
  • If you take public transportation, get off a stop or two before the closest stop to your work and walk the rest of the way.
  • Once you are at your workplace, take the stairs instead of the elevator to your office or at least for a few floors.
  • As a healthy alternative to emailing a coworker in your same building, get out of your chair and walk over to their desk.
  • If you have to go to a different floor for lunch, walk there and back.
  • Instead of eating a big lunch in the cafeteria, bring a healthy lunch to work. Strap on your walking shoes and go outside for a walk. Just allow yourself enough time to get back, cool down and eat.

By incorporating a few of these tips into your workday, you will most likely be at goal and you added very little extra time to your workday. As a final note, keep track of the number of steps walked each day.

On days when you don’t meet goal, figure out what you can change so that the next time you reach your daily goal. It could be walking further, faster or seeking out a new step opportunity.

What’s the Best Time of Day to Walk for Fitness?

From a calories-burned point of view, there isn’t one time of day better than the other to walk. However, there are more considerations than burning calories that may influence when you walk; some bodily functions, and especially the habit of walking, respond better based on the time of day you walk.

The time of day for walks are broken down into four periods throughout the day:

  • Morning
  • Noon
  • Afternoon
  • Evening

Walking in the Morning

A morning walk has several advantages, such as sharpening your mental acuity and revving up your metabolism that will carry through for the rest of the day. So while you don’t burn any more calories by exercising in the morning, you will end up burning more throughout the day by going for morning walks.

Walking Around the Noon Hour

Usually done at work, exercising during your lunch break before eating the healthy lunch you brought from home, reduces stress, curbs hunger and improves blood flow so you can maintain your sharpness throughout the afternoon.

Walking in the Afternoon

Studies have shown that exercising between 3 pm and 7 pm is the best time to build endurance and muscle. Increasing your endurance not only allows you to walk farther but faster before you’ll get tired. Building muscle gives your body better definition, tones the muscles you already have along with increasing their size. Larger muscles mean more calories burned per day, but don’t worry, you won’t build enough to give you that bulked look.

Taking a Walk in the Evening

Exercising in the evening is a good way to reduce stress from a day of working. This time of day can be easier for some people as their muscles are already warm and flexible from the day’s activities. For many people, this perceived reduction of effort required makes exercising more enjoyable than during other times of day.

Some people end up not exercising because they can’t find a 30-minute block of time each day to devote to it. However walking time is cumulative – for example, you get the same benefits from walking 10 minutes three times per day as you do once for 30 minutes. So if “chunking” works better for you, then walk according to that plan.

Experts agree that it isn’t the time of day you exercise that is important, but to do it when it best fits into your schedule. As with all exercising, consistency counts, so if you can find a time of day when you can routinely walk, you’ll start to see results sooner and derive more benefits from walking.

If you’d like to get more out of your walking for fitness plan, check out the “Guide to Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals” for more in depth knowledge on the subject of walking for fitness. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the free Newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest health and fitness topics.

How to Make Walking More Fun

If you think about it, there are lots of ways to make walking more fun.

You know you should walk more, but sometimes it seems like such a chore. Are you trying to discover how to make walking more fun, so that you’ll guarantee you continue to practice this healthy and simple exercise? There are tons of ways to creatively make walking more fun and enjoyable, and when you practice the fun walking tips below, you will find yourself looking forward to your regular hikes.

Get a Dog to Make Walking More Fun

Get a dog. Animal shelters are full of friendly canines that are looking for a good home. In this way you may actually be saving a life while also providing yourself with a walking companion which can increase your sense of security as well. And since dogs require frequent walking, this helps you stick to a regular routine.

Enlist a Friend to Do Daily Walks With

Involve a friend. Many health experts say that you reach your fitness goals much more quickly when you get a friend involved. Since most people make friends with others who are a lot like themselves, chances are you know someone who would also like to add a walking regimen to their life. Get a friend, neighbor or family member involved in your exercise plan, and you will find yourself looking forward to your daily walks.

Listen to Podcasts or Your Favorite Music to Make Walking More Fun

Listen to your favorite podcast. Grab your earbuds and your MP3 player or smartphone, and use your walking time to catch up on your favorite podcasts. Feeding your mind while you lose weight and get in shape by walking is a great strategy to improve your overall health as you simultaneously stimulate your brain.

Start a Reward System to Make Walking More Fun

Pay yourself. Give yourself a set financial rate for walking. Perhaps you will reward yourself with $5 for every mile that you walk, or $1 for every 10 minutes. Physically pay yourself at the end of each walking session, and at the end of each month, use your walking “paycheck” to buy yourself a fun and rewarding gift.

Join a Group of Other Walkers or Hikers

Join a group. There are multiple hiking and walking groups in virtually every major city around the world. And if you do not have a group or organization dedicated to regular walking in your area, why not start one? This is a great way to socialize and have fun while positively impacting your overall fitness level.

Change Your Route to Make Walking More Fun

Discover new surroundings. Walking the same route around your neighborhood can quickly become boring. Get out and broaden your horizons by discovering a park beach, path or forest which is new to you. You can even substantially add to your walking enjoyment by simply choosing a new neighborhood or subdivision for your daily walk, and you may even meet and make new friends.

Get Your Family Involved to Make Walking More Fun

Family fitness is a win-win situation, but it may not be easy at first to get everyone to see the benefits of a family walking plan. Once each member of the family starts to look better and feel healthier, they will accept walking as a good thing, but getting to that point can be challenging. Engage your whole family with these tips:

  • Instead of just one person always walking the dog, make it a family affair and part of your daily family walking fitness plan.
  • Plan time in each day when the whole family goes for a walk. If time is not planned and coveted, it is easy for something else to take over that time slot.
  • Make a friendly competition out of walking. Before starting your walking family fitness plan, record everyone’s weight. Once a week, have everyone weigh again and note the progress made. Once your kids start to see their weight drop, they will see the value of exercising.
  • When going to the mall, park at the far end of the parking lot and walk in the rest of the way. Before shopping, take a few walking laps around the inside of the mall. Not only will your whole family get exercise going to and from the car, but they will also get exercise while walking in the mall.
  • If your kids like playing in the park, walk there (if fit is close enough) instead of driving.
  • On the weekends, plan a family hike. Educate yourself ahead of time so you can talk about what they are seeing on the hike. Not only will they get exercise, but they can learn something along the way.

Walking as a family does another thing – it makes each member accountable to the rest of the family. Nobody wants to be the one to let down the rest of the family, so everyone walks to avoid the disappointment.

Eat Healthy Because Making Walking More Fun is Only Half the Story

As good as walking is as a family fitness plan, it is only half the story; the other half is learning to eat healthy. Focus on your family eating healthy foods rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. As a point of interest, talk about how the vegetable of the night is good for them. One passive education tactic that works is to post an article you read that day on the refrigerator door that expounds on some benefits of walking, being fit or healthy eating.

A family walking fitness plan is not only a great way for the whole family to get some exercise, but what better way is there to spend some quality family time together. So have the family members get off the couch, put down the game controllers and get out and walk! The whole family together will make walking more fun.

If you’d like to get more out of your walking for fitness plan, check out the “Guide to Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals” for more in depth knowledge on the subject of walking for fitness. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the free Newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest health and fitness topics.