Walking for fitness can be a great way to get fit and lose weight in the New Year. If you walk in order to get fit, you get the same benefits of running without the pressure on your knees and other joints. Even though you aren't burning calories as fast as you would while running, you are still receiving all the fitness benefits of other workouts. Plus, who doesn't enjoy a nice, long walk on a beautiful day?
Develop a Schedule
The most important thing you can do when starting a fitness walking program is to make it a routine. You can do this by developing a schedule and sticking to it. Pick a few days a week to walk, and make sure you keep it up. Each week, up your intensity by either walking a bit faster or a bit farther. This will help you add to your workout and burn calories faster.
Taking a leisurely stroll is better than doing nothing, but it isn't actually a very good workout. You should be walking fast enough that, if you were to try to have a conversation with someone walking with you, you would have a tough time because you would be out of breath. This is a good indicator while you are walking. You don't want to go too slow, but you don't want to go too fast either. If you are walking too fast for your fitness level, you could end up hurting yourself in the long run.
Treadmills Vs. Outdoors
In the spring and summer months, it can be great to get outside. Not only will you increase your fitness level by walking on hills and uneven ground, you'll also get much-needed fresh air and vitamin D from the sunshine. If you are walking outside, you may want to invest in a pedometer or similar program that will track your distance and tell you how fast you are going. In the winter, however, when it is bitterly cold outside, it can be tempting to walk on a treadmill. Using a treadmill is a great way to keep up your routine while it's cold outside, but be sure to increase the incline and speed accordingly so you have a full workout indoors.
There are lots of albums out there that are made just for walking. These albums keep a beat that you can walk to, that will tell you how fast you are going. Using these albums can be extremely helpful to the beginning walker, and can also add an element of fun to your workout. Trying to keep up with the beat of the music is not only fun, but also beneficial.
It is incredibly important to be safe while walking outside, especially when you are wearing headphones. Be sure the music is turned down so that you can hear traffic and other people walking behind you or other bicycles on the road. Also, if you are walking in the dark, wear reflective clothing. You want people to be able to see you while you are on the road.
Walking with a Dog
Walking with a dog is a great way to keep up your fitness routine, because your dog will pace you, and motivate you to keep going. When you walk with your furry friend, you may need to stop more often for him to sniff the ground or do his business, but he will mostly be so excited to be outside with you that you can keep a good pace and burn those calories.