Comfortable and Purposeful.
Create a daily walking habit. From smoking cigarettes to eating too many sweets, we all know that, once begun, habits are hard to break. But sometimes it's easier to initiate and add good habits before you try breaking the bad ones. And if you follow our simple guidelines, getting hooked on walking will be a lot more addictive than you think.
Ideally, you'll begin walking at a brisk pace for at least 30 minutes a day. That's the amount recommended by the Surgeon General.
Brisk and Vigorous.
If you're up to walking 30 minutes briskly every day, don't stop! In fact, keep going for another quarter or half hour. Walking 45 to 60 minutes every day puts you into a good range for losing weight. If shedding a few inches is part of your goal, try extending at least 4 of your daily walks to the 45 minute zone, and alloting an hour and a half once a week for a special, long, refreshing hike or walk. You'll also notice even greater overall health benefits.
Some easy ways to increase your walking time are to adopt a walking buddy- a friend whom you enjoy long walks and talks, who shares your conversation as easily as she or he matches your pace. Schedule your walks as if they were important appointments that you absolutely can't miss. The extra minutes you spend walking will fly by.
Check to see if a walking club exists in your area and become involved- or simply start your own.
And vary your walk a little. Walk in new places, or take a different turn once in a while. Walk at a different time of day than you usually do, if your schedule permits. When you have an errand to run, walk it! You might start by walking for your groceries.
When you don't have time to walk longerwalk faster!
Walk at the point where you are sweating, where your breathing is noticeable (but not painful.) You may be panting a little bit but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. As Mark Fenton of Walking magazine likes to mention in the walking speeches he gives around the country, it's the difference between being able to gossip to your walking buddy "Oh did you see Marge's new haircut? (pant) I really didn't like it." and barely getting out "See Marge... (pant, pant)... new hair (pant)... didn't like."
Fenton is also quick to point out that walking at a fast clip still doesn't preclude lifestyle walking. No matter how much of a Speedy Gonzales you are, you can even fit fast walking into your daily routine. "Put it this way," Fenton offers. "On the days I work in downtown Boston, I take a ferry. Then I have a 14 minute walk to the magazine offices ahead of me, which I usually do in 10 minutes at a pace I would call 'comfortably brisk.' But in the evening after work, in order to reach the ferry, I really have to fly. Then I'm walking at a pace I'd call 'frantically fast.'"
So, you say, I'm ready to try the frantically fast. Just how fast is fast walking?