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How can I make my walks more effective?

Michael Bergeron, PhD
Sports Medicine
Make sure that you are maintaining a moderate- to vigorous intensity, appreciating that this intensity level is what lowers risk of cardiovascular disease and other major chronic diseases. The more regularly and vigorously you walk, the lower the disease risk. Walking in nature has been shown to be more beneficial to mood and cognition – you’ll be more likely to figure out problems and find solutions after an exhilarating nature walk!

Being active is an accomplishment all on its own. Kudos to you for focusing on yourself and being active! A couple ways to make your walks more effective include:

  • Purchase a pedometer and be sure to walk 10,000 steps every day. Having a set goal will help you work towards something on a daily basis. Find a day where you easily reach 10,000 then go for 15,000, no one is stopping you!
  • Track your workouts on a walking log or walking calendar. These suggestions will help you track your progress and set you up for success. Everyone needs a goal so use these tools to set and achieve that goal!

Options are endless so get up and go!

The first thing you need to do to make walks more effective is to take one!  After you take that first step here a couple tips to help make them even better:

  1. Use a pedometer.  Have your pedometer on all day long but especially for your walks.  It is important to keep track of how many steps you take each day.  You might be surprised how many steps you are actually taking.  Your goal should be to take at least 10,000 steps per day.  If you are trying to lose weight you better even step it up from there.
  2. Interval walking.  Although walking is a great way to help you lose and maintain weight, interval walking will make your walks be that much more effective and fun.  While you are walking pick a spot up ahead, like a tree or street sign, to speed walk, skip or even jog to.  Try to do this multiple times during your walk.  This will help you raise your heart rate into the aerobic zone which burns calories faster. Remember to always listen to your body.  If you ever feel light headed or dizzy, take a rest. 

By doing these 2 simple things your walks will be more effective and fun.  But best of all your scale will be thanking you later!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.