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Why You Should Walk, Not Run, For Weight Loss And Better Health

Why You Should Walk, Not Run, For Weight Loss And Better Health

Are you a busy individual who wants to live healthier and look better? If so, ditch the lousy excuses and start a walking program immediately! Walking isn’t just for getting around – it can also be a highly effective way to keep you in good shape! Here are some excellent reasons why you should walk, NOT run, for weight loss and better health.

Walking is the Better Choice

Inactivity leads to obesity and poor health. Get up and walk around your neighborhood, church parking lot, school track, shopping mall, or favorite walking path. Simply stand up and put one foot in front of the other. Routine, vigorous walking can eventually create a substantial improvement in your quality of life. Here’s a list of key benefits of walking:

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  • You do not need to join a gym.
  • No special equipment is needed.
  • Gives you more energy and vigor.
  • Lowers your blood pressure.
  • Improves your mood and self-esteem.
  • Helps reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Wards off Type 2 diabetes.
  • Protects against falling and bone fractures.
  • Reduces the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Helps you sleep better and have a positive outlook.
  • Provides relief from joint swelling and pain from arthritis.
  • Supports strong bones, lean muscle tissue, and joint health.
  • Minimizes stress and thereby decreases the risk of heart disease.
  • Decreases your bad cholesterol – low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
  • Raises your good cholesterol – high-density lipoprotein (HDL).
  • Burns calories for weight loss and weight management.
  • Lowers the risk malignant tumors such as breast cancer and colon cancer.

Why You Should WALK and NOT Run

Thomas Jefferson declared walking to be the best exercise. Research in the American Heart Association’s Journal of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology compared data from two studies and observed that for the same amount of energy expended, walkers received greater weight loss and health benefits than runners. Walking reduced the risk of heart disease by 9.3%, while running reduced it by 4.5%. Walking had a more potent effect on heart disease risk factors from a caloric perspective.

Here are some benefits of walking over running:

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  1. Walking results in fewer injuries than running.
  2. Walkers can usually walk in whatever apparel they are wearing with a quick change into a pair of comfortable shoes.
  3. Walkers impact the ground at 1.5 times their body weight with each step; runners impact the ground at 3 times their body weight.
  4. Walking works your bones and muscles against gravity, inhibiting bone loss and prolonged maladies.
  5. Walking stimulates your brain and enhances your attention and working memory, particularly if you do a nature walk.
  6. Walkers perspire and sweat less than runners do, making it possible for them to exercise without requiring a shower immediately after.
  7. Walkers, unlike runners, can decrease their pace to enjoy their surroundings, check out an unusual sight, or grab a snack from a shop or fruit tree.
  8. Walking is enjoyable at all ages; high-impact exercise is typically more challenging in later years.

Start Walking for Better Health

Set up your walking program to get approximately 30 minutes of brisk walking on most, if not all, days of the week. For maximum effectiveness, set a goal to walk at a moderate pace (3 to 6 miles per hour) for two miles on 5 or 6 days of the week. These recommendations will help you start your walking routine and sustain it with minimal aches and discomforts.

  • Select walking shoes that support your arch and slightly elevate your heel with thick soles that can absorb shock.
  • Should you decide to purchase exercise gear, choose moisture-wicking fabrics that draw sweat and perspiration off of the skin.
  • Choose apparel that prevents inner-thigh rubbing.
  • Set walking goals and establish milestones for rewards; monitor your progress with a walking journal.
  • Walk almost anywhere and at any time. If you’re having inclement weather, walk somewhere indoors such as a mall.
  • In lieu of stretching cold muscles, warm up by walking slowly for five minutes, and then begin your brisk walking. Slow down your last five minutes in order to cool down. Be sure to do gentle stretches after your cool down.
  • Start slowly and gradually increase your steps to avoid sore muscles and joints. Begin to walk farther and for longer periods of time as you develop strength and endurance.
  • Start out by walking 5 or 10 minutes a day, working up to at least 30 minutes for all-inclusive cardiovascular benefits. Feel free to divide your 30 minute walk into shorter sessions if you need to.
  • If you already do 30 minutes of moderate, physical activity each day, start doing more. Extend your workout time by using the stairs instead of the elevator; get off the bus a few stops early; park your car at the farthest end of the parking lot.
  • Do a strength building exercise routine at least twice a week. Consider using light hand weights to help build your upper body.
  • Infuse power walking into your program; utilize it as your main workout activity, or use it along with another sequence to mix things up a bit.
  • Make walking fun; bring a friend or pet along with you and choose a safe location that you enjoy.
  • Join a walking club. Recruit teammates or family members for an after-dinner walk – be certain they are able to walk at your pace and distance.
  • Stay cool and drink plenty of water; wear sunscreen when appropriate.

Keep in mind that a brisk walk is a great low-impact workout technique to obtain and sustain great health. It’s an easy, inexpensive way to exercise, and it’s a smart way to keep your weight under control. Scientific studies continue to prove that walking is more beneficial to the body overall than running.

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Disclaimer: The text and links to content furnished herein are produced for informational purposes only. They’re not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance upon any information provided in this article is at your own discretion.

Featured photo credit: Cabarita Ocean Health Retreat via cabaritaoceanhealthretreat.com.au

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Last Updated on June 1, 2020

17 Ideas to Get Motivated to Lose Weight Now

17 Ideas to Get Motivated to Lose Weight Now

You made it here – the decision to lose weight! This means that mindfulness is kicking in. This is important for motivation, weight loss, and health. Being healthy and active is necessary!

Our bodies were meant to move, not be sedentary. For weight loss, the success of your journey is based on your ability to stay motivated throughout.

Motivation is easy at first, but holding on to it may breed a little challenge. Please know that this is normal. You will have days where motivation is at its all-time high and other days where motivation is at an all-time low.

In this article, we’ll look into some of the best ideas on how to get motivated to lose weight and why we lose motivation easily along the weight loss journey.

Motivation and Inspiration for Losing Weight

There are varied reasons for wanting to lose weight. The one common factor: everyone needs motivation.

One piece of advice:

Motivation comes a little easier when you determine the reason for wanting to lose weight.

What is/are your motivating factors for losing weight? It is important to understand your “why”, no matter how small.

Losing weight, even just 5% of your weight can help:

  • Improve blood sugar
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduce joint pain
  • Reduce the risk of certain cancers

As someone who has been through this journey, I can tell you that it will require constant recharges of motivation.

I did it the old-fashioned way, diet, and exercise. It took me almost 3 years to achieve 85 pounds lost. That may seem like a really long time. However, keep in mind that healthy weight loss averages 1-2 pounds per week.

    Motivation is really strong in the beginning, but it starts to shift when the results aren’t immediate. The results take time, and your motivation is the key to get you there.

    Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

    Common Weight Loss Motivation Struggles

    Lack of motivation is common for many reasons. Motivation can trigger a number of emotions, making it hard to get motivated.

    Some of the common motivation struggles that people face are:

    1. Unsupportive Social Environment

    Your social environment is your physical and social setting (home, family, friends, etc.). Many don’t realize the importance and influence of a social environment.

    If you are trying to get on the right track and hear something like “oh, you don’t need to do that, let’s go out and get ice cream”, your motivation to do the right thing is will likely be impacted.

    2. Lots of Hard Work for Slow Results

    When you work out 5 times a week and carefully count your calories, naturally you want to see more than 2 pounds gone. Please keep in mind that normal and healthy weight loss averages 2 pounds per week – about 3500 calories burned means one pound lost.

    3. Injuries

    Many suffer from injuries that reduce their ability to exercise. However, you should also consider low impact exercises and exercise modifications.

    Additionally, discussing approved workouts with your doctor is helpful. Exercise can still happen with an injury, but don’t lose motivation!

    4. Cravings

    You will have cravings, and that’s ok! Even the healthiest people have cravings. When cravings strike, be mindful of the craving and the portion.

    Craving cookies? Bake them at home so that you can modify and control the recipe for your goal.

    5. Healthy Food Is Expensive

    There is a bit of truth and a bit of a lie here. Healthy food can be a bit expensive. However, if you eat more of a plant-based diet (fruits, vegetables, grains, etc.), the costs won’t skyrocket.

    6. Lack of Time for Working Out

    If losing weight is really what you are set out to accomplish, then you have to find some time. You have to schedule and coordinate your day to day to include working out.

    For days that you simply can’t, make choices that force a little more movement. Park at the back of the parking lot and take the longer path to the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do squats while cooking, and/or do sit-ups during commercial breaks.

    The Importance of Mindfulness for Motivation and Weight Loss

    Be honest with yourself, how many times have you eaten something without actually thinking about what you were feeding yourself?

    Mindfulness plays an important role in our everyday decisions, especially the decisions regarding our health. There are many mindfulness considerations that will help motivate you to lose weight.

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    In the past, we were taught what to eat and what not to eat. However, there was no guidance on how to select and consume, which ultimately contributed to weight issues.

    In general, people have a strong misconception about food and its purpose in our lives and health. This creates unhealthy habits that contribute to weight gain.

    The importance of mindfulness in this journey is crucial to your weight loss success. That’s why mindfulness is essential in knowing how to get motivated to lose weight.

    Take a look at this article to learn more about mindful eating: The Best Benefits of Mindful Eating for Weight Loss and How to Start Now.

    17 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Lose Weight

    1. Love and Appreciation

    Love inspires motivation and motivation feeds appreciation.

    Loving yourself motivates you to appreciate our body and all the things that it can do. Appreciation for the body improves body image and appreciation for body image leads to weight loss motivation.

    2. Mindfulness

    As discussed above, mindfulness is the key to success. Being mindful ensures that you are aware of your “why”, the reason for starting your weight loss journey, and are dedicated to making good choices that support your ultimate goal.

    Mindfulness also keeps you aware throughout the process: food choices, social settings, and process/progress.

    3. Be Committed

    Your motivation for weight loss will suffer if you are not committed. Making a public commitment will help hold you accountable and enhance motivation.

    4. Get a Mentor or Accountability Partner

    Having a mentor and/or an accountability partner will help with maintaining your motivation. Having someone that inspires you and believes in you will also boost your motivation.

    5. Animals Help Motivate

    Getting a dog will increase movement because dogs have to go outside and play. A dog can be an accountability partner too! Not only will they make you move, but they are also awesome support beings.

    6. Goal Setting

    You know your “why” and now you’re ready to get started. What are your goals? Are they realistic?

    As discussed above, an average of 2 pounds a week is normal and healthy weight loss. Setting goals like “I plan on losing 15 pounds in a week” will result in a lack of motivation at the end of the week.

    7. Pace Yourself

    The weight loss journey is a lifestyle transformation journey. This doesn’t happen within a few days.

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    Habits take time to break. Don’t lose hope!

    8. Perfection Doesn’t Exist and Setbacks Will Happen

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be patient and love yourself through this process. This isn’t an easy journey, so expect a few setbacks as you transition and get into the groove.

    9. Don’t Set Your Eyes on the End, Set Them on Each Day

    What I mean is, focus on the journey, not the end goal.

    If you are trying to lose 50 pounds, focusing on that number will motivate you initially, but it will cause a lack of motivation later due to being overwhelmed about the length of time.

    Instead, focus on your daily goals.

    10. Incorporate a Plan That Fits Your Daily Life

    Everyone has different responsibilities and different reasons for losing weight. One plan doesn’t work for everyone.

    Build your own plan – one that you can fit into your everyday life.

    Mindfulness is key here and helps keep you motivated. Being mindful of your day and incorporating a weight loss plan is important.

    A few suggestions:

    • Reduce the number of calories you eat. Keep a food journal and track everything.
    • Make smaller plates with smaller portions. Portion control is important.
    • Reduce your unhealthy snack and sugar intake. Sugar can breed disaster.
    • Stay away from deep-fried/fried foods.
    • Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.

    11. Don’t Weigh Yourself Everyday

    This is a huge NO. Weighing in once a week and keeping track of progress is what you need. Weighing yourself once a day is one of the fastest ways to lose motivation.

    Remember, healthy weight loss averages 2 pounds per week.

    12. Don’t Focus 100% on the Scale

    The scale is just one way to track progression and even in that, special considerations must be given. You may have gotten on the scale 2 weeks ago and have lost 15 pounds, but this week you may gain 5 pounds.

    If you turned fat into muscle, this will happen, so don’t lose motivation! This is a good thing. It means that you are burning fat and building muscle, and building muscle means toning up.

    13. Celebrate and Reward Yourself

    When you reach a goal, celebrate! Share your success with your social environment.

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    Being happy and celebrating your achievement enhances motivation.

    14. Hire a Trainer

    It is okay to hire a professional trainer to help motivate and coach you toward your weight loss goal. The trainer doesn’t have to be a workout trainer. You can consider a dietician or therapist.

    15. Use Music

    Music is a motivation booster for sure! Music will help you move and groove, taking the focus off of the act and allowing happy to kick in and motivate you.

    Research conducted by the North American Association for the Study of Obesity found that those who listened to music while exercising were more likely to stick with it than those who didn’t.

    16. Keep Those Jeans

    You may have a pair of jeans that you want to get back into. Keep them! Let them motivate you.

    17. Take Pictures and Document Your Progress

    Your body will change as your eating habits and exercise habits change. Take a picture at the start and consider a photo every 30 to 60 days. Seeing your progress will help keep you motivated.

    How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight When Motivation is Lost

    You may find yourself 100% motivated in the beginning and less motivated after a few weeks of trying.

    Keep in mind that habits generally take 21 days to break. If you find yourself with 0 motivation after having been 100% motivated before, try these:

    • Go back to your why. Why did you start? What was the purpose?
    • Try resetting your goal. Maybe your initial goal was a little too aggressive. It’s okay to adjust and do what works for you.
    • Talk to a coach or trainer. It is a good idea to discuss with struggles with professionals. Many will offer free insight and advice for getting started and staying on track.
    • Reconsider an accountability partner and/or group. Being around like-minded people on your journey can help so much with motivation.
    • Find out if working out is the problem. Working out alone can be a bit boring. Have you considered a group fitness class? This goes back to being around like-minded people who are sharing your journey.
    • Get more motivational messages. Words and phrases of affirmation are so important. Loving yourself and being patient with yourself is at the core of success for this journey. How about waking up each day to a motivational message that you wrote for yourself?
    • Stop comparing yourself to others. Weight loss reasons, weight loss motivation, and weight loss journeys are different for everyone. Focusing on the journey of others takes you away from your goals and accomplishments. Don’t compare your progress with anyone else’s. This is your journey and you’ll do great!

    The Bottom Line

    It took me almost 3 years to lose 85 pounds. I have kept my current weight for over 5 years and counting. This guide on how to get motivated to lose weight is only here to help you. It’s still up to you whether you will follow them or not.

    Mindfulness and lifestyle transformations really are key for keeping it off. Your journey will make you strong, educate you, and transform you.

    Your motivation is within. Find your “why”, hang on to it, be patient, love yourself, and you will find success at the end of the journey.

    More Tips on How to Get Motivated to Lose Weight

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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