Walking is a great aid in keeping your weight stable or to walk off the pounds. It has been my go-to exercise my entire adult life. Nothing else I do, has the same positive effect on my body. It truly is my core exercise for my body, mind, and spirit!
Here are 10 tips to keep you motivated to walk off the pounds. This is my personal list of guidelines that I use to make the most of my walking practice. I take walking seriously but in a fun, relaxed way that seems to make it extra effective.
I walk alone in a big urban city and safety is really important to me. My basic rules that I follow are these: I stick to established walking/running trails, I walk after sunrise and before sunset, and I stay away from remote parts of trails and stay where there are always other people.
Part of getting the benefit from walking is being able to relax and enjoy the walk. While I don’t walk during peak crowded times, I do always walk at times when there are other people and it’s still daylight. While it’s tempting to explore some of the more remote trails, I don’t when I’m by myself.
When I lived in a neighborhood, I walked on the street or sidewalks. Of course I prefer sidewalks to street walking. But sometimes you don’t have much other choice. Stick to neighborhood streets with little traffic and low speed limits. Here are some quick ideas for making street walking more safe:
- Don’t wear headphones or earbuds. You need to be able to hear cars.
- Wear bright clothing.
- Be extra cautious going around curves.
- Always look before you cross the street
- Be aware of bikers and runners as well as cars
Since walking is something I do almost every day, I feel like I need the support that comes from a supportive pair of shoes. If you are investing the time in walking consistently, you will want to invest in decent footwear. I stick to a couple of brands that support and fit my foot well. I will usually shop in a place like DSW, that has lots of brands to try on, prices are reasonable, and has a good return policy. Once I select a pair of shoes, I will wear them around the house to make sure they are right for my foot. Be sure to replace them as needed.
A Regular Route
I like to have a regular route or two. I don’t change it up too often. I find that knowing my route allows me to relax more into the walk. While I definitely enjoy a new walking route on occasion, for me to get the full benefit from my walk it needs to be a familiar route. This lets my mind and body relax into the walk and I feel like it puts me into a fat-burning zone.
Hill Work (If you can)
My absolute favorite way to walk is in an area with hills. Unfortunately, I don’t have that here in the flatlands of Houston. But when I travel, I seek out the hills. Having hills in your walking route is built in interval training. When I walk in West Virginia, my heart and butt get a workout that I just can’t replicate here in Texas. Intersperse hill work with some flat walking and you have an AMAZING workout!
I don’t consider myself a fast walker. As you might be picking up, I believe being relaxed while walking is part of the key of walking off the pounds. In my personal experience, walking at a steady relaxed pace for an hour takes care of my body in a way I simply cannot replicate any other way.
Since I walk on protected trails, I feel free to listen to music while I walk. I keep a playlist on my phone with songs I enjoy. Listening to music while walking helps me keep my pace up, while providing some extra enjoyment to the walk. I named this playlist “Happy” and it does make me happy to listen to it.
You really can walk in anything that you find comfortable. But I have three criteria for my walking clothes. Shirts need to be bright. Everything needs to be easy to wash and dry. And I have to feel attractive in my walking clothes. A couple of outfits is plenty if they wash easily.
I have a couple of pairs of stretch pants that I like. One is long and the other is just under the knees. I have a couple of sports bras and fitted tee shirts I like. Good socks round out the walking wardrobe. None of my walking wardrobe is expensive or trendy but I feel good when I wear it. I don’t walk in sloppy, baggy clothes. I want to feel confident and athletic when I walk.
This depends on your location. I have a ball cap, light rain proof jacket, and a couple of light pullovers for colder weather. You may need heavier clothes part of the year or sunscreen and sunglasses too. While, I don’t walk in storms or torrential downpours, I can usually walk in most weather.
I crave some variety in my walk. That is why I prefer neighborhoods, park trails, and places with hills. Those kinds of walks NEVER get boring to me. Since I stick to a regular route, I love having the variety that these places provide. I cannot do tracks—at all.
I struggle with the treadmill too; though I have developed a treadmill workout that helps me out on occasion.
I need a walking route that I enjoy and that gives my eye some variety even though I may be walking the same route every day. I love seeing gardens, the changing seasons, and wildlife while I walk.
In addition, I love seeing my neighborhood from the ground. No matter how many times I take a route, it amazes me that I will still see something new every day.
This really does keep me so motivated to walk that I look forward to it every day!
Three Keys to Walk the Pounds Off
To be effective, walking should be pleasurable, regular, and stress-free. For me, to walk the pounds off, these three keys make all the difference!
Keep on walking my friends!
My One Walking Accessory
The Flip Belt allows you to carry your phone, keys, and money securely and yet easy to get to when needed. When you put it on, it just looks like the waistband of your black yoga pants. And since none of the clothes I wear for walking have pockets, I have to add my own. This Flip Belt has worked great. (Affiliate links–see full disclosure here.)
I call walking my “love handle killer.” I was slacking with my walking this summer because of the heat and I could tell a difference in the way my clothes were fitting. Now I’m out on the trail as soon as it’s light.
I depend on walking to keep me trim. Here is why.
If walking is the love handle killer, the following workout is the “butt lifter.” My daughter created this workout to get the most done in the least amount of time. It gets your heart rate up and the incline works your butt and legs too. Even I can do this one!
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.