How About A New Year’s Weight-loss Resolution That You Will Keep — Picking Up The Pace With Walking
Feel the benefits of your body moving briskly daily
We’re approaching that time when we eat too much and make new year resolutions to lose weight and get fit.
Instead of over-promising yourself and failing, here’s a way to start to get fit and to keep it up for the rest of the year, even if you are not keen.
Two things are always true at this time of year:
- Firstly, we will definitely eat too much.
- Secondly, we know that we’ll almost certainly not sustain our fitness resolutions.
Surveys have found that the average person in the US eats about 5,700 calories on Xmas day. That’s overshooting our daily needs by about 3,700 or 185% more than we need metabolically.
10,000 extra calories
Add in the left-overs eaten during the following days and having a well-deserved relax, and you will end up with about 10,000 extra calories for the Xmas break.
28.57 Zumba classes will do the trick, or will it?
That’s when we start to think “oh, I have to start to get some of this weight off”.
You could add 28.57 Zumba classes to your New Year’s Resolution — it will take that many classes to burn it off.
Let’s say for each of those classes it takes you one hour at the gym, and another hour getting ready and getting to the gym and back. That’s about 60 hours of effort to burn up your over-eating-Xmas.
Chances are though, that you’ll never do those classes. That’s most likely, right?
You don’t have that much extra time to spare.
Here’s a better idea, and you can start today! You can even start on Xmas Day, even if it is in a heatwave like down here in Australia — don’t wait for the new year.
You start walking and add extra activities as you become fitter.
This is what I started to do about 20 years ago. I paid more attention to walking and added little variations that all add up to better health.
It is the extra 1% each time and the consistent small efforts that will make a big difference to your health.
I’ll admit, I was not even a keen walker, and I hated running.
I started trail running at 70 - aside from being bitten by dogs I love it
Trail running is stimulating and keeps your brain on high alert
Now, if I don’t walk daily, I miss it. I miss the feeling of movement and mobility and miss being out of the house and in “nature” — which includes the city and suburbs.
And here’s the best bit — no wasted time. No getting ready, no drive to the gym, no waiting for the instructor to find new batteries before the class can start.
I put on my shoes, walk out the door, and I’m doing it.
Four steps to brisk walking
Here’s how to go about it, and you can start today:
- If you are already a walker, go to step 2. If not — start small, find a route that will take you about 20 mins, and start walking it at a moderate pace. Work out the distance. It should be about 1 mile or 1.5km. (I’m going to do everything in Km from here — 1 mile = 1.6 km.)
Now, walk every day until you can do 1.5km in 20 minutes with a normal breathing pattern.
- When you have accomplished #1 then increase the distance to 2km and then 3km. Your goal is to be able to walk 3km in 40 minutes or less without breathing heavily. The way achieve this is to keep doing it consistently, every day.
- When you can do the 3km in 40 minutes, and breathe normally the whole way — not puffing and able to keep talking — then you are ready to progress to the real gains. Your new goal is to walk at a minimum pace of 100 steps per minute, and preferably 120 steps per minute, and complete your 3km in 30 minutes.
The average person will take 1200 steps per kilometre — that’s 10 minutes per kilometre at 120 steps per minute.
- Monitor your progress over stage #3. You will start with heavier breathing, and after walking a while that will settle down into a more comfortable pattern. If you start to sweat that’s a good thing, it means that your muscles are working hard. You are unlikely to be able to hold a conversation — if you can, then you need to walk faster.
That’s it, that’s the program.
It does not seem like much, but it will make a big difference to your health. I exercise 3 times a week at the gym and run 5km trails twice a week, but I still walk 5km every day.
Commit to a daily walk
During a recent 15-year study, people who walked gained significantly less weight than those who didn’t. For example, walking for just 35 minutes a day saved a 100kg person about 11kg of flab and over 15 years of aging. Brisk walking will add more benefits, especially cardiovascular benefits.
Commit to doing this every day.
In this period of lockdowns and #StayAtHome walking is a great way to keep trim, especially if you were exercising regularly before the shutdown. In Australia, we’re allowed outside for the purpose of walking.
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You do not require any special clothes. Don’t put any obstacles in the way of making this part of your daily routine.
Your shoes are worth a little thought, but your clothing is strictly a matter of common sense and personal preference. A T-shirt and shorts are fine in warm weather. An ordinary sweatsuit will do nicely when it’s cool. Don’t let the rain stop you.
Pro-tip: When you have mastered phase #4 and can breathe at ease for your whole 3km at a brisk pace, then add in challenges.
Find steps to walk up at that brisk pace, find small hills and windy trails, find ways to add small challenges and still maintain your pace and time targets. These will not only add to your fitness but also keep you interested and motivated to do this every day.
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Boost your walking benefits by adding five level-ups which each deliver you more bang for your walking buck.
Start today, enjoy, feel the benefits of your body moving, keep going to reach your goals, and keep adding to them. You are going to feel a whole lot better by this time next year.