We all know the best way to lose weight and get healthier long-term is to combine both diet and exercise. But if you want to lose a lot of weight and haven’t been active in quite awhile, the idea of starting to exercise regularly can seem overwhelming. But you can do it. And every day will get easier.
First, realize that exercise is not a dirty word. Any activity can be considered exercise, whether you’re mopping, vacuuming, or gardening. Exercise will help you burn calories to lose weight and make you feel so much better as you improve your strength, muscles, bones and coordination.
Physical activity also reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke and can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Getting moving ultimately improves your quality of life and makes it easier to do everyday activities like walking up steps and tying your shoes. With exercise, you’ll also feel more energetic and relaxed.
Some good non-weight-bearing exercises include water aerobics, swimming, and riding a stationary bike. You can also lift weights and do stretching exercises. But maybe the best, simplest, weight-bearing exercise you can do is walking.
Steps Toward Fitness
Taking it one step at a time is a great way to get started. Add walking to your household activities to ramp up your fitness level faster. You can walk around your neighborhood, a park, a school track or a shopping mall. You can even walk inside your house. The goal is to just keep moving.
Before you walk, warm up slowly. Do some simple movements like marching in place and making arm circles.
Build your endurance. Start by taking a 5- to 10- minute walk. See how you feel afterwards the first time. If that was too easy, add another five minutes to your walk or pick up the pace. Gradually increase your time walking to at least 30 minutes a day. You can break your time into three 10-minute walks over the day if you need to. To stay on track, ask a friend to join you for walks. Or listen to upbeat music to keep you going.
Move more whenever you can. Pace when you’re on the phone, during commercials or waiting for the microwave to beep. Go up and down every aisle in the store even if you don’t need anything from all those aisles.
For motivation and accountability, wear a pedometer each day. Fifteen minutes of walking is about 2,000 steps. Try to add another 100 steps each day and you’ll soon reach your goal of at least 10,000 steps a day.
Keep track of your activity in your Slimplicity® walking journal. Don’t forget to celebrate your milestones on your way to a fitter, leaner and healthier you! Congratulations!