At PedometersUSA.com, naturally we are all into walking as a means to help you stay healthy and get yourself, your family and we hope your friends moving and getting some exercise on a regular basis. Unless you’ve been living in a bubble the last 8 years or so, you are well aware that most Americans today are either overweight or so overweight that they are tagged as being obese. This is alarming on a grand scale when you think that based on studies from a year ago, June 2016, 38% of Americans are considered obese and 17% of our youth are now obese as well, along with 6% being morbidly obese! This was not just some random study. This was conducted by the CDC. They also provided data indicating that large amounts of money have been spent not only by the federal government but also by states, local government, hospital systems, churches and our school districts. They have all become active in creating awareness to promote this growing problem among our society, emphasizing exercise, better dietary choices and lobbying for better nutritional content labeling of the foods we eat even at the fast food and restaurant level.
It is impossible to know the extent that the obesity epidemic would have been without these efforts, the data certainly does not suggest much success.
Education about the pitfalls of eating too much and eating foods that are not good for you will be an ongoing campaign for many of us. After all, unfortunately, all that food that we love to eat, probably in the long run are NOT good for us. Really, when you get down to it, eating anything that has been refined or processed in excess will more likely aid you in increasing your waste-line. We have to think about changing our eating habits and also becoming a society of being more active and physical on a daily basis.
Now we come to our part. Here at PedometersUSA.com, we encourage you to be in charge of your health. Eating right, in the right proportions is the beginning of waking your body up as to what you’re putting into it. Nutrition and how it plays such a large part of beating the obesity culture will be a topic for another blog, and there will be plenty on healthy eating in the future, so keep coming back and look for them as they can be a good resource for anyone looking to fine-tune their eating habits for their health.
But since we look at the physical aspect of healthy living, we want to again remind you about the benefits of creating and more importantly maintaining a regular walking program. Walking not only helps to get your body in a healthier shape, but it is also good for creating a positive mindset that will help to carry you through the daily facets of your life.
It’s probably one of the simplest forms of exercise you can do. Walking can lower blood your pressure, help you sleep better, (because you are now physically tired), toggle your weight loss switch to “On”, and generally improve your health. But it's easy to find reasons not to go when the time comes to lace up your sneakers. Here's how to conquer the most common excuses for not walking that may crop up before your body accepts it as the regular, normal thing to be doing.
You can't find the time.
Keep a pair of walking shoes in your car or office so you're always ready to go.
Carve out pockets of time in your schedule when you can walk, whether that's early in the morning, during your lunch hour, or in the evening. The best time of day to exercise is the time when you're most likely to do it.
Just from my own personal experience. Most people that really want to incorporate their walking into a healthy, get fit regimen, decide to walk at the start of their day. For me, it's a quiet time,(5 am), there is not much traffic about and you can either think ahead of what you have going on for the upcoming day and plan it out, or you can simply listen to your favorite music as you let your feet do the walking
When you have an appointment, get there 15 minutes ahead of schedule so you can take a quick walk around the block beforehand. You will be surprised at how well your meeting will go if you try this as it acts as a good stress reliever and you may find yourself being able to concentrate better on the main points of your meeting.
On days when you don't feel like walking or can't cover your 5 miles, (this is what the average walker achieves when they set their goal on 10,000 Steps!) set a timer for 10 minutes and head out. When the timer beeps, you're done.
You get tired quickly.
Eat three meals a day (no need to stick to precise times), plus two small healthy snacks. Strive for a nutritious balance of veggies, fruits, and protein like lean meat, dairy, soybeans, and nuts.
Avoid processed carbs like white bread, pasta, and cereal before your walk. These foods act like sugar in your body, causing blood sugar spikes and crashes that can leave you feeling moody and tired.
Stay hydrated while you're walking. When sweat evaporates, it removes fluids from your body, and even moderate dehydration can cause fatigue.
Like I said above, we will talk more about good nutrition as a topic for another blog in the near future!
Your knees aren't up for it.
Warm up by walking a block or two at a comfortable pace. The more you move, the more lubricating fluid your joints produce, so you'll feel less stiff on the second or third block of your walk than you did on your first.
Steadily increase your distance. Begin by walking at a comfortable pace for 10 to 15 minutes daily for a week. After that, increase the length of time you walk before you increase the speed (you can split longer walks into 10-minute segments if necessary).
Remember that walking helps, rather than hurts, your joints. Studies have shown that walking 5 to 6 miles a week may help prevent osteoarthritis, especially in the knees and hips, which are the most commonly affected joints.
Already have osteoarthritis? Researchers have found that 45 minutes of walking per week can help relieve pain and stiffness and maintain function over time. So in the beginning, suck it up a bit and walk through any initial pain that you may experience in just starting your walking regimen. But be mindful of what your body is telling you. Initial discomfort or soreness when you begin walking is normal. But if it persists, go see your family doctor. You really should see your doctor before you begin any exercise. Just to make sure everything checks out and you’re in good enough shape to get yourself in better shape!
You don't have the right shoes.
Shop for footwear at a running/walking store. You'll get more personalized advice than you will at department stores. Bring a pair of old shoes so the salespeople can note the wear pattern, which clues them in to how you walk and helps them offer informed choices.
Consider running shoes for walking. Because there are more options, you'll have an easier time finding a good fit. Skip cross-training, tennis, and basketball shoes, all of which are designed for lateral, not forward, action.
Walk a few laps around the store's interior to test comfort. Try on several brands for comparison and make sure your toes can move around. Because your feet swell during walks, you should have at least a thumb's width between your longest toe and the front of your shoe.
Finally, get yourself a good, reliable, accurate pedometer. One that not only keeps track of your weekly distance but that also is able to upload that data to your computer or cell phone. Walking and just keeping an estimated log in your head really just won’t do the trick for you. The key to consistent walking is to be able to track your progress after you’ve been pounding the pavements or trails for a few months.
One that fits the bill for you, we think is the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker
It tracks your steps, distance, and calories burned and syncs those stats to your computer, smartphone or tablet. In doing so, it celebrates how much more you do each day. Zip encourages you to set goals, challenge friends, and go farther - one step at a time. That's how you turn everyday life into a social, achievable, awesome path to fitness.
Ok, now you have the skinny (had to say it !) on what you need to do in order to get out there this summer and take advantage of that summer sun, while you go the distance to walking yourself healthy. And like we said above, get your family and friends to join you. After all, everyone likes a little (healthy) competition. And what better way to challenge yourself and your friends and family than to see who can accomplish the most miles between now and say Labor Day!..... Who’s going to be the best? Our money will be on YOU!