Walking can be a gentle way to start incorporating more activity into your routine if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.
If you’re following the OPTIFAST Six Week Plan, intense exercise isn’t recommended while your body adjusts to the reduced calorie intake, but walking can help to keep your body moving until you’re ready to progress with your diet and fitness goals.
What are the Health Benefits of Walking?
Walking is a weight-bearing exercise, as you’re carrying your body weight with you. This means that walking can be an effective way to burn calories and body fat.
All types of exercise can help to increase your heart rate, meaning that regular exercise can help to boost your cardiovascular fitness levels, while also reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Walking can also help to improve your mood, as all types of exercise can release endorphins, or happy hormones, meaning it can be used as a form of self-care. Getting outside for fresh air and a change of scenery can be hugely beneficial.
How Can Walking Support Your Weight Loss Goals?
Whatever weight loss method you choose, it’s all about eating less and moving more; it’s good to get moving more, no matter what type of exercise you choose.
As you progress closer towards your weight loss goals, you can start to work in different types of exercise to focus on different parts of your body, improve your cardiovascular fitness further and tone your body.
7 Easy Ways to Increase Your Step Count
Here are seven easy ways to increase your step count:
1. Go for a Lunchtime Walk
Use your lunch break to take time away from your desk and get outdoors for a walk. Not only can this help you to increase your step count, but it can also make you feel refreshed with new perspective to tackle the afternoon’s tasks.
2. Walk, Don’t Drive
If you can walk to the shop or to see a friend, choose to do so instead of driving. Although you’ll have to set off a little earlier, you’ll be able to arrive feeling much more relaxed, while also working towards your exercise goals.
3. Get Off One Stop Earlier
Get off the train or bus one stop earlier and finish your journey on foot if you can.
4. Listening Time
If you love podcasts or audiobooks, consider putting your headphones on and taking a walk while you listen to them.
5. Peer Support
Arrange to go for a walk with a friend to help motivate you, so you’ve got some moral support along the way, and so you can fit in a social catch-up at the same time.
6. Find a Furry Companion
If you don’t have a dog of your own, offer to walk a friend or neighbour’s pooch for a fun, enjoyable way to get your daily steps in.
7. Embrace Mindfulness
Getting outside for a change of scenery can be beneficial for your mental health, and can give you the chance to practise mindfulness, allowing you to tap into what you can see, hear, feel and smell, grounding you in the present to help ease your stresses.
Take an OPTIFAST Bar with you on your walk so you’re prepared if hunger strikes and you can stay on plan.