If getting back into shape is your primary goal, and you haven’t been exercising regularly and are thinking about starting to run, then the first steps toward achieving your goal should be spent walking. Two of the most convenient and most affordable ways to get fit, eliminate stress, enhance your quality of life, and lose pounds are running and walking. We’ll help you get started walking, improve your health, and become committed, all without getting hurt.
As you begin to think about getting off the couch, there are several steps that you should take to prepare to make a habit of regular exercise, and to build a solid foundation for your running life.
See Your Doctor First: Everyone over 40, or that has a family history of heart disease or other significant health concerns, see your doctor before you begin a regular exercise routine.
Walk First, Run Second: Though you may know people who dismiss the idea of walking for health, it is by far the most effective means for developing the level of fitness required for running comfortably, without injuring yourself. Walking spares your bones and joints of the level of impact that they’re subjected to by running, while continuing to put your arms and legs into the same range of motion. Experts advise that you walk briskly, not as you might in a race walk, but also not like you might walk while window-shopping at the mall.
Be Realistic And Build Slowly: While it may seem quite daunting to begin an exercise routine, it only is if you make it so. Instead, start slowly with a 15 minute walk. If that feels good, do it again the following day. After a few days, if you feel up to it, increase the duration by 5 to 10 minutes. Try to work up to 35 minutes weeks end.
Track the Progress that you Make: Write down details about how far or how long you went each day, and how you felt while you were walking. It’ll provide you with a confidence boost to see your workouts adding up, which will make the following day’s workout less intimidating as you realize how much progress you’re making.
Don’t Skimp On Your Gear: Resist the urge to save a few bucks by wearing an old pair of tennis shoes for your workouts. Ill-fitting or worn-out shoes are frequent causes of injury. Visit a running shop that specializes in outfitting runners with the shoes that provide the proper fit and support to run safely. It’s been said that although there isn’t a magical shoe to make running easy, all bad shoes will ruin your running. With this in mind, avoid making purchase decisions based on price, style, or bold promises. While shopping for your shoes, pick out some lightweight clothing made of materials like Smart Wool and DRI Max, as these are designed to wick away sweat to help you to keep cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, and dry when it’s moist outside. Clothing made of cotton will absorb moisture like a sponge, making you less comfortable under all conditions.
Make Time To Work Out: Create a workout routine that works well with your rhythm of life. Decide hat times are the most convenient for your workouts to take place, and choose an assortment of traffic-free routes for your walks that you can use to walk safely on a regular basis. Determine what times of day that running is non-negotiable. For many people, that time is shortly after waking up in the morning while the kids are still asleep, and there are no meetings scheduled to take place. Also make sure that you that you plan your workout time to allow enough time so it won’t jam up your day. If you don’t have time for a morning run without rushing to work or being stressed out about running behind, the workout will feel like a punishment.
Eat For Weight Loss:
Hope to lose some weight as you progress? Be best way to lose pounds is to reduce your calories while boosting your calorie burn through exercising. Be careful not to slash calories too quickly though, doing so could lead to a reduction of your energy levels, making it hard to remain committed to your exercise.
Try to limit yourself to reducing your calories by only 300 calories per day. Along with the calories that you burn through exercise, you can realistically expect to lose between a half pound and a pound per week. Use a daily food journal to track your calorie intake. There are a number of free websites and apps to track calories with, or you can go old school with pen and paper. Studies support that the use of a food diary helps those who use them to lose more weight than those who don’t, in part because people that use them also are reading labels and becoming aware of their portion size.
Build A Support System
Try convincing a buddy to join you as you begin your workouts, or join a workout group or class. Research indicates that by connection with other people for a common goal, whether in person, online, or in a workout group, you’ll increase your chance of remaining committed to your new exercise routine. Everybody feels self-conscious in the beginning, as if they’re being negatively evaluated by the people around them. Rather than getting caught up in your own fears and anxiety, realize that most people are far more concerned about themselves than they are about you.
Squeeze In Small Activities
During your lunch break at work, take a couple of minutes to walk the halls. Rather than using the elevator, elect to take the stairs. Set a timer on your watch to remind you to get up, stretch, and take a quick five minute walk every hour.
Standing at your desk rather than sitting, will even help. It’s been found that standing at your desk for an 8 hour workday burns 163 more calories than sitting for it. You’d be surprised at how quickly that the calorie burn from these small activities adds up. Make sure you have good quality insoles for your feet – you can see a selection here.
Stick To Your Plan
You may not feel like it’s absolutely necessary to device a schedule for your workouts, however having a training plan is useful for keeping you on course for meeting your goals, and ensuring that you’ll avoid injuring yourself by building up your workout time too quickly. It’ll also give you a sense of accomplishment and increase your confidence as you check off each workout that you’ve planned.