Tag Archives: how to lose weight walking

21 Nov

Get Healthy – Just Do One Thing At A Time

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If you’ve started to notice that your health is declining and it’s time to do something about it, you’re probably wondering where to start. You know you don’t feel good, you know you’re not doing enough healthy things for yourself, but it can all be a bit overwhelming. Even if your primary goal is to drop a few pounds and just feel better… which action should you take first?

One school of thought is to take massive action. This is certainly a good thing and has helped many overcome great obstacles. Taking massive action should lead to massive results. However, when it comes to changing your health, which massive action should you take? Go and buy every vitamin in the store? Run laps around your block until your legs won’t move? Schedule appointments with a chiropractor, personal trainer, massage therapist, and psychologist?

My suggestion is to take massive action… on one thing at a time. Pick something. It doesn’t have to be anything other than something that will move you closer to a long term goal of being healthy. To me, that would mean that I’m an appropriate weight, I’m generally free of pain, I have lots of energy, and my moods are pretty consistent in a positive way.

The major categories are going to be eating better and exercise.

Eating right can start with eliminating the things that you know are bad for you that you regularly eat. Too many sodas? Trips to the vending machine? Double frappacinos with whip? Something just popped into your head and you know it’s been slowing leading to a decline in your health. Pick one and let it go.

Bring your lunch to work a couple of days per week or find something healthy that you can eat at least once per day. Start taking a decent multi-vitamin if you’re not doing so already and drink a lot more water. Just do something healthy.

Once you’ve got this habit formed and are starting to feel pretty good about your results, time to reassess and eliminate something bad and add in something good. Keep this up until you get where you want to go.

What about exercise? I have to admit, doing this regularly is not always the easiest thing for me. I say it’s about spending the time and effort, but I think it’s more about not spending the time finding something that I really enjoy doing. You don’t have to start an exercise program by planning to run a marathon (unless that helps you get motivated).

Walking 1 mile and running 1 mile burn about the same amount of calories since it takes longer to walk that same distance. Find ways to walk more, even if it just means parking your car further away from the building at work. You can do it, but you have to start somewhere and that means taking action towards your goal.

You can get healthy, really! It’s possible for those that are willing to make the effort. If your health has declined to such a degree that you need professionals to help you heal and feel better, then by all means do that too. Take massive action… just do it on one thing a time.

Dr. Philip Cordova is a chiropractor in Houston, Texas. More information about this Houston Chiropractor can be found on his website at http://www.MyHoustonChiropractor.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Philip_V._Cordova_D.C.

19 Nov

How to Get Healthy and Silence the Inner Critic

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For many, the desire to “get healthy” is an inner critic that reminds them constantly that it is time to give some attention to their health. They think about it when they get dressed or get on the scale, wishing they had not gained the extra weight. They think about it when they are doing an activity that requires more energy and stamina, sweating bullets and thinking about how they need to exercise more. And they think about it when with their healthier friends, the ones who seem to miraculously keep the weight off despite having had three children.

If you find yourself in that category, take comfort in the knowledge that you can get healthy. It is a state of being that is achieved by making small, sustainable changes in your food and lifestyle choices. Those small steps start adding up, resulting in a significantly healthier lifestyle, one that enables you to lose weight healthily and keep it off, increase your energy and maintain your new found health.

Eat Your Greens

Adding more vegetables and fruit to your diet, especially leafy greens, is key to getting healthy. The Standard American Diet (SAD) that we grew up with, where meat occupies the prominent position on the plate at most meals, is not a healthy way to eat. Getting more plants in your diet is easy, and delicious. Start your day with a whole food plant based shake, or simply put two handfuls of baby spinach into the blender with some plant-based milk and a banana for sweetness.

For lunch, skip the meat sandwich and opt for a leafy green salad with lots of crunchy veggies, seeds and nuts for protein. Many vitamins in leafy greens are fat soluble, so use a small amount of a full-fat or reduced-fat organic dressing that is made of just natural ingredients – check the label – or make your own with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

At dinner, reduce the meat portion to a quarter of the plate, and introduce a third vegetable. At least twice a week, cook a meatless meal that uses fiber and protein rich beans as the protein. Most recipes that call for ground beef, like enchiladas, casseroles and tacos, can be easily swapped for pinto beans, black beans and cannellini beans.

Find Enjoyable Moderate Exercise

If you are strapped for time and cannot seem to fit going to the gym into your schedule, do not worry. Getting healthy does not require a daily hour-long workout. Moderate exercise, like fast-walking, trampoline jumping, and brief workouts at home strengthens your body and increases your endurance. Studies have shown that walking just 15 minutes a day reduces stress, increases your energy, reduces your risk of disease, and makes you happier. Find some form of exercise that you enjoy, and do it regularly.

Get Support to Stay Motivated

Getting healthy is easier when you have someone helping you stay motivated and on track. Inform your family members of your desire to improve your eating habits and exercise routine. Ask them to lovingly support you by not bringing food into the home that you know you cannot resist, and invite them to accompany you on bicycle rides, walks and other activities. If you have a friend who also wants to get healthy, meet up with them at least once a week and review your goals, what you have achieved and discuss what might be blocking progress and changes that could be made. Working with a holistic health coach can also be a fun and enjoyable way to get healthy.

You can stop thinking about getting healthy and start your journey to attaining a healthy body. Make small improvements in your food choices and exercise routine each week, and before long you will notice weight loss and increased energy. Keep motivated with the help of a friend or a holistic health coach. In time you will enjoy your new way of eating and exercising, and you will no longer hear that inner voice urging you to “get healthy!” You’ll be the healthy person that you always dreamed possible.

Stephanie Leach is a Holistic Health Coach and CEO of FamiliesEatingBetter.com. Learn how to make healthy eating fun and enjoyable by claiming your free 5-day eCourse 5 Keys to Eating Better and Loving It!”

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephanie_Leach

08 Nov

10 Tips For Healthy Weightloss

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1. Take one pound at a time.

Don’t get overwhelmed by how much weight you need to lose. Try to remember that “losing 15 pounds in two weeks” is nothing to celebrate. It is important to realize that the more quickly weight is lost, the more likely the loss is coming from water and muscle, not fat.

Since muscle tissue is critical in keeping our metabolism elevated, losing it actually leads to a decrease in the amount of calories we can each day without gaining weight.

Fat loss is best achieved when weight is lost slowly. Strive for a weight loss of no more than 3-4 pounds per week. One pound of weight is equivalent to 3500 calories.

2. Set Reachable Goals.

For instance, if you know you need to get more exercise, begin with a manageable goal of, say, walking 10 minutes a day that you know you can achieve. Then build your self-esteem by achieving the small goals you set yourself.

The same logic applies for losing weight.

3. Stay off the scales.

Don’t get discouraged when your progress seems to be slow according to your bathroom scales. They do not provide a true measure of what is going on with the body.

If exercise levels are adequate (5-7 days a week), you may be putting on muscle but losing fat, thus losing inches even if you are not losing pounds. It’s always a good idea to do several body measurements to have a second objective way to monitor progress.

4. Stay focused on being healthy, not thin.

Many people become more successful at long term weight loss when their motive changes from wanting to be thinner to wanting to be healthier. Change your mindset to think about selecting foods that will help your body’s health rather than worrying about foods that will affect your body’s weight. The Food Pyramid offers a basic outline of the types and amounts of food you should eat each day to give your body the nutrients it needs for optimal health.

5. Fat Free?

We’ve known for some time that limiting high fat foods in the diet can be helpful with weight loss. That’s because fats pack in 9 calories per gram compared to only 4 calories per gram from proteins or carbohydrates. To many, the message to limit fats implied an endorsement to eat unlimited amounts of fat-free products. Just to clarify, fat-free foods have calories too. In some cases fat-free foods have as many calories as their fat laden counterparts. If you eat more calories than your body uses, you will gain weight. Eating less fat will help you to lose weight. Eating less fat and replacing it with excessive amounts of fat-free products will not.

6. Drink plenty of water.

‘Drink eight glasses a day. Water is a natural appetite-suppressant. Nettle tea is a great weight-loss tea as it supports metabolism and has diuretic properties.’

7. Reward yourself.

Each time you reach a goal, such as losing 5 pounds, reward yourself with a gift or a massage.

8. Seek help if you need it.

A big key in long term weight control comes from receiving encouragement and support from others. Find a friend to lose weight with or you can check to see if groups such as Weight Watchers, or eDiets offer programs and resources in your area by clicking the links. You may also wish to check with your local hospital to see if their registered dietician conducts group weight loss programs.

9. Watch your portions.

With the advent of “supersize” meals and increasingly huge portions at restaurants, our concept of normal serving sizes is a distant memory. Be mindful of the amounts of food you consume at a sitting. When necessary, divide your food in half and ask for a take home bag. It is all too easy to be a “plate cleaner” even when served enormous portions. Learn to pay attention to your hunger level and stop eating when you feel comfortably full, not stuffed.

10. Eat your food slowly.

Did you ever notice that thin people take an awfully long time to eat their food? Eating slowly is one method that can help take off pounds. That’s because from the time you begin eating it takes the brain 20 minutes to start signaling feelings of fullness. Fast eaters often eat beyond their true level of fullness before the 20 minute signal has had a chance to set in. The amount of calories consumed before you begin to feel full can vary significantly depending on how quickly you eat. So slow down, take smaller bites and enjoy your food.

Tim Godfrey is the co-author of the best selling healthy diet book, Mediterranean Diet Secrets.

To see the latest healthy dieting news and learn more about the book visit: http://www.mediterraneandietsecrets.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Tim_Godfrey

05 Nov

Find Time to Get Healthy

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With so many things in our daily schedule to complete it is sometimes near impossible to find the time to exercise or even prepare a healthy meal, so we ignore the our local gyms and opt for the takeaway as it seems just easier all round. However with a few simple changes, a healthy lifestyle can be achieved and all it takes is a little forethought.

Is it exercise or being good to yourself?

Changing your mindset about exercise can make all the difference in the world, when you view keeping fit as a chore then you are less likely to find the time to fit it into your day. However by believing exercise is just what you need to set you up for the day or to de-stress you after a stressful day at work you can see that you are actually being good to yourself. Exercise releases powerful hormones which can alleviate stress and also make you feel more confident and in control, who doesn’t want to feel good, chores will never make anyone feel good, but taking even just ten minutes to do some stretches or dancing round the living room can have an impact on your whole day.

Success is in small goals

If you view getting healthy as a huge goal, you will probably be put off after the first few weeks, but by breaking progress down into small manageable steps it is far easier to incorporate into your daily routine. Instead of sitting behind your desk at lunchtime, go for a walk. Instead of munching on high street sandwiches, make your lunch whilst preparing dinner the night before, ensuring you know exactly what is going into your lunchbox. You don’t need to think that you need to lose huge amounts of weight by a set time, however by setting a small weekly or monthly goal will be much easier to attain and you will be less likely to veer off of the path you have planned for yourself.

Have a purpose

Getting healthy in itself is a purpose however, it is a very large purpose and can encompass many things from, losing weight, to keeping up with the kid’s on the football pitch to being able to climb the stairs without getting out of breath. You need to be able to set the reason why you want to achieve overall healthiness and a great way is to set a purpose. If you want to shift your mind out of neutral or a highly stressed mind, then consider yoga, if you want to feel more toned then try weight training, if you want to feel more confident try Pilates.

Time for exercise is not really an issue it is the achievable goals you set, start off small and with each success you will feel more confident and you will be able to think of ingenious ways of putting healthiness into your life rather than trying to avoid it because it seems like a huge task. Feeling healthy and fit is the one of the greatest gifts you can give to your body, so why not treat yourself to feeling good.

June Bright is an avid health and fitness writer who takes part in many health related activities and also writes for her local gyms and health clubs.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=June_Bright

02 Nov

Lose Weight and Get Healthy Over 40

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Making a decision to lose weight and get healthy when you’re over 40 can be daunting. Where do you start? What to eat and what exercise and how much? These are all questions we ask ourselves when we want to lose weight and get healthy.

Step 1. Eat well

A good diet is one of the key factors of health- you really are what you eat. The idea of overhauling what you eat can seem daunting, but you probably only need to make a few changes to supercharge your diet. Some simple changes can make all the difference.

Make sure to eat breakfast otherwise your sugar levels will drop, leaving you with cravings for unhealthy foods halfway through the morning, as your body demands quick energy. Avoid sugary cereal, instead go for sugar-free muesli or porridge. Eggs also make a good breakfast, have a couple of poached or scrambled eggs on some wholemeal bread. If you don’t have much time in the morning – a pot of natural yogurt and a banana makes a good speedy breakfast or an apple and a handful of nuts. Vary your meals, in this way you won’t get bored and tempted by junk food. Try new varieties of vegetables, experiment with new foods, tastes and textures. When eating out, always have a serving of salad or steamed vegetables and if you have a desert make it fruit-based. The most important thing to remember when you want to lose weight and get healthy is to make sure you never get too hungry, so eating small amounts every couple of hours is the key to staying slim.

Step 2. Keep active

Staying physically fit not only helps keep your weight down, but also reduces your risk of a wide range of diseases. Focus on two types of activity: Aerobic exercise, anything that gets your heart rate up is what you’re after; cycling, jogging, running, a brisk walk, dancing, swimming,whatever takes your fancy. While keeping your heart healthy with aerobic exercise, it’s important to build muscle mass, too, especially when you’re over 40. Your metabolism begins to slow with age, and building muscle will help increase the rate at which your body burns calories. Any activity that uses your own weight to help you tone up is muscle-building, including yoga and Pilates.

Step 3. Find a balance

For most women over 40, life is hectic. Taking care of a home and family, working and trying to fit everything else in, together with the fact that fluctuating hormones play havoc with mood and energy, can all get a bit too much at times. It is essential to find the right balance so if you do nothing else… walk for thirty minutes every day, you can divide this into ten-minute segments. Have a stroll in your lunch hour, park the car at the furthest point in the supermarket and get off the bus one stop earlier and you’ve done it. Take some time out, find a few minutes to sit quietly every day, even if it’s just to have a cup of herbal tea in a cafe during your lunch break. Get seven to eight hours sleep at night as this is essential if you want to lose weight and get healthy.

P.S. for a new approach to losing weight over 40 visit [http://www.thenewslimyoulifestyle.com].

Carole Isle writes articles on weight loss without dieting targeted for women over 40 based on her life experiences; Carole was a size 8 all her life till the age of 40, then she had her third child and her weight started creeping up till she was a size 14; She set out to find a way of losing all the extra weight without dieting and now at the age of 56 she is down to a size 10, to find out more visit [http://www.thenewslimyoulifestyle.com].

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Carole_Isle



08 Oct

Summer’s Over: Tips to Get Back to Fitness

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So you took some time off this summer. Okay, well maybe you took the entire summer off.

Summer is over now, but not your life.

Now is the time to restart your good fitness habits and regain all the great benefits you were starting to appreciate.

You still want to look good and feel good but you’re having a hard time getting back to your workout schedule.

You need to attack from the inside and the outside! These ideas can help:

• Put some “reminders” in plain sight. Reminders could be pictures to inspire you. Even better- position your hand weights or your walking shoes where you can’t avoid stumbling over them if you don’t pick them up and use them.

• Remember your positive effective self-talk, your personal and unique inner voice that coaches you and literally gets you going. It worked before and it can work again. No one ever regrets having healthy habits.

As for next summer, consider that the “future” is a figment of imagination. Live today the way you would like to live tomorrow.

What is it about summer that makes us want to take a break from our routine? Is it the warm weather? Moving to a different climate isn’t against the law.

Workouts should feel good. Make adjustments to your workouts so they feel good during and after.

Half of fitness is eating well. Choosing your food from taste alone is almost pre-historic. You can do better. You need food that multi-tasks, food that’s delicious AND nutritious.

If you have a “grab and go” eating style, then you may need to plan better to ensure that your choices are nutritious.

When shopping for food, don’t be caught hungry and short of time:

• Avoid buying food at gas stations or quick marts. They mostly sell cravage- garbage foods that were designed to drive cravings without providing valuable nutrition.
• Buy groceries that you can eat or store in your kitchen, your car, and your handbag.

As you strive toward fitness remember that your habits become the fibers of who you are. Keeping habits for a long time changes those habits into fibers and threads, the fabric of the person you always wanted to be.

Don’t give up. Use intention and perseverance to get you where you want to be. Intention and perseverance are qualities that everyone can develop.

Next summer keep up the good habits that will create the person you want to be.

Nina Lomax and Frankie O’Brien work to encourage you to develop and sustain good fitness habits. These two moms have a combined total of 80+ years of fitness experience to share with you. They share their strategies and fitness videos at http://www.FitHealthyLady.com and http://www.GetFitWithFrankie.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Frankie_O’Brien


27 Aug

Stride for Better Health

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Did you know that walking is one of the best activities you can do to dramatically increase your level of health?

Many people today are afflicted with “coach-potato-itis!” They come home from work, switch on their TVs and forget that their bodies need maintenance. But one day reality comes crashing through when their doctors say, “You have a problem!”

This article will show you a simple strategy for improving your health through a fun and inexpensive walking program that promises many benefits.

First, it will increase your energy level. Since walking is an aerobic exercise, it helps the heart and lungs become more efficient.

Both PCOPF (the President’s Council on Physical Fitness) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) state that a regular walking program can lower resting heart rates and blood pressure. It can help burn excess calories and increase muscle tone too.

Second, walking can enhance your mental health. Taking regular walks can help reduce stress and enable you to sleep better. It can also help relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. When you walk, your body produces endorphins which produce a feeling of wellbeing.

Third, it’s fun! The President’s Council on Physical Fitness (PCOPF) calls walking the most popular form of exercise. It can be very enjoyable taking walks with a friend or loved one or even in groups. My husband and I often take walks at night and discuss our day. It’s a special time for me.

Here’s what you’ll need as you begin your new walk-for-health lifestyle. Purchase a pair of comfortable shoes, sunscreen or a hat and sunglasses. Choose loose-fitting garments. Bring along a bottle of water on warm days.

But before you briskly stride out the door to begin your new adventure, you’d better check with your doctor first if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • persistent dizziness
  • chronic shortness of breath
  • high blood pressure
  • heart problems
  • chest pain

When you’re ready to begin walking regularly, there are some precautions to take. Walk during daylight hours or at night only in well-lit areas. Be sure to obey all traffic rules for pedestrians. If you decide to wear headphones, make sure you can still hear what’s going on around you – like cars honking. Stop and rest if you start feeling sick to your stomach, dizzy or experience unusual pain.

Try to walk whenever possible as part of your daily activities.

  • For example, park a distance from stores so you can get some extra exercise going to and from your destination.
  • Why not visit local parks to enjoy the beauty of nature while you’re exercising?
  • Check out the neighborhood where you live to find good routes.
  • On rainy days you can walk in malls instead of doing without your exercise time.
  • It’s a good idea to make a habit of selecting stairs instead of elevators when you need to spend time in office buildings.
  • It’s more fun if you have a companion. This is good exercise for dogs too – they love to go for walks!


Experts recommend thirty minutes of brisk striding per day. It’s best to walk every day, but you only really need to walk five days a week. This can be broken down into smaller segments of time – three ten-minute walks instead of one long 30-minute one.

Try to stride as fast as you can without overexerting yourself. You can tell when you are going at a brisk pace because your heart will beat faster and you’ll breathe deeper. However, your heart should not be racing and you should still be able to carry on a conversation.

So get off the couch, put those chips down, slip on your comfortable shoes and start striding your way to better health!



(c) 2004 by Patricia Wagner

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/19126


14 Aug

Fitness Walking For Exercise And Good Health

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Want to improve your health and fitness? Try walking as exercise to get fit. Believe it or not, in past years, most people walked almost every where. There was not much of a choice available, since there were not others ways that they could get around. Most people did not have cars and there were not bus routes or subway stations just around every corner. If there even was public transportation, you’d have to walk quite a ways to find the nearest bus stop or station to catch it. Now days, most people get into their nice cars and drive wherever they want to go. They don’t even consider just walking that mile to go a nearby store or to send a letter, even on a nice day. People prefer to drive, which makes it no surprise that so many people have health problems. If you rarely ever walk, then it is time that you do. Start walking to improve your health and fitness. Here are some fitness walking tips and food for thought.

You are missing the many health benefits that walking for exercise offers, while looking for a magic pill to cure your physical ailments. In many cases the solution to your health problems can be found in simple fitness walking and exercises. Here are just a few, not all, of the benefits that walking for fitness offers: weightloss management, a reduction in your risk of stroke or heart attack, you can increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and controlling or reducing high blood pressure. Simply put modern technology has made us lazy and our bodies are suffering from it.

Get creative, just parking your car near the back of the parking lot can help you to walk further, since you’ll have to walk all the way to the store and then back to your car. Take your time and spend some time walking around the store or the mall so you are sure to get some exercise as well. Try walking the stairs in you office building instead of the elevator. You’ll be surprised how good you start to feel when you decide to improve your fitness walking.

Walking does not have to be unenjoyable or a chore. Regularly walking in the country or around a park is a great way for you to get the exercise you need and some fresh air as well. In fact, why not take the whole family. It will be a great time when you can educate your kids on the benefits of walking, as well as the wildlife and plant life that you see along the way. With a treadmill or other exercise machine, walking can be done at home inexpensively and at your convenience, with no regard of the weather. You can read, listen to music or even watch a dvd or tv show while you exercise!

If you are just starting think about exercise, walking is a great idea. Always make sure that you take the time to stretch before you exercise. Whether you choose to walk around the neighborhood a park or choose a exercise machine, when you are walking, be sure that you go fast enough so that you feel your heart working, but make sure you are able to talk as well. So, start walking today to improve your health and your fitness.

Get More information on exercise, walking and exercise programs here Start Exercising Also go to http://ExerciseEquipment.Diet-Fitness-and-Health.Com where you can get a fresh view of exercise equipment ideas, product information, news.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/818710


17 Jul

Benefits of Walking for Exercise

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Oh come on! Walking for exercise?? isn’t that too easy?

Well perhaps, but there are a number of reasons why walking can work as a great form of exercise. Yes it is kind of easy, but that’s a good thing since it also yields so many benefits. Besides, the best workouts are the ones we actually do. An hour of walking for exercise is a lot more beneficial than the 30 minutes on the treadmill that you never get round to doing because you just can’t face it.

Here are some reasons why walking for exercise just might be the thing for you.

1)You’re already doing it
Not only is it functional but for most of us the problem with a routine isn’t getting started. A burst of enthusiasm and equipment does the trick, but it doesn’t last, and so the challenge is staying the course. Those January gym memberships that are unused by March are such a cliché because its so common.

The good thing about walking is that you already do it. You can do more, or you can do less, but its just a matter of degrees. So its just a case of steadily increasing the amount to a point you are happy with.

2)Its the most natural form of exercise
You don’t have to learn how to do it. You don’t have to go to a gym. You don’t need a personal trainer or a guidebook to make it happen. Walking is something that you can do without the whole gym thing being a factor. It fits easily into your schedule, and not the other way around: the definition of fitness to fit you.

3)You can easily vary intensity for aerobic conditioning
You set the pace. As you get fitter you can go further and faster more often. Its possible to walk fast enough to make it quite a workout especially when you factor in geography such as stairs, hills and inclines. Design the course to fit your needs.

4)Its not going to injure you
Many people suffer sports injuries and end up in a world of hurt with their exercise choices, but walking is no risk, and no problem. You really aren’t likely to end up one of the walking wounded.

5)It tones the legs and bum
It burns fat, has aerobic benefits and works the legs and glutes. Sounds about perfect to me.

6)You can keep it up for life
The best health habits are those we can stick with anytime, anyplace, anywhere and any age. You really can enjoy the benefits of walking forever, so start as you mean to go on. Walk on.

For more on fitness to fit you and walking for exercise and weight loss, visit [http://www.underwearbody.com/weight-loss/walking-for-weight-loss-and-a-lean-toned-body].

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_Mukoyogo


13 Jul

Walk For Your Life!

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The irony of the latter part of the twentieth century is the direct link between Western man’s ‘progress’ in the fields of science, technology and information in general, and the decline in his physical activity.

Motor cars and aeroplanes, fax machines and cell phones – all mean that modern man has become very much more productive. However, this means that time previously spent ‘relaxing’ can now be filled conducting business by smart phone or laptop computer, while traveling. The end result is not only an increase in productivity, but also in stress.

We are a nation of sport fanatics, but sadly for most people, this seldom extends to participation any more strenuous than flicking the switches on the remote control, or reaching for the popcorn or beer. Even activities such as housework or gardening, have now been relegated to someone else to do for us. Added to an all-time low in physical activity, we eat and drink in excess to ‘bust’ our stress

The effects have been such that a 1982 survey by the Human Sciences Research council indicated that amongst whites in South Africa, 59.5 % of deaths can be directly or indirectly attributed to a destructive lifestyle and there is every indication that this trend has persisted.

You may ask why, with our increased knowledge about the effects of a risky lifestyle, and about the benefits of exercise to prevent illness or ward off the effects of old age, we are still doing so little to combat the situation. Research quoted in his book Aerobic Walking, by exercise physiologist, Mort Malkin, indicates that in many cases this is due, not to unwillingness to exercise, but to ignorance and even fear with regard to the body’s ability to exercise, particularly when one has been sedentary for an extended period of time.

It is my contention that a perfect exercise does exist, no matter what your present level of fitness, your age or your weight. Except in cases of extreme handicap, we are all able to walk. All that is required is a structured program of aerobic walking. The term ‘aerobic’ means that the body burns oxygen to produce energy. By gradual means then, your level of fitness and health will increase.

I recently spoke to the manager of one of our local Run/Walk for Life clubs, and he was full of examples of ‘success stories’. I would like to share just two with you. The first relates to age: Mary, a lady of 70, upon retirement decided that she wanted to do some formal exercise. She adapted so well to the walking program that she ‘graduated’ to running and recently completed an ultra marathon of 100 miles!

I realize that this is a rather extreme case, so let me tell you about how effective walking can be for recovery from illness. After she had had a most severe heart attack, Joan joined walk for Life because walking had been recommended as an exercise. She was obviously fearful as well as unfit at the start and could only walk about two hundred meters before having to stop to rest. However, she persevered and now regularly walks distances as far as twelve kilometers at a time!

The advantage of walking is that it can be undertaken at any time and in any place. I even know of a group which walks in the malls. How is that for shopping without stopping? Good for your waistline and your wallet. Also, no expensive equipment, besides a sturdy pair of walking shoes, is required.

The benefits are many. Extensive research has shown regular aerobic walking to be effective in the treatment of hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, respiratory disease, osteoporosis and obesity. Other spin-offs include a general sense of well being and a more positive self-image as well as a reduction in stress, depression and anxiety and a boost in energy levels.

Charles Dickens once said, The best way to lengthen our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose and Emerson remarked that to walk in the woods is one of the secrets of dodging old age. Certainly, feeling better about oneself and knowing that one is doing something constructive about one’s health, goes a long way towards working against the effects of aging on one’s body.

Now you may say, If walking is good; isn’t running better? Not always. The pressure exerted by a runner at every step is five times his body weight, while for a walker it is only one and a half times, so the danger of injury is decreased. Also, if you are very unfit, or overweight, you may feel that you first need to lose weight or get to a level of fitness before being able to run. With walking, you begin where you are – and you work at your own level of fitness and ability.

What has walking done for me, you may ask. Well, I have had a serious love-hate relationship with walking for the past ten or fifteen years. I joined Run/Walk for Life at that time, but was unable to attend regularly, because they met at a time of day referred to in our home as ‘suicide hour’ – and so the demands of a young family meant that I had to stop attending. However, I have never really stopped walking since then. Winter and rainy weather are problem times for me, but I soon find myself becoming crabby and restless if I miss out on too many walks.

As for weight loss, I can’t boast of too much success in that area, but that is probably due to another serious relationship which I have – with food! However, it has helped to control my weight and I certainly feel better for it.

For me, the wonder of walking is that you do not have to be able to run a mile in four minutes; shoot five under par, or win in straight sets. You compete against yourself, and every time you walk a little further or a little faster than the previous time, it is a triumph.

In the words of Ecclesiastes, the race is not to the fleet of foot, but to him who goes the distance.

So, Walk for your Life!

Marietjie (Ricky) Woods is a teacher of English at a South African high school. Her passion is English in all its variations and forms. She has recently started writing, having spent most of her adult life correcting the writing of others. A Distinguished Toastmaster, she has been involved in public speaking and training for more than 15 years, often running courses on presentation skills and public speaking,especially for students and scholars.

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