How to Start a Healthy Walking Program to Lose Weight and Get in Shape

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Walking can be a very healthy way to lose weight and get in shape. Almost everyone can do it, and equipment is minimal - you just need a good pair of shoes.

  • Buy comfortable walking shoes. Try Dr. Scholl's brand with gel soles for maximum comfort and reasonable price - about $25 on up.

  • Start slow. Walk for about 15 minutes, turn around and walk back. As your endurance and speed increases you'll find you go further in 15 minutes than you used to. Do this daily.

  • Increase your distance and time. Add 5 minutes to your time going (a total of 10 minutes both ways) each week.

  • Swing your arms, stretch your stride, and look around you. Enjoy the scenery. Take deep breaths and see if you can identify the different smells in the air.

  • A distance goal of 3 to 5 miles a day is a reasonable amount to maintain. You should work toward being able to complete that distance within one hour. If you can't imagine taking an hour out of each day to walk, find a friend to join you and talk.

  • If it is very cold where you are see if the local mall or school opens up early for walkers. If it is very hot where you are, try walking before the sun is up.

Tips & Warnings

  • Join SparkPeople and plot your progress.
  • Set goals and work toward them.
  • When you find a level you want to stay at, maintain that distance and speed but add one good long walk once a week - it should be at least half again as long as your daily walk. (i.e. if you are walking 5 miles a day your long walk should be 7.5 miles long)
  • If you have any reason to suspect you may have a health issue you should first check with your care provider before starting any new exercise program, even walking.

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  • Photo Credit Cat Dancing
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