Jan 11, 2018

Walk your way through 2018

You may already have set your goals for the New Year, or you may still be pondering on them. 

There’s always the battle between what you’d like to achieve, what you think you should be achieving and what you actually can achieve.  Either way, most people start a new year with an aim to get fitter.  Usually, this comes with a large investment into every piece of kit that you need and a commitment to setting time aside each week.  But a new fitness journey needn’t be that complicated, stressful…or expensive!  Especially if you start with something simple like walking.

It’s one of the most basic forms of exercise and you already have all the kit you need to get going. Even though it’s considered to be relatively basic, it is still classed as aerobic and can reduce the risk of all chronic diseases by helping weight loss, reducing blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels. For people with diabetes, it also helps to improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood glucose levels.  In fact, the low-impact nature of walking means that it is much easier on your heart and joints than something more intense like running.   

So that’s the benefits sorted.  Now for the walking.  There is some prep that you can do to get ready for taking those first steps.  Getting in the right frame of mind is one of them and that means making walking a convenience rather than an inconvenience.  Try to see it as a positive commitment and one which is going to make you feel good.  Don’t allow yourself to make excuses like ‘it’s easier to drive’ or ‘it’s too cold to walk’.  Fit it into your daily life by parking further away from the shop and walking to the door, taking the stairs instead of the lift and finding a walking buddy to keep you motivated.

Setting yourself a walking goal is another good driver to keep going.  Are you walking to improve your fitness? Is there a certain distance you would like to cover in a month? Or are you building up to an organised event such as a 5k charity walk?  Either way, being clear about what you are looking to achieve will help you to create your walking plan. Just make sure that you start with baby steps and build up to your goal.  Setting time aside to walk each day will help you get into a routine and, as with most things, breaking a routine becomes harder than just sticking to it.

Make sure that your walking plan allows you to make changes to keep the interest.  Short bursts of walking are better than nothing, but if you can fit in a longer walking workout that involves some pace every now and then, you will notice the benefits even more.  Training intervals are also a good tactic to add in to your workout as well as walking up-hill for extra intensity.  Once you are a more established walker, you could think about adding ankle weights or a weighted vest. This could even be a goal to work up to from the outset.

Once you feel you’ve cracked the walking, you could consider adding in some additional training to build your muscles, boost your metabolism and help maintain lower blood sugar levels.  This could include a low impact aerobic video, a HIIT session for beginners, some weight training or even something simple like daily press-ups at home.  A combination of different exercises will allow you to strengthen different parts of your body, meaning your overall fitness levels should improve.  Improved fitness will help to keep your blood pressure in check. Believe it or not, just 60 minutes of walking a day can do this.

And with National Obesity Awareness Week 2018 well-underway, there’s no better time to start planning those small steps towards long-term lifestyle changes.  Taking the time to cook healthier meals, avoid snacking throughout the day and making the effort to be more physically active are all good starting points.  A rise in more sedentary lifestyles is resulting in a rapid growth of diabetes and walking could be the answer.  Doing between just 3,000 and 7,500 steps a day can help to control blood sugar levels and could help to prevent people developing type 2 diabetes.

If you feel you may be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes and would like to know a little more about the signs and symptoms, then register for a free account at www.equalibras.co.uk today where you can also view hints and tips on energy-boosting recipes and exercise routines…great for at home or in the workplace.

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