After weight-loss surgery, your long-term success will be determined by your commitment to exercise and healthy eating. While your diet will incorporate a wide variety of foods, nearly all of your exercise – regardless of your health – will begin with one simple activity: walking. Though walking is often taken for granted, a deeper understanding of the activity can yield remarkable weight-loss results. Here are several ways you can turn a seemingly simple activity into an effective calorie-burning workout.
Before you begin a regular regimen of walking or any other form of exercise, you should consult your physician. Your doctor will be able to tell you what types of activities are best for your health and help you structure a healthy walking schedule that fits your needs.
Use a pedometer
A pedometer is one of the best tools you can use to both encourage and organize your walking habits. This incredibly affordable device will keep track of your steps throughout the day, allowing you to see how your daily habits affect your movement. After your competitive impulses kick in, you will want to top your number of steps each day. After remaining committed over time, you will also notice your walking totals increasing hand-in-hand with your weight loss numbers.
Keep a journal
The easiest way to keep track of your steps and compare your daily results is the creation of a journal. Beyond a catalog of your walks and the steps counted on your pedometer, you can use your journal to document your exercise, meals and weight-loss results. As weight-loss surgeons often recommend keeping a journal after surgery to encourage healthy eating habits, adding your walking and exercise results in one convenient book will help you simplify your entire routine.
Dress the part
When getting ready to walk or exercise, it can be very helpful to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. By wearing garments that promote healthy movement, you will be more inspired to push on during your walks. More importantly, you should always wear supportive athletic shoes when exercising or walking. Failing to wear the right shoes could not only end your walk early, it could lead to injury and potentially the end of your healthy routine. And don’t forget to include sunscreen as part of your walking attire!
Work on your posture
Much as the right pair of shoes will help you avoid injury, practicing good posture while walking can allow you to extend your workouts and limit your downtime. To avoid back pain and make the most of your walking, focus on standing up straight without arching your back or leaning forward. Next, keep your chin up and try to suck in your stomach and behind. Lastly, relax your shoulders by shrugging and letting your arms fall to your sides naturally.
Move your arms
While you are walking, swinging your arms will help you maintain your good posture and burn a few extra calories along the way. You might also notice that using your arms while walking can propel you forward, helping you maximize your workout and hit your weight-loss targets.
Before setting out on a walk or beginning an exercise routine, you should always warm up to prolong your energy and prevent injury. Prior to walking, you should perform some simple movements that allow you to stretch your arms and legs. As you merely want to prepare your muscles for walking, your warm up does not need to be strenuous.
Cool yourself down
After you have finished walking, you should stretch again to ward off the pains and cramps that often follow exercise. More importantly, a healthy stretching regimen – both before and after walking – will allow you to maintain your exercise schedule for the long term. Obviously, if pain or injuries prevent you from walking or exercising, you will burn fewer calories and find it far more difficult to meet your weight-loss goals.
When thinking about the exercise required to meet weight-loss goals, it is important to remember that your activities don’t need to be complicated or difficult to perform. In fact, the tips outlined here will allow you to build an entire exercise regimen out of nothing but walking. When the time comes to try new sports and activities, you can then use all of the skills you developed while walking to take both your weight loss and healthy lifestyle to the next level.
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