Last Updated on July 6, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
Just because you walked 10,000 steps doesn’t mean you’ll burn a significant number of calories. While step counters can help you get more out of your day, they don’t necessarily mean you’ll quickly lose weight. This is only one factor of how you can get more out of your walks. It’s all about how much effort you put into putting one foot in front of another.
How Can You Get More Out of Your Walks?
One thing you need to keep in mind is that steps doesn’t equal calorie burn. You can get thousands of steps per day and not really get much of a workout. Now, this isn’t saying that monitoring your steps is a waste of time. On the contrary. It could be used as a great way to track your regular daily activity.
Although moving your legs does eliminate some of the calories in your body, increasing the speed in which you do so will burn more. For example, you’ll get rid of far more calories by maintaining a 17 minute mile than you would at a 30 minute mile during your walks. A key component to this is getting your heart rate up. The more you work, the faster it will beat. This is an indication that you’re burning calories.
A lot of people like to wrap weights around their ankles in order to increase the workout. I can attest to how this improves calorie loss during activity. The added weight forces your muscles to utilize more energy in order to compensate for the additional weight. Even strapping one pound on each leg can make a difference in your walking.
If you’re obese, you want to be careful about extended walks. I managed to fracture my feet when doing a 5k in 2015. This is because my bones couldn’t sustain the extended activity compared to how much I weighed. However, improving your distance over time can address that problem. The longer you can sustain an elevated heart rate, the more calories you’ll lose. Just don’t try a 5k if you haven’t walked that far before.
Your Shoes Are Important
Keeping your feet comfortable will not only help you sustain longer walks, but it could be vital to keeping them safe as well. That’s another thing I learned from the 5k walk. The footwear you use will be instrumental in your overall physical activity. Although having the right things on your feet are important, I still don’t see why you would want to spend more than $100 on shoes. Personally, I recently picked up a pair of decent workout shoes for less than $40 at Kohl’s.
Finding the Right Motivation
A lot of people have trouble when it comes to the motivation for a walk. For myself, I incorporate a variety of things that help me focus on getting more out of my experiences. I use things like:
- Runkeeper – to see my progress in a graph and monitor my monthly activity
- Exercise.com – to use my Runkeeper progress to earn points and compete with others online
- Fitbit – to use the steps I have at any given point in the day as a goal for the next
- My wife – who helps me stay motivated by walking with me
- Music playlist – to inspire activity with fast-paced songs
Before you commit to walking more, you need to find what motivates you. Otherwise, you could see it as a mundane task and easily talk yourself out of it. It’s one of the easiest and most natural exercises you can do, yet so many people simply cannot be bothered to walk.
Setting the Right Goals
If you haven’t walked before, you don’t want to set goals that are too high. This will create a mental blockage that can prevent you from succeeding. Instead, you want to set smaller goals that you can achieve while pushing yourself a bit. This helps you remain focused while giving you a bit of a boost to your self-esteem and confidence. Some examples of goals include:
- Distance: Start at a certain distance every day for a week and increase it for the next.
- Time: Set a time goal based on your past experiences.
- Steps: If you use a step tracker, increase the amount you commit to on a weekly basis.
When you start walking, don’t base your abilities on what anyone else can do. You’re unique physiology will dictate how far you can safely take any activity. As you become more active, you can add new goals to enhance your experience. It all centers around what you can do today.