Engaging in regular physical activity is important for your overall health and well-being.
When you begin a weight-loss journey, there are a number of factors you should consider. The foods you select and amount of calories you consume are the most influential aspects of achieving successful weight loss. However, physical activity is also important and plays a large role in helping you keep the weight off.
During weight loss, physical activity can contribute to losing up to 3 percent of weight. This may not seem like much, but it is important to include for your overall health.
Physical activity incorporates a wide range of activities that get your body moving — and burns calories. The current adult physical activity recommendations for weight loss are 225 minutes (3 hours and 45 minutes) per week and at least 300 minutes (5 hours) per week for weight maintenance after weight loss.
For some, physical activity may seem intimidating, but it doesn't have to be! Walking can be a way to be active throughout the day. You can spread the activity out in a way that best fits your schedule. It doesn’t need to be done all at once.
Adding walking into your daily routine can contribute to meeting the physical activity recommendations and burn some calories. Walking requires no special skills, no gym membership, or equipment. All you need is to set aside time, a pair of comfortable shoes, and a designated area to walk. If the weather is nice, take advantage of outdoor locations that have trails, sidewalks, or tracks. For days where outdoor activity isn’t ideal, utilize indoor hallways/ tracks, shopping malls, take the stairs more often, or take loops around your living space. Learn more about how to start a walking program.
Always check with your doctor before starting a new routine or incorporating any new physical activity into your day to make sure it is safe for you to do so. If you have a heart condition, experience bone and joint pain, are on blood pressure or heart medications, feel chest pains, or become dizzy when you are not performing physical activity, your doctor may suggest a safer alternative for you.
Once your doctor gives you the OK, you can begin by walking at your own pace and gradually increase your speed, frequency, and distance. Work up to your goals and take your time. As you improve your fitness level, you will find yourself able to move faster and go farther.