When you begin your medical weight loss plan, establishing an exercise routine will be one of the first decisions you make. For most of our patients, walking provides the answer to this need. It’s easy, you don’t need any special equipment or lessons, and you can do it just about anywhere.
But did you know that you could be doing it wrong? If you’re making any of these common mistakes with your walking routine, you could be sacrificing some of your calorie burn. And that will make your exercise routine less effective than it could have been.
You always take the same route. Varying your route will challenge your body’s muscle memory, plus it prevents boredom. Changing it up can create new challenges for your body, and help you get into better shape.
You’re only walking. Walking is great for building a healthier heart and burning some calories. But to truly increase your metabolism, you should be building new muscle tissue with a strength training routine.
You don’t vary your intensity. By pushing yourself to walk at a faster pace, you can increase your calorie burn. Even if you can’t keep up this pace for the entire walk, adding bursts of speed will increase your heart rate and help you get more from your exercise program.
You forget to hydrate. Even though it’s “just” walking, most of us do sweat during this type of exercise. Make sure to replace your body’s lost fluids by sipping water before, during, and after your walk.
You’re not snacking wisely. Any type of exercise will stimulate your appetite, tempting you to “cheat” on your eating plan. Make sure you’re snacking on protein regularly, so that you feel satiated throughout the day.
You set unrealistic goals. Don’t count on being ready to run a 5k after a month or two of walking. Set reasonable goals so that you can feel encouraged by gradual progress.
You’re wearing the wrong shoes. Without properly fitting, supportive walking shoes, you risk injuries to your feet, knees, and hips. Get fitted for the right footwear at an sporting goods store, so that you don’t end up sidelined and in pain.
You don’t push yourself. Going for a half-hour walk every day is a terrific accomplishment. But make sure to continue challenging yourself by trying longer walks or even hikes in a nearby state park.
And of course, consult with us before beginning a new exercise program. We will screen you for underlying conditions so that we can be sure exercise is appropriate for you. And if you need advice on a medical weight loss plan, we will help you learn how to drop unwanted pounds safely.