When you’re following a medical weight loss plan, walking can provide the easiest and most efficient form of exercise for burning calories. After all, you already know how to do it, all you need is a pair of shoes, and you can walk just about anywhere or any time. So, walking seems like the most straightforward and obvious choice for an exercise plan.
But you might have heard that one friend counts her steps, while another walks for a certain length of time each day, while still another records her mileage. Which way should you be measuring and tracking your walks? Does it matter?
The answer is… It depends. There are indeed three primary ways to track your walks, and the method you choose will depend upon your exact goals as well as your personality.
For a more “athletic” approach, track your mileage. You might find this method more motivating if you’re training for a charity walk/run, or if you plan to switch to jogging eventually. Tracking your mileage also puts the focus on progress, so you’re more likely to see measurable results every week.
To reach overall health goals, count your steps. Research has shown that people who walk more steps per day, whether during “exercise sessions” or just as a matter of habit, are healthier and lose more weight. Plus, your phone can be used to count steps, so you can set up an app and then (mostly) forget about it. This method can work well for someone who is trying to become less sedentary overall.
To track calories during workout times, track your time. If your goal is to walk for 30 minutes at a brisk pace, then setting a timer is the easiest way to cross your workout off your “to do” list. Just remember to be accountable, and actually use that brisk pace, if you’re also calculating calories. Avoid stopping to chat, read the mail, or scroll social media on a break.
Finally, you should use whatever method feels most rewarding to you. When it comes to medical weight loss, the most important part of your exercise plan is sticking to it. So choose a motivating way of measuring your walks, and go for it! Give us a call if you need help deciding upon a calorie burn goal, or anything else related to your plan.