7 Get-Started Walking Tips from Leslie Sansone

by Leslie Sansone
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7 Get-Started Walking Tips from Leslie Sansone

Hi MyFitnessPal fans! I’m Leslie Sansone, and I love to walk! I see many of you do, too, so let’s talk about it! If you’re just beginning to think about starting a walking program, you’re already on the path to better health! Here are a few get-started tips:

1. Wear comfortable, supportive shoes Cushioned running shoes designed for stability (not racing) are your best bet. You’ll want to replace your shoes about every 6 months if you’re wearing them for at least 3 workouts per week.

2. Drink water Proper hydration is critical—if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated! During workouts, a helpful and easy guideline is to sip10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes. Sports drinks can be high-calorie and loaded with sugar, so stick with good old h2o instead.

3. Get off the couch When you’re just starting out, try walking indoors. Walk during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV show for a week. And build up to walking between the commercials the next week.

4. Add in power moves Try incorporating multi-muscle movements, like side steps, knee lifts, and arm raises, into your walking to engage your core, boost calorie burn, and increase muscle tone without any major stress on the joints. You’ll be doing what I like to call “Super Walking!” (I incorporate these moves in my Walk This Way workout, which is a moderately paced 2-miler that’s perfect for beginners.)

5. Log your effort in MyFitnessPal Tracking your miles is always a helpful practice, and it’s much easier to monitor the number of calories you burn when you do. (You can burn up to 150 calories per mile doing one of my workouts.) MyFitnessPal lists different options under “Walking” in the Exercise Diary, but if you’re adding in multi-muscle movements I suggest using the “Aerobics, general” category instead. In my workouts, we measure miles by matching the beats per minute of the music to miles per hour. Using this metric, roughly 15 minutes of in-home walking (aerobics) equals one mile. Keep in mind: Since many of those movements are done in place (like knee lifts), a pedometer device may not register every step.

6. Set a goal I recommend walking 3 to 5 times per week for general health, and 4 to 6 times per week if your goal is to lose weight.

7. Take it up a notch If you’ve been walking for a while, you can boost your calorie burn in several ways. Two options to try:

  • Pick up the pace Walking a little faster over the same distance will burn more calories.
  • Do intervals Add intervals, or short bursts, of increased speed amid longer stretches of a more moderate-paced walk—like I do in my popular Just Walk: Walk to the Hits Party Songs workouts Cool down afterwards by maintaining a leisurely pace for 5 to 7 minutes, and finish with a light stretching routine.

It’s my pleasure to go the extra miles with fellow walking fans, and I truly hope these tips help you discover how much fun you can have on your feet! Happy walking!

Who’s going for a walk today? Share in the comments!

About the Author

Leslie Sansone

Leslie Sansone is America’s number-one walk expert and creator of the Walk at Home program. She believes that our bodies were made to move, and we can walk our way to health and wellness. She contributes her time, expertise and financial support to health organizations including the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetic Association and Muscular Dystrophy Association. She was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame in 2014.


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