18 February 2008

How to Stay Slim? Walk a Marathon A Week.

'People who exercise 60 to 90 minutes a day shed weight and keep it off. It will make unpleasant reading for dieters who have been hoping that light exercise was the key to weight loss.

For it seems the most successful slimmers chalk up a marathon a week, according to research.

A study found that those who exercised for 60 to 90 minutes a day – walking the equivalent of a marathon each week - tended to shed at least two stones and kept the weight off for six years.’

My first thought when I read this article by Fiona Macrae was that it needn't sound so bleak. If you walked 26 miles per week (distance of marathon = 26 miles 385 yards) this works out as 3.7miles a day which shouldn't take 60-90 minutes. A brisk walk could see you cover 4-miles an hour but if you really get a move on you could do your daily allocation toward your weekly maraton in around 45-minutes.

But how do you fit 45 minutes exercise into every day? Easy.

Break it up – do half in the morning and half at the end of the day. Plan it and do it. Don’t start making excuses before you’ve even tried.

Brisk walking requires some serious pavement pounding so make sure you wear the right shoes. Proper support from your shoes can prevent ankle, knee, hip, back and even shoulder problems. A sound investment if ever there was one.

Eat well – Drink plenty. The extra energy and hydration will help to make those miles covered much easier thanks to increased energy.

Walk in the morning, ideally, or during your lunch hour – apart from the safety aspect, its great to get your metabolism fired up early in the day and then again at regular intervals. Much better than sitting still for 8 or 9 hours as many people do in the office.

Take a friend – the commitment is always easier to stick to when you know you would be letting someone else down by not going.

Keep a journal or log of your walks and track your progress against your weekly target. Working backwards is really motivating for seeing how far you've come so keep a mileage log and count down from 26 miles. Ticking off the miles each week will keep you super motivated and will make for good reading. It's also bound to start you competing against yourself to see how many miles you can do each day and how quickly you complete them.

Time yourself – try to break your own records. Wear a pedometer if you have one so you can keep an accurate log on the number of steps you’re taking and gauge your progress.

Get walking – and start to reap the rewards.

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