There are few guarantees in life. Unfortunately one of the few is that you are going to age. If you are like most people your level of physical activity goes down as your age goes up. This decrease in physical activity along with the natural slowing of your metabolism results in unwanted weight gain. This weight gain causes added stress on your back, knees and hips. It also forces the heart to work harder resulting in perpetual shortness of breath, a general feeling of being tired and potential serious heart problems.
As you age and your physical condition deteriorates a feeling of lethargy and lack of motivation begins to settle in. You get trapped in a circle of lack of physical activity because of lack of motivation which continues the lack of physical activity which contributes to a gradually increasing feeling of helplessness and despair. Fortunately the solution is only two feet away.
The easiest form of physical activity to begin after a long period of inactivity is walking. All it requires is that you get up, put your shoes on and start putting one foot in the front of the other. With doing nothing else but maintaining a consistent walking routine you will lose weight.
At this point in your life any form of physical activity will be a shock to your body so start slowly. If you start with just a 15 to 20 minute walk at least three times a week you will start to see results after a short amount of time. As your body adjusts to the activity you will find yourself slowly increasing the length of your walks and their frequency.
The results you see after a few months will truly be eye-opening. There is no magic at work here. Even if your prior eating habits have remained the same you are now burning more calories than before you started walking and you will lose weight. How much and how fast you drop pounds will depend on the length and frequency of your walks. Your metabolic furnace will also begin to kick in and you will have the added benefit of calories be burned faster and easier.
As your walking progresses you will start to notice that your legs feel and look different. No need to panic those are just muscles making a reappearance after being absent for so long. If you incorporate hills into your routine the toning of these muscles increases along with added benefit of strengthening muscle #1, the heart.
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Weight loss, muscle toning and increased endurance are just the physical benefits of a consistent walking routine. Many people find that the mental benefits of a walking program are just as important to them as the physical. Walking will start to release endorphins creating a feeling of well-being and increased mental clarity, some people call it a "natural high".
You will also start to regain your self-confidence and feelings of accomplishment.
Every walk you complete is a little win for you. It is said that it takes 21-30 days of repetitive behavior before a habit is formed. Once this routine becomes embedded you look forward to your walk like you once looked forward to sitting in your favorite chair and flipping channels on the TV.
The low impact routine of walking not only is easier on your body but also allows you to multi-task if you so wish. I walk early in the morning and either use this time to mentally prepare for the day or reflect on life in general. As stated before the release of endorphins provides a sense of mental clarity and I find myself able to problem solve or come up with new ideas easier during my walks. I will also use this time to listen to podcasts without distraction.
One of nice things about starting a walking program is that it can be started by just putting on some comfortable clothing and shoes and just start moving. As you get hooked into this walking world you will want to upgrade your equipment.
Your first priority will be a good pair of walking shoes. Walking shoes tend to differ from running shoes and other fitness shoes in that they tend to be sturdier and offer more support. Once shoes are out-of-the-way some nice to have items would include a pair of headphones (wireless are worth the extra money), a storage device for your phone and a light weight water bottle. There are many free smart phone applications that can be down loaded and allow you to track your mileage, pace, calories and weight and even allow you to share this information with friends via social media.
Walking is a fantastic way for people over the age of 50 to reclaim their physical health and a positive mental outlook on life. I started a walking program four months ago and as of today have lost 22 pounds. I still pretty much have the same lousy eating habits but I have slowly started to cut out something's and cut back on others as I see my progress. Walking has gotten me motivated about life in general and allowed me to have the energy and excitement to venture into things I have only thought about for years. I highly recommend a consistent walking program for anyone looking to kick-start their life.