There are very few everyday situations where you MUST break into a run. Late for the bus? Take the next one. Gonna miss kickoff? The PVR has your back. Someone special is hot to trot? Anticipation is half the fun!
What about getting some exercise? You don’t have to run to do that, either. Simply walking, it turns out, can be a great way to lose weight and improve your overall health. Then again, running is better for shedding body fat when you’re short on time — and time is something that’s in short supply these days! That’s where these easy tips for adding some walking and running to your routine come in:
Mix it up
Just as rookie jugglers should start with beanbags before working their way up to chainsaws, the expression “walk before you run” is a great tip for easing into actual running. Next time you head out for an invigorating 30-minute walk, bust out a minute of light running every five minutes. That way, you’ll warm up and cool down at the beginning and at the end, and boost your calorie burn from around 150 to more than 180. Work your way up to alternating five-minute walks and runs, and that half-hour routine will burn more than 250 calories. Now THAT’S making the most of your time!
Make sure there’s some healthy fuel in your tank before you walk (or run) out the door. If you’re a morning person, knock back a tall glass of water and chow down on a hearty bowl of oatmeal (or any of these awesome breakfast ideas) about 30 minutes beforehand. What about coffee? Save it for your post-exercise reward. If you’d rather shake a leg right after work, be sure to refuel beforehand on snacks like nuts, fruit, or these other after-work snacks. Or do it after dinner when you’re fully refuelled, and reward yourself by playing catchup with your PVR.
Stretch it out
Limbering up before you head out will help keep you loose and prevent mid-run cramping. Doing it afterwards will help reduce stiffness the next morning (and not in a fun “morning missile” sort of way). Here’s how to stretch like a semi-pro.
Sport the right shoes
Walking shoes or cross-trainers are fine at first, but running for more than five minutes at a stretch calls for a decent pair of running shoes and a good pair of socks. Goodbye shin splints and blisters, hello head-turning awesomeness! Discount shoe stores sell both for less than $50 all told, which is around the monthly cost of that gym membership you no longer need thanks to your new walking and running routine!
Bring a buddy
Wondering how to make running a habit? Hoofing it with a friend or co-worker is a great way to motivate yourself. In fact, a University of Pennsylvania study found that teaming up in this way produced more weight loss than going it alone.
What man’s best friend? Kicking “walkies” up a notch from time to time will do you and Rover BOTH some good!
Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. His award-winning stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and National Post newspapers, in magazines like Explore, Reader’s Digest, International Traveller and Canadian Family, and on websites including MSN, MSN Canada, and DontChangeMuch.ca. Visit Adam’s website for more details on his award winning work.