Walking outdoors is one of the easiest and best things you can do to improve mental and physical health. Especially as the weather warms, it can be a nice change of pace to swap the treadmill for a new hike or path. To get the most out of your walk, it’s important to set smart goals. Whatever your fitness level, these nine goals will motivate you to raise the bar and get in better shape than ever this spring.
GOALS FOR BEGINNER WALKERS
1. WALK 30 MINUTES A DAY, 5 DAYS A WEEK
To reap all the amazing health benefits of walking, you need to get out the door and develop a consistent routine. The American Heart Association recommends two and a half hours of physical activity per week, which equals 30 minutes of walking five days per week. While this sounds simple, most people don’t get as much daily exercise as they need. If you’re just getting into walking, keep things simple and make getting out the door as often as possible your number 1 goal.
2. FOCUS ON YOUR CORE TWO DAYS PER WEEK
Walking is great for cardiovascular health and shedding pounds, but strengthening your core helps increase your walking speed and distance. The core powers movement, and if your core is weak, you’ll be more susceptible to injury as your mileage increases. Core strength also promotes good walking form, which makes your stride more efficient.
3. IF YOU’RE WALKING TO LOSE WEIGHT, AIM FOR 1 POUND PER WEEK
A lot of people get into walking to promote a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. If this is your primary reason for beginning a walking program, having a weight-loss goal can provide ample motivation. Losing 1 pound per week is a realistic goal that’s easy to reach as long as you prioritize a well-balanced diet in addition to regular movement. What’s more, slow weight loss can help you keep it off long-term.