Exercise is important in all the phases of the Dukan diet and walking is a perfect way to fulfill that requirement. Even if you are not on a diet program walking for fitness is one of the most pleasurable forms of exercise. Studies have shown that if you truly enjoy your fitness regimen you will stick with it, and we all know that if you are going to change your weight you need to develop good, long-lasting habits.
Depending on the phase of the Dukan diet you can see the recommended activity level below.
Don't worry if you haven't done much walking before. It's not that hard to do and it is easy to sneak into your lifestyle little by little. Try some of the following:
If you have a dog, the best thing you can do for them and yourself is to walk them every day. It is recommended that a 45 minute walk once a day is enough to avoid boredom and to tire them out. Walking your dog also increases the bond you already have with your pet and helps keep them at a healthy weight. You don't have to do it alone either, rather than pass the buck, walk the dog with the whole family. Make a pact with your pack!
How many times in January have we all taken one look in the mirror and said to ourselves, "I ate way too many Holiday cookies. I need to lose weight!" With great resolve we join a gym and get locked into an annual membership, only to give up after a month or two. Then we feel terrible, eat more, and the whole nasty cycle begins again. There's no worse guilt than staring at your sneakers from across the room. If you hate exercising in a gym then walking may the perfect solution for you.
Walking works all major muscle groups including the most important muscle in your body - your heart. It won't hurt your knees or hips like jogging or step aerobics because it is low impact. This is especially important if you have arthritis, because if you experience pain you are less likely to continue with your exercise regimen. You can set your own pace, no need to work at some competitive level set by a machine.
The real beauty of walking for fitness is that is available 365 days a year, no matter where you are. There are no limitations, except the weather, which you can usually deal with. There are some safety precautions that should be followed, however.
Always wear reflective clothing and always have your identification with you. If you want to walk and listen to music, keep the level low enough to be aware of your surroundings at all times. During the day, wear sunscreen and particularly in the heat, drink plenty of water. Obey all pedestrian traffic laws; don't jaywalk, walk with traffic and on sidewalks and pathways where provided. Don't walk with weights in your hands or on your ankles. This places more weight strain on joints and tends to make the walker swing their arms unnaturally, which can cause other osteo problems.
You should work up to and maintain your target heart rate during walking to reap the most benefits. Keeping your heart rate elevated for 20 minutes per day is optimal. This does not mean you should feel like your heart is going to jump out of your chest. Determine your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220; so if you are 35, your maximum heart rate is 185 beats per minute. The formula for finding your target heart rate looks like this:
Maximum heart rate = 220 - (your age)
Target heart rate = (220 - (your age)) x 0.70
Your target heart rate is 70 percent of that maximum heart rate and in this case, the target heart rate would be 130 beats per minute. Even if you are out of shape, 20 minutes of working at 60 percent of your target rate is beneficial.
Don't worry; you don't need a fancy heart monitor either. All you need is a watch with a second hand (remember those?) or a digital watch with a seconds counter. Using the example above, you should not have more than 22 beats in a 10 second (1/6th of a minute) time span. Now you need to know how to check your pulse. With your middle and ring finger, feel for the carotid artery in your neck, on either side of your Adam's apple. It is not recommended to use your radial, or wrist, pulse as it's just too hard to feel for most people. Do not use your thumb as that has its own pulse and can be confusing. It's best to stop what you are doing to really count the beats. You will usually see joggers doing this at intersections waiting for lights to change.
After walking for a while you may not even consider it exercise. Walking can be a social outlet for many people. Walk with a friend or a group of friends and keep up with the each other's lives. This is particularly important because walking should be done at a pace that makes it easy for you to talk at a normal level without gasping for breath. This should be your guide. At first, and if you are really out of shape, you may need to work up to this. If you can't converse because you are huffing and puffing you should slow down. It won't be very long until you will be able to walk farther and talk longer each day.
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