When we work on losing weight we can often focus too much on the big things we are doing. Cutting back calories, hitting the gym a few times a week, choosing the healthy option, skipping drinks… All these things are, of course, very important. But the little things we can do around the side really do add up, and often they are easier than the big changes.
Take for example walking. Walking is something we don’t really think of as an activity because we do it every day. Even if you are a wheelchair user, you probably manually roll and move yourself a lot of the day. Getting from A to B just doesn’t usually come to mind when we think about of activity to do. But, in reality, everyday activity is the best sort of activity for weight loss. Anything you do every day will become a part of your routine much more easily than things which you only do a few times a week. And by increasing your everyday activity you increase your everyday calories burned, with very little effort.
Walking, or using your manual wheelchair, doesn’t have to be something you start as exercise, it can just be small changes. Take the stairs or ramp instead of the elevator. Skip the car when going to work or school. If you live too far, try and take public transport, as getting to and from train stations and bus stops will add some extra walking to your day. You can also go shopping more locally with a backpack, to increase the amount of time you spend walking or in a manual wheelchair.
You can also increase your walking time by doing something you might have learned not to do: dawdling. Spending more time browsing in the grocery store, taking the longer route home, and going window shopping are all things people do for a bit of leisure, but they will add to the amount of time you spend walking every day with minimal effort.
If you have a dog or kids you have an amazing reason to go walking: to exercise them. Your kids or dog will not complain if you go to the park more often, or walk to the shops to get a nice little treat. They may learn to relish and expect the ritual, which means that you will have extra motivation to go out. But don’t adopt a dog just so you have someone to walk with. Your life is going through enough changes as it is without adding a creature which needs all sorts of new things to integrate them into your life. When you already have a dog it is not much effort to walk them longer or more often. But if you don’t have a dog it will be a lot of effort to fit them into your schedule.
Walking for the sake of walking is the final step in using walking for exercise. Many people feel they could do better with the time by jogging or lifting weights, and it is true that these activities burn more calories per minute, as they are more intense. But sometimes we cannot do them. Perhaps we are injured and recovering. Perhaps we have a chronic illness that is interfering with our ability to go to the gym. Perhaps it’s our rest day but we’re feeling the itch to move.
Finally, if you have a hard time walking outdoors, you could always consider a treadmill, elliptical, spinning, or rowing machine. And if all these are too big and expensive, a simple stepper would do the trick too. This way you can stay in motion whilst watching TV, checking emails, or chatting on the phone, keeping you fit and healthy without needing to change your schedule or leave the house.
As you can see, there are many reasons to pick up walking, or its alternatives, for weight loss, and many different ways to do it. All you need to do is find the one that works for you.