Use these simple strategies to up your calorie burn, drop the pounds, and boost the effectiveness of your walks.
By Karen Asp
If you regularly keep tabs on how far you walk, it's almost guaranteed that you'll up your activity level. Men and women walked 15 percent more each day when they wore pedometers and recorded their daily steps in a diary than when they just wore pedometers but didn't track their progress, according to a study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The walkers who logged their strides also often tried to beat, or at least maintain, their step counts from the previous day. "Wearing a pedometer and recording your step counts gives you feedback on your activity levels, which may lead to personal goal setting and greater confidence in walking," says Stacy Clemes, PhD, the study's author and lecturer in human biology at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, United Kingdom.
How to get started: Purchase a pedometer and start keeping track of your daily steps. Aim for 10,000 a day, but don't get discouraged if you're not there yet—the average woman takes about 5,000 daily. To boost your number gradually, add 500 more steps a day, every few days, until you hit the magic 10K.