Get inspired by these real women walkers (including two former Walking Challenge participants!) who took strides toward better health. Read their stories and use their tips to stay motivated, eat better, and make walking more fun.
By Angela Law
Karen participated in Family Circle's Walking Challenge 2009.
Hometown: Richmond, Texas
Occupation: Marketing Director of Memorial Hermann Sugar Land
I've Walked to Get in Shape For: 15 months
Why I Started Walking: I had become very inactive over the last several years. As a result, my blood pressure started going up and I needed additional medication to offset my heart disease.
My Walking Routine: I try to do two 20-minute walks in one day, three to four days a week. My husband purchased a treadmill for me so I can walk indoors during the very hot Houston summer months. I also take the stairs instead of the elevator.
How I Stay Motivated: By telling others how walking helped me lose weight and become healthier. I was able to lose 16 pounds in six months. I had been trying to lose 10 pounds for several years—I tried decreasing my portion sizes at mealtimes using weight-loss plans, but couldn't stick with anything! Family Circle's Walking Challenge set me on the right path, and I kept off the weight!
My Greatest Walking Achievement: I took what I learned and created an employee wellness program for teachers in the Lamar School District. Everyone was struggling with health issues including obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and didn't know how to start exercising. Our program, UHealth—an hour of learning for a Healthier U—has now been adopted by three other school districts around Houston. Employees have reduced their blood pressure, started exercising, and also have wonderful stories to share!
My Favorite Walking Fuel: Protein bars and flavored water
How I Make My Walks Fun: I purchased my first iPod and my kids have helped me load it up with all my favorite music! I love Celine Dion, Josh Groban, and any kind of inspirational music—it clears all the cobwebs from my head and decreases the stress I get from work.
My Best Walking Tip: My nutritionist encourages me by saying, "Just 100 more steps a day. Don't overwhelm yourself with a large goal—set smaller ones. It's amazing how those steps will add up."