Get your New Year's resolutions off to a good start. If you've set a goal of better health through fitness walking and weight loss, these items are a great investment. If you got a holiday bonus or gift cash to spend, these are great ways to spend them on yourself.
With a home treadmill, you eliminate the excuse that it's too cold or dark to walk outdoors in the winter. Experts say that a treadmill is the most effective home exercise tool because it is the easiest to use. The Smooth 5.65 is a high quality budget-priced treadmill, and it folds for convenient storage. It has a powerful 2.5 HP motor with a lifetime warranty. The treadmill stores nine user profiles and has five programmed workouts in addition to manual operation. Smooth treadmills are all sold direct, delivered to you. You can pay a little extra and they will even carry it upstairs and get it fully set-up and running.
The Fitbit has been my favorite walking gadget since 2010. Their family of gadgets have been growing as they added the wristband models in 2013. All of them communicate via Bluetooth with a phone app (iOS or Android) and/or your computer via a USB stick (PC or Mac). All track steps, distance, calories and active time. Via the app or web site, you can also keep a diet diary and balance your calories in - calories out, and track other health indices such as blood pressure and blood sugar. There is no additional subscription fee to track your activity online or with the app. The Fitbit app plays well with other popular fitness and diet apps, sharing data and stats.
- Fitbit One: Clip/pocket tracker that tracks stairs and sleep quality.he One tracks stairs climbed and tracks your sleep quality.
- Fitbit Force: Wristband with numerical display, tracks both sleep and stairs. Highest price.
- Fitbit Flex: Wristband, tracks sleep but not stairs.
- Fitbit Zip: Lowest-price clip/pocket pedometer (doesn't track sleep or stairs). Has a long-lasting battery so you don't need to recharge it
- Fitbit Aria: WiFi-linked body fat scale so you can track your weight, body fat and BMI on your Fitbit app and online dashboard.
Walking fitness starts with your feet. Take a trip to the most-serious running shoe store in your area to get fit for shoes by people who are experts and want to make lifetime customers. Don't go to that mall chain store or discount shoe mart and get served by seasonal staff who don't know shoes from shinola. At the serious-running-shoe store, they will very likely put you into a running shoe that works well for walking, and it will cost between $50 and $110. These shoes will be worth the price. Most of these stores have a generous return policy, and will keep working with you until you get the shoes that serve you best. You can use the Roadrunner Sports Shoe Dog tool to get a better idea of what kind of shoes you need.
Pedometers are big-time motivators to be more active throughout the day. This tri-axis pocket pedometer eliminates the need to wear it on your waistband. The Omron HJ-323U not only displays your steps, distance and calories, but you can upload your data to their OmronFitness.com web site via the built-in USB stick and enjoy graphs and charts of your data. It is completely silent and very accurate. It has a 22-day memory on the pedometer and it works fine without a computer link, if you prefer.
These iPods not only keep you entertained and motivated as you walk and workout, they include a nifty pedometer that works great for tracking workouts or total daily steps and uploads your steps to the web.
Socks can be as important as shoes. Walkers need socks that will wick away moisture to help prevent blisters as you increase your mileage. If your New Years resolution included training for a 10K, half marathon or marathon walk, then you need to invest in good socks. Sockguy socks are fun socks in colorful designs - but also serious socks made of core-spun CoolMax to prevent blisters.
What you wear walking can greatly help keep you comfortable and moving smoothly. Changing into your walking clothes can motivate you to actually get out the door or on the treadmill. The basics are sweat-wicking layers from sports bra to base-layer shirt and pants or shorts. If you are going to walk in cooler weather, you may also need a windbreaker jacket, insulating layer, or shell jacket. Take a trip to the best running store in your area and get tricked out like the athlete you are. If you are a plus-size person, you may need to look further afield to find great gear that fits. I have links to online vendors for plus-size walking clothing.
Joining a walking group can keep you on track for your goals and provide the extra motivation and accountability that will lead to success. The group can be an informal walking group, a local walking club, or a group coached to train for a half marathon or marathon. For those who can afford it, a personal trainer can get you going in the right direction for your fitness goals. But if you are having difficulty connecting with human walkers, then one of the best ways to make yourself walk every day is to have a dog that must be walked. Sloppy doggy kisses are an extra bonus.