''The More I Walk, the Better I Feel!''

SparkPeople member WALKWITME started out at 210 pounds, walking two to three miles at a time. Now her weight is down to 153 pounds (less than 20 pounds away from her ultimate goal) and her mileage is up—sometimes to 10 miles per day! Find out how she did it.


How did walking help you reach your goals?
I have lost 56.2 pounds, and walking is my primary exercise. I started out walking two to three miles and now I walk five to eight miles and up to 10 miles on any given day. I love walking! Last week I walked 59 miles. I just don't walk, I power walk so I can get done in a certain amount of time. Most of my friends I have met along the way think I'm a walkaholic! I have walked in the snow, rain and cold days so there’s no stopping me when I get on my sneakers. I generally walk every day, at 5 a.m. till I'm done.

How do you keep your walks fun and interesting?
I started out walking with my next door neighbor. We would walk a short distance one day and the other days we would walk longer. We’d race walk and change our walking routes throughout the neighborhood. On the days my neighbor didn’t walk with me, I’d go to a nearby high school track where I could keep track of my laps and miles. Some days I’d throw on my iPod to listen to music, and other days I’d enjoy talking to the people I have met along the way. I enjoy the scenery—the longer I walk, the better I feel!

Now I walk and jog up and down the high school bleachers for fun. I take longer walks (eight to nine miles) on the weekends with three friends, and we choose a different route each time.

What other exercises did you do besides walking?
For cardio, I also used the treadmill and Gazelle. SparkPeople’s strength and flexibility exercises were also part of my program then and they still are today.

What tips would you give someone just starting a walking program?
  • See your doctor first, before you start a walking program.
  • Warm up for five to 10 minutes and end with a 5-10 minute cool down.
  • Start slowly and gradually build up your time and distance. You can walk anywhere from 20-60 minutes, three to six days a week. It can be broken into several 10-minute increments—whatever your schedule permits.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing.
  • Don’t forget your water!
Besides weight loss, what other improvements have you noticed?
It’s good exercise for my heart. Now I’m not winded when I climb stairs. My stress level is down and both my blood pressure and cholesterol readings have improved, too.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with other walkers?
Have fun. Walk with a friend. Don't make it a task.