It's no secret that the faster you move, the more calories you burn. Add a few hills to the mix and you burn even more. Almost anything that makes you work harder -- wearing a weighted vest, pushing a stroller, walking 45 minutes instead of 30 -- helps you lose pounds faster than a saunter through the park. But you know that. The challenge is doing it. Betcha these four surprising steps will help:
1. Unless the weather's impossible, walk outside. You'll feel energized -- and even happier. Outdoor light bumps up the flow of mood-lifting serotonin in your brain. If it's chilly, you'll move faster to get warm. If it's sunny, the fresh air will put a little bounce in your step.
Related: That serotonin boost in your brain may help you eat less, too. Here's how.
2. Go to bed earlier. Instead of staying up late texting or playing just one more game of Angry Birds, shut down the electronics, and hit the sack at a sane time. Waking up well rested helps you get out the door to walk. The UV rays from the sun keep your melatonin levels up, which helps you sleep better the following night . . . and the next. See how it works?
3. If you've been yearning for a dog, get one. Having a pal who loves nothing more than going for a walk with you is just one reason to get an exercise machine with hair. Another? When people are given "loaner" dogs to walk, they lose 14.4 pounds in a year. Can't have a dog? Volunteer to walk shelter dogs. Or get a two-legged pal to walk with. Having a human friend waiting for you will get you out there day after day, too.
Related: Talk to other RealAge walkers.
4. Think of yourself as a fit person. This may take some positive self-talk at first, but if you see yourself as fit, you'll work out harder -- without feeling like it's a big a deal -- than people who see themselves as sedentary slugs. Meanwhile, you'll be well on your way to actually being a fit person!
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