A sliced apple with 2 teaspoons of peanut or almond butter (150 calories).
It's quick, easy, and can help you lose weight, according to research from Pennsylvania State University. But soup can also keep you hydrated during your walk. Look for low-sodium options that provide lean protein (like chicken breast), vegetables (for antioxidants), and a source of carbohydrates (such as rice or noodles).
Progresso 50% Less Sodium Chicken Gumbo (220 calories per can).
You don't need a fancy (read: expensive) mix loaded with candy-coated whatnot. An excellent trail mix for walkers is a handful each of nuts (walnuts are high in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids) and raisins (which offer a concentrated source of energy).
8 walnut halves plus a mini box (0.5 ounces) of raisins (150 calories).
The right one supplies about twice as much carbohydrates as protein and about 5 g of fat and 3 g of fiber. Oh, and it shouldn't taste like cardboard.
Luna Bar Caramel Nut Brownie flavor (190 calories).
Most yogurts offer an ideal activity-fueling protein-carb combination, but pick one that's unsweetened; sugar-laden fruit flavorings add unnecessary calories without the fiber of whole fruit. (Bonus benefit: Eating three daily servings of dairy foods such as yogurt provides bone-building calcium, which also helps muscles contract.)
Low-fat plain yogurt with 1/2 cup of chopped fruit or berries (175 calories).
(Posted March 2007)
Perfect Recovery Drink
After a workout, your muscles need protein to repair microscopic muscle tears, plus another shot of carbs to help restock energy stores. The ideal elixir? Reduced-fat chocolate milk. In an Indiana University study, cyclists who drank it after a tough racing session had improved endurance and recovered faster than those who drank an ordinary sports drink (which supplies carbs and electrolytes, but no protein).
1. Speed Up
Step a little livelier and you'll double your cardio benefits, say experts from the University of Alberta, Canada. They found that women who walked at a moderate pace expanded their aerobic capacity to twice that of women who ambled more leisurely. Aim for a slightly breathless 30-minute walk each day.
2. Get Bumpy
Walking on uneven terrain, such as cobblestones or hiking trails, will force you to flex muscles you don't normally use--like glutes (in your butt) and adductors (in your thighs). Treading rough surfaces also improves your balance, Oregon Research Institute researchers say.
3. Invest in Socks
Splurge on the best. The shock-absorbing fat pads on the soles of your feet shrink significantly in middle age, so cushioning is key to increasing your distance without discomfort. Try Thorlos
4. Turn Around
Spend 1 of every 5 minutes of your walk traveling backward to strengthen your hips and butt without putting undue stress on your knees. Head uphill this way and you'll also burn 20% more calories than you would if you were facing forward, says the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy