Walking exercise for weight loss is probably the easiest and most accessible form of physical activity that can be exercised by almost everyone.
It is an activity with a minimal level of injuries and beneficial effects. These can range from reducing heart diseases, diabetes, or even cancer while improving mental health.
It helps longevity, improves health whilst supports weight loss management.
This post analyzes how walking as a daily exercise can help you lose weight.
Top physical activities
Walking exercise for weight loss is one of the top physical activities that are recommended by experts to prevent weight gain among people especially those who spend most of their time sitting in offices or working behind computer screens. It is also an activity that can be done at any age and has little or no risk of injury.
When you walk on a regular basis, your body’s need for food reduces due to its energy expenditure in the process of carrying out this exercise. This means after walking for some time, you will feel less hungry and start eating less every day.
This is how walking helps in weight loss despite the fact that it has minimal impact on your body fat percentage. It reduces your overall weight due to lowered appetite and less calorie intake from food.
Benefits of walking
These are some of the benefits you stand to gain when you regularly walk as a form of exercise for weight loss or maintenance:
1. It burns calories that you would have otherwise ingested from food.
2. Boosts metabolism which in turn leads to faster weight loss with the right diet and exercise program.
3. When taken together with other forms of physical activity, it results in greater weight loss.
4. It increases your heart rate. This helps to prevent and manage high cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and diabetes among other health conditions which are obesity-related.
5. Helps in optimal weight management through increased lean body mass while reducing body fat percentage and overall weight.
6. Helps control hunger.
7. Better sleep leading to mood enhancement and improved mental health.
8. Maintains muscle and bone mass.
9. Reduces stress levels which leads to a more relaxed state of mind.
Walking exercises for weight loss are also one of the best exercises for burning fat on the belly and prevents its accumulation.
Walking helps you to burn more calories
In order for our body to operate daily, it must have the appropriate fuel in the form of calories found in the food we consume daily. The body converts food and water into energy (measured in calories). This energy allows the body to perform everyday activities, like moving, walking, running, eating, breathing, or even thinking.
Based on gender, height, age, and activity level the number of daily calories varies. In generic terms, the calories consumed daily should not exceed the calories burned in order to lose weight. The trouble begins when you consume more than your body burns to leads to weight gain.
However, nowadays living may demand a large amount of the day to be sitting in front of a PC minimizing the daily activity level. This usually leads to weight gain and health problems.
In order to burn more calories, try to increase your activity level by walking. It will help you reduce health problems. Specifically, walking a mile (1.6 km) burns approximately 100 calories, depending on your sex and weight.
One of the easiest physical activities
Walking is one of the easiest physical activities to do anywhere at any time. It helps you lose weight and increase your overall health in a natural way without causing much harm to your body. This makes it the perfect exercise as you have little or no reason not to take it up.
It is also a flexible activity that can be done by people of different ages and fitness levels. It just involves putting one foot in front of the other for several minutes which you can do as fast or as slow as you like without necessarily even sweating. Additionally, your heart rate doesn’t have to be incredibly high to boost its health benefits.
Health benefits of walking
- It is one of the easiest exercises you can take up if you want to lose weight and need something that doesn’t cause much stress on your body.
- You don’t necessarily have to put in too much effort to get noticeable results; just a moderate amount of walking every day is enough.
- It doesn’t require you to be incredibly strong and with a lot of endurance as you can perform it at your own pace.
Walking is free and easily accessible almost anywhere
- All you need are some good shoes and the willpower to move around for a few minutes.
- Walking is not hard on your joints and bones unlike some other exercises and activities such as running that have the potential to cause joint, knee, back, or neck injuries.
- You can do it by yourself without necessarily having to join any program or start an expensive diet regimen.
- Walking is also not likely to cause any stress on your knees and feet as it takes place on hard surfaces (i.e. the ground).
- You don’t have to worry about carrying too much weight when doing this exercise for weight loss as it doesn’t utilize too many muscles or involve equipment.
- You can do it as often and for as long as you like without necessarily having to worry about overtraining, boredom, or burning yourself out as there are so many ways to walk effectively.
- It doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge of technique unlike some other forms of exercises which can be too taxing on the body without prior knowledge. The best thing is you can work out on your own, at your own pace, and still get results.
- It comes with various health benefits to the body that are more or less similar regardless of whether you do it as an exercise for weight loss or simply just for health reasons.
- It improves your cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels among other things. Walking is also believed to aid in preventing diabetes and relieving symptoms of depression as it releases endorphins which help to improve mood. It can be used as a simple form of treatment for people with several chronic diseases such as asthma, arthritis, heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Walking is an Effective form of Exercise
(1) Walking is one of the best forms of exercise because it can be easily done anywhere without necessarily joining a program or buying equipment.
(2) It can be used for weight loss for beginners who have never exercised before but still want to shed some weight. It is always easier to lose a few pounds than to start from scratch and build your way up as this approach will only take you so far.
(3) Walking is also an effective form of exercise that doesn’t necessarily require you to commit much time or effort; if you are pressed for time just walk fast for several minutes, or you can also walk for longer if you have more time.
(4) You don’t have to join any expensive diet and exercise program in order to lose weight with walking; it’s a simple activity that anyone can do at their own pace without the complexities of some other forms of exercise.
(5) It doesn’t require any special skills or knowledge of technique and works just as well for adults, kids, and older people.
(6) Walking is not limited to your neighborhood either; you can walk in a park, take a stroll around the lake or even climb some stairs if you are tired of walking on flat surfaces.
(7) You can easily walk while doing other activities such as watching TV, reading a book, or even working on your computer. Take for instance you are watching TV and get too engrossed in what’s happening, just take a stroll around the room and after some time go back to your original position. This way you will be able to keep tabs on any commercials or concession ads and at the same time work out a bit.
Walking is an Easily Accessible form of Exercise
(1) Walking is also good for people with an active lifestyle who can’t seem to find enough time to get their exercises in but still want to remain fit. If you are doing other things such as jogging or biking, just walk whenever you can; for instance, if you are riding a bike in the park, just get off and start walking after some time. This will help to keep your body fit while at the same time giving it enough rest.
(2) Walking is also not likely to cause any stress on your joints and muscles especially if you are doing it with the right gear. Light exercises such as lifting weights or push-ups can put too much strain on your joints but walking is a simple motion that puts little pressure on your body while still giving it an effective workout.
(3) Walking isn’t a high-risk activity; in fact, it is one of the least risky forms of exercise you can engage in and still gain useful results. Walking will not only keep your heart healthy but also reduces the chances of developing osteoporosis or arthritis among others.
(4) Walking is an excellent way to get a handle on your weight especially if you are overweight as it helps you to lose extra pounds without putting your body through the rigors of some other forms of exercise.
(5) Walking is also a mentally calming activity as it engages all parts of the brain during an exercise. It reduces anxiety, lifts up spirits, and improves memory; this helps you stay focused on what’s ahead and not get distracted.
Walking or Running?
Walking exercise for weight loss has similar health benefits to running. However, running is better for weight loss as it helps you burn more calories. Actual data prove that running can burn up to 2,5 times more calories than walking. A 75 kg person running 8 mph would burn over 600 calories per hour compared to about 300 calories walking at 3.5 mph.
Still running is a high-impact exercise. High-impact workouts can be harder on your body than low-impact exercises like walking.
Yet, both forms of exercise contributed significantly to the number of calories burned. Increasing the intensity of your walk or change your walking routes with hills or slight inclines will help you burn even more calories.
Walking Maintains Muscle Mass
Whether an exercise burns fat or muscle is not a product of the specific exercise. Any exercise can burn muscle. The key factor for our body to use fat or muscle mass as an energy source is a result of the nutritional intake prior to the exercise as well as the duration of the exercise performed.
In the case that you perform an exercise in a fasted state, meaning you haven’t eaten for more than 8 hours and you walk, run or swim for more than 20 minutes, it is likely that you will begin to burn more muscle than fat. The level of intensity is also important to determine whether the muscle is burned.
In the general healthy population, muscle breakdown from walking is unlikely to take place because there are enough alternative sources of stored energy in our bodies for fuel. Glucose resulting from the process of digesting carbohydrates is the body’s preferred first source of energy. After that, the body turns to fat which is the backup source, in the form of lipids or fat cells. Usually, the fat-burning process kicks in after 20 minutes of moderate/high-intensity cardio exercise. After that, if your body is in a state of undernourishment, it may begin breaking down lean muscle mass for energy.
When people cut their calories intake in order to lose weight, they often lose some muscle in addition to body fat. While weight loss reduces your metabolism, walking can help you reduce the drop in metabolic rate that often occurs with weight loss, making your results easier to maintain.
Walking is a Belly Fat Burner
Excess belly fat apart from making your waistline bigger, it also raises blood sugar levels and increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease or even diabetes. In extreme cases, excessive belly fat is also linked to colorectal cancer, breast cancer, dementia, and stroke.
However, belly fat can be readily broken down and used as energy by your body. Is the form of fat that responds fast to cardiovascular exercises. Brisk walking is a low-impact moderately intense cardiovascular activity. It gently increases your heart and breathing rates and doesn’t put excessive stress on your joints.
Studies conducted at the University of Virginia show that taking 3 fast-paced short walks a week and 2 slower-paced longer walks for 5 days a week can help cut up to 2 inches off your waistline and shed up to 8 pounds in only 16 weeks without dieting.
Walking is a Mood Booster
Walking can play a major role in your overall mood as it helps to boost endorphins. Endorphins are the “feel‐good” chemicals in the brain that cause the feeling of euphoria.
Studies have proven that walking may help to lift your mood more than running. In research, walkers reported feeling better than their running counterparts not only after completing the exercise but while doing it as well. 20 minutes of moderate-intensity exercises, such as walking, has been found to be enough to boost your energy and lift your mood for as much as 12 hours.
A range of studies has proven that walking can also help in the fight against depression, make you feel more confident and healthier, and even improve your ability to complete daily tasks. All these elements can help to lift your mood and fight depressive symptoms.
Another benefit of outdoor walking on a regular basis is the increase in vitamin D levels. A deficiency of vitamin D has been linked with an increased risk of depression.
How Long to Walk Each Day for Weight Loss
The majority of people who lose weight end up gaining it all back. However, regular exercise is very important in weight loss maintenance.
Incorporating more walking into your day can help you increase the amount of exercise you do and contribute to your daily activity goals. Walking regularly can help you increase the amount of energy you burn on a daily basis.
A brisk walk of 30 to 90 minutes most days of the week is ideal for weight loss. The walking time can vary, but the total time for the week should be at least 150 minutes.
Exercising at a moderate intensity zone at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate is a key factor for weight loss. You should be breathing harder than usual while can speak in full sentences. It is preferable for achieving fat-burning to walk at a brisk pace for longer than 30 minutes at a time after warming up.
If you’re getting started you can start with shorter periods of walking and steadily build up your walking time. You might want to take long walks at a slower pace every other day at first.
Don’t skip more than one day in a row. Consistency is key for improving your metabolism and burn fat. If you’ve hit your weight loss goal and are working on maintaining your weight, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends you should spend 60 to 90 minutes most days of the week in moderate-intensity physical activity while not eating more calories than you expend all day.
How to Incorporate More Walking Into Your Lifestyle
The latest research shows that sitting too much is more dangerous than smoking—and 30- to 60-minutes of exercise a day isn’t enough to counteract it.
Doing more exercise than walking for around 2.5 hours per week at a brisk pace, has additional health benefits and reduces your risk of disease even further. There are many ways to increase the amount of walking you do and achieve this target.
- Use a fitness tracker and log your steps to motivate yourself to move more.
- Stand up or walk for all phone calls.
- Make a habit of taking a brisk walk on your lunch break or after dinner.
- Invite friends for walks instead of coffee or lunch. You’ll burn calories instead of consuming them.
- Walking with a friend can help you build a stronger relationship with him.
- Take a walking meeting with a colleague, instead of meeting at your desk.
- Walk to work. If it’s too far, park your car further away and walk the rest of the way.
- Try picking new and challenging routes to keep your walks interesting.
Every little bit helps, so start small and try to gradually increase the amount you walk daily.
How to start walking
(1) Get your body used to walk by doing it for about ten to fifteen minutes at a time without putting too much strain on yourself; gradually increase the duration and length of your walk as you get more comfortable. If you are up for some real challenges, use stairs instead of the elevator to your office and walk up the whole height of the building. This will ensure that you are getting a good workout.
(2) Once you start walking, don’t make it too hard for yourself by setting unrealistic goals; this is not where you want to start competing with others but just get in shape. Take your time and be comfortable with the activity before you start to notice any changes in your body.
(3) Choose a place that is clean, safe, and not busy for walking. This way you can stay alert in case of sudden occurrences in your vicinity.
(4) Avoid harsh weather conditions as this is not the best time to start walking. It’s better to wait for a day or so when the weather is cool and calm than end up in some hospital with an injury or two.
(5) Don’t be lazy; if there are parts of your body that seem resistant or unwilling to cooperate, just get into the habit of walking that part more. If your stomach feels you need to lose weight, walk for it more than your legs.
Walking is simple
(6) There are no complicated instructions to follow and unlike some other forms of exercises, you won’t require too much gear or equipment.
A pair of good shoes or boots and a reasonable amount of determination is all that you will need to start walking on your weight loss journey.
(7) If it’s cold outside, just put on more clothes and wrap yourself up. Wear a hat, sunglasses, and anything else that will make you feel comfortable during your outdoor walk. This is important as you want to enjoy the view and feel relaxed instead of shivering with cold.
(8) Walking is a form of physical activity that can be done almost anywhere, so carry some water along if you are going out for one in warm weather conditions; this will help keep your body hydrated and avoid dehydration which can cause dizziness among other symptoms.
(9) Walking as part of your diet isn’t a good idea if you are trying to lose weight; it should be the foundation of your weight loss routine. However, if you want to drop a few pounds really quickly, then think about cutting down on your calorie intake instead and use walking to burn off the extra calories.
(10) Focus on weight loss by trying a combination of dieting along with walking. This will help you lose your unnecessary fat at a faster rate.
You Still Need to Watch What You Eat
Exercise is key for weight loss, however, eating habits are even more important. Healthy eating with daily exercise is the secret to success. If you have increased your walking and the weight still going up, you need to pay attention to what you are eating. You need to consume fewer calories and follow a healthy diet. A diet that consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and a moderate amount of unsaturated fats every day. This along with frequent exercising can help you avoid extra weight gain and maintain a healthy weight.
Walking doesn’t have to be boring or time-consuming as some other forms of exercise. It gives you the freedom to choose your own pace and is suitable for almost all age groups; it’s a low-impact form of exercise that can enhance your overall health.
Walking is a moderate-intensity exercise that is very beneficial to your health. It is accessible by almost everyone and can be easily incorporated into your daily life.
Walking more often can help you boost your metabolism thus losing weight and belly fat. It boosts your mood through endorphins and increases vitamin D levels in your body.
If you want to lose weight, combine physical activity with healthy changes to your diet.