Walking For Weight Loss

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You might have heard that walking is healthy and helpful for weight loss.

I’m gonna explain the benefits of walking and why it makes sense to add it to your weight loss plan.

And at the end, I’m going to include a couple of important warnings so that you make sure that you do walking right. And I’m gonna include a tip for people who are trying to maximize their fat burn.

Hi, it’s Ivana, helping you get fit healthy and strong at any age.

Nutrition Works More Than Exercise

Let’s start with a really important point. You can’t out exercise a bad diet.

Most of us don’t have enough hours in the day to burn off tons and tons of calories.

The majority of your weight loss result is going to come through your nutrition.

Adding Walking Supports Weight Loss

But I still think it’s really important to add walking in order to enhance those effects.

There’s one interesting study where they found that walking combined with caloric restriction enhanced the outcomes and especially the long term outcomes, because a lot of people, when they get on a fitness regime, they get very excited and they might go to the gym every day, but it’s not sustainable. Whereas adding a half an hour walk every day is sustainable for most people.

Why Walking Is Amazing!

The great thing about walking is that most people can do it.

There’s a very low barrier to entry. Even someone who’s carrying a lot of extra weight or someone who’s in their seventies or eighties can benefit from walking. Now, there are some really intense exercise routines that burn off to a ton of calories. If you’re doing hit training or something like that, or just some really intense exercise programs, but only fit people can really benefit from those. And even fit people will find it a struggle after a while. It’s sometimes hard to stay motivated for that type of plan.

Walking is something that we should all be doing on a regular basis. Anyway, we need to be moving more. And while exercise itself, even walking is not as effective as dietary change for weight loss. There are still so many benefits that can enhance your weight loss process.

Sedentary & Overweight Population Issues

And let’s also remember that right now, about 69% of Americans or either overweight or obese, and they don’t do the recommended amount of exercise I’m using US data because there tends to be a lot of it.

Physical Activity Recommendations

That’s where a lot of the research comes from. More than 60% of US adults do not engage in the recommended amount of physical activity. And what’s recommended is 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise over the course of a week.

It’s actually not that much. It would be 30 minutes, five days a week, or you could do a couple, one hour sessions on the weekend, and then you just need to squeeze in a couple of 15 minutes. Ideally you are active every day. And about one quarter 25% of us adults are not physically active at all. So just adding, walking on a regular basis would make a big impact on a population level, but no matter where you are currently on your fitness journey, walking can be helpful, just incorporating more walking and particularly brisk walking can make a big difference for the vast majority of people.

I work from home and there are days when I don’t do a lot of walking. And I know from experience that when I walk more, I feel better. I feel less stiff. I feel more energetic.

A body at rest tends to stay at rest and a body in motion tends to stay in motion. And most of us could benefit from more motion.

Benefits Of Walking

So let’s look at some of the specific benefits of walking. And then I’ll talk about how you can incorporate it most effectively into your routine.

Walking improves your circulation and your breathing. And for people 65 and older, it’s been shown to reduce mental decline. It also builds bone density and it improves your sleep.

We don’t get enough sleep and we don’t get enough quality sleep. So if you’re improving your sleep, you’re gonna improve everything. It’s a key part of your lifestyle that a lot of people often ignore walking can definitely improve your health.

It’s been shown that being sedentary can increase your cardiovascular risk factors, so cholesterol and blood pressure.

So here’s how to make sure that you get the most benefit from walking.

Walking Outdoors

Walking outdoors can be particularly beneficial for improving your mood. I definitely feel that little mental lift when I’m outside walking.

Walking At The Same Time Every Day

Walking at the same time every day can be helpful as well.

The key to success with weight loss in the long term is consistency. So if you set a particular time that you’re gonna walk every day, then you’re more likely to do it.

My husband has recently started a really great habit when he drops our son off to school, he goes for a half an hour walk before he starts his Workday. And that’s a great way for him to fit that extra exercise and movement into his day. So whether it’s first thing in the morning or later in the evening, it’s really whatever works best for you, but try to keep it consistent.

Walking After Eating

Walking after eating can be a really good habit to get into walking after a meal can be helpful for digestion and reducing acid reflex. So maybe you take a 15 or 20 minute walk after your lunch. If you’re meeting a friend or colleague, you can walk together. It can be really refreshing in the middle of your day and kind of keep you more energized.

Walk With Someone

Walking with a friend or family member can be a good habit, because if you are also doing it with somebody, you’re more likely to stick to that practice. If you both encourage each other, you’re more likely to be successful. So rather than just telling yourself that you’re gonna walk more, it’s best to do it at the same time and have a specific plan. It’s more about building the habit of an active lifestyle rather than measuring how many calories you’re burning off.

How Many Calories Can You Burn Walking?

Although you will be burning some calories.

So how many calories can you burn?

I’ve seen a general rule of thumb that says you burn off about a hundred calories for a mile for an 180 pound person. So maybe in a half an hour walk, you’ll burn off 150 calories. If you’re slightly lighter, you’ll burn off less. If you’re heavier, you’ll burn off slightly more. Also, if you’re going a bit faster, you’re gonna burn off slightly more calories. Now, theoretically, if you burn off an extra 250 calories a day, you would be losing half a pound per week. So let’s say you’re taking those 30 minute walks each day, then that’s 150 calories. And if you do just a slight dietary modification, just something very minor where you’re reducing your calorie intake for that day by a hundred calories, then that adds up to 250 calories a day.

And you’ll be losing that half a pound a week with very little effort.

Some Warnings About Starting A Walking Program

And now a couple of important warnings gradually increase your walking.

So if you’ve been completely sedentary, don’t start walking an hour to two hours every single day without fail. It sounds like a great thing to do and people get really excited, but if you’re putting too much strain and you don’t give those tissues a chance to recover, you can end up with plantar fasciitis, which is quite painful, or you can end up with like ankle pain or hip pain or knee pain. So you wanna build yourself up gradually.

Obviously, if you’re already a very fit person and you’ve been working out and you’re just adding walking, then that’s fine. But if you’ve been completely sedentary and you’re carry quite a lot of extra weight, take your time and do this gradually, you can start off with just a 15 minute walk each day.

And that’s enough. The main thing is that you get yourself moving.

Walk Regularly

It is better to do shorter, walks more frequently than going for a two hour walk. And then just being sedentary all week. Your body responds better when it’s given time to recover in between. So make sure that you’re allowing recovery and you’re not pushing yourself too much all at once.

Wear Supportive Shoes

Make sure you have comfortable supportive shoes. So this is not the time to break out the stilettos and go for an hour walk. I’m not sure that most people would do that, and it’s probably not possible, but make sure that your shoes are decent, that they have some arch support, if that’s what you need, or at least some support so that you know that you’re gonna be comfortable during a longer walk. You don’t necessarily need a ton of cushioning if it fits you properly.

But if you’re like me and you need orthotics, then it’s important to make sure that you’re wearing those orthotics on your walks.

Increasing Fat Burn With Walking

Once you get good at this walking thing, you can increase the intensity of course, but you can also try working at different levels.

So you can try hiking, which is something that I love to do. It’s a little bit more challenging and it’s a little bit more fun. You’re almost doing step-ups and you’re gonna get more stimulation for different parts of your body. You’ll feel your glutes a little bit more and your quads, perhaps calves as well. You’re gonna feel different parts moving. It’s a lot more stimulating and you’re gonna burn more calories.

Putting Together A Walking Plan

I think it’s helpful to do a mix of some flat walking and some incline walking, just so you have that variety incline walking, either outside. If you have an area where you can do that, or even on a treadmill, it’s a good way to increase the intensity and burn some more calories with your walking. Having different levels increases the difficulty for your leg muscles. And you’re gonna feel that you’re pushing yourself a bit more.

Then you can get the most out of your walking plan for weight loss.

Ivana Chapman

 

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 8-year-old boy. She is a YouTuber, writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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