Walking is an interesting, highly beneficial activity that can efficiently help you improve your life, and overall health. Walking can even help you lose those extra body pounds that have brought disappointment and low self-confidence in your life for so long. The time to change your life and finally lose that extra weight has come and we highly recommend you to take on walking as a way to do that. So let’s go deep in all the ways that walking helps you lose weight and you can let yourself be convinced in its beneficial effects.
The health benefits of walking
Regular working out will bring numerous health benefits in your life, and it is highly recommended for each individual to peruse regular working out as a part of their everyday life. However, it is not uncommon for most people to skip on exercising due to their lack of time and busy day-to-day life.
For all of you out there who are making excuses that it is not the motivation that you are lacking, rather than time, we have one fun and easy to incorporate in your day-to-day life, activity – walking. You might be happy to learn that not only is walking a fun thing to do, but it is also highly beneficial, low-risk activity for our bodies, which is easily accessible for anyone (1).
Apart from the clean beneficial effects that walking has for your weight loss process, it has been suggested to have plenty of other health benefits as well. Walking is known as a weight-bearing exercise since you are carrying your own weight while you walk. Walking just 30 minutes a day has been shown to cause a decline of the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, osteoporosis, joint pain, muscle pain, and stiffness among many more (2, 3, 4).
Walking is also considered to improve one’s balance, strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of falling and common fractures, especially among older people. Improved mood and decreased feelings of anxiety, depression, and stress are some of the other well-known benefits of walking (5, 6). Walking increases the production and release of endorphins, as most workout methods do, and by doing so, it efficiently improves your mood.
Can you lose weight just by walking and how?
Now that you have read all about the numerous health benefits of walking as a day-to-day activity, let’s focus on what is really important regarding today’s article – the weight loss effects of walking. You should not be surprised to hear that walking helps you shed those extra body pounds, helping the weight loss process and actually preventing you to gain your lost weight back in a couple of days.
But the thing is that walking, like any workout, walking cannot bring magical results to life if other steps are not taken alongside. We would highly recommend pairing walking to a fulfilling, healthy, clean diet. If you have read anything about healthy weight loss then you know that most professionals swear that nutrition makes up 80% of the process, and working out only 20%. This means, that if you really like your weight loss to be successful, not only should you rely on walking, or any other workout form, but you also need to make the decision to start eating healthy and clean. But for now, let’s discuss how walking actually helps you lose those unwanted body pounds.
Walking helps you shred more calories than ever
It is a well-known rule that in order for weight loss to be achieved, more calories need to be burned. This means that the amount of calories that are being burned on a daily level needs to be higher than the number of calories that you intake on a daily level. For that, not only should you rely on a diet that allows you to feel full by introducing low-calorie foods in your life, but you also need to choose your workout plan very carefully (7).
What you might not know is that walking helps you burn more calories than you might think. According to scientific research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, walking a mile will help you burn approximately 100 calories (8). Of course, this number depends on your age, sex, physical preparedness, etc. but 100 calories is still a pretty high number that we cannot ignore. And another research published in 2012 found out that a brisk walk has helped non-athletes to burn approximately 90 calories per mile (9). Again, we are seeing some quite surprising numbers that definitely will bring a smile to anyone’s face who is trying to shed more calories than ever.
Walking burns your belly fat
Men and women all around the world are struggling to lose their belly fat, with women dealing with most of the concerns, due to their high estrogen and progesterone levels. On the other hand, the high testosterone levels in men prevent the build-up of belly fat, but there are still men who are struggling with this problem, especially in old age, due to their testosterone decline. Despite the fact that the woman’s body is storing extra belly fat as a way to protect and prepare itself for the upcoming pregnancy in life, belly fat still presents itself as a difficult problem that is ruining the body image and reducing the women’s self-confidence.
Well, men and women all around the world are in luck because they have aerobic exercises to lean on to for support. And can you guess what is one of the best aerobic exercises out there? If you thought of walking, then you are most certainly right! Aerobic exercises, ergo walking, has been scientifically proven to be able to shred the belly fat that has caused so much trouble (10). A study published in the Journal of Exercise, Nutrition, and Biochemistry in 2014 has discussed the effects of 50-70 minutes walk, three times a week, among women. The results were rather amazing, showing how in 12 weeks, walking has helped the participants to lose 1.5% of body fat and reduce their waist circumference by 2.8 cm (11).
Walking helps build up lean, strong muscles
A mistake that a lot of people do when they are trying to lose weight is taking on an extreme calorie deficit and tiring workouts that waste their muscles in the process of losing weight. Despite the fact that you might not be interested in lean, strong muscles, you should remember that muscles are more metabolically active than fat. What this means is that your muscles are burning more calories on a daily level. By building lean muscle, you are ensuring a healthy burn of calories that will help you maintain your weight and prevent any possible weight gain in the future.
While walking might not help you accomplish the same results as weight lifting in terms of muscle build-up, it will still help you build strong muscles and preserve your muscle mass and strength. It will also prevent the loss of muscle mass and strength which will positively reflect on your weight loss process.
Walking prevents gaining back the lost weight
Unfortunately for a lot of people, it is not the weight loss process that is hardest for them. A lot of people experience difficulties while they are trying to keep the lost weight away from them in the future. For this, of course, are the heavy, unhealthy diets that are to blame, that as soon as they are done, due to the lack of healthy eating habits, cause all of the lost weight to be gained back. But if you continue with your healthy eating habits, regular workouts, and mindfulness, even when your goal weight has been achieved, you have nothing to be afraid of really.
Look at it this way – perhaps for the weight loss purposes, you have undergone heavy cardio workouts, weight lifting, and what not five, even six times a week. So now that you have finally achieved your goal weight, you wonder if you should continue with the heavy workouts or should you choose another option. If you are satisfied with your results, you have to remember that you still need to continue working out regularly in order to maintain your new weight as a way to prevent future weight gain. One of the best ways to do so is by walking. If you are tired of going to the gym and want to try something new, then we highly recommend taking on walking as your new workout method. It has been estimated that in order to maintain a stable weight, the recommended hourly rate is around 150 minutes of walking each week (12). But for those who have recently lost weight and want to prevent any weight gain, it is recommended to take on at least 200 minutes walking per week for the best results (13).
How to make walking your new healthy habit?
There are a lot of ways that you can use to introduce more walking to your daily routine. Nowadays, there are many steps tracking apps that will track the time and calories that you have spent and burnt during walking each day and even compare with the previous days, weeks, months, etc. We would recommend setting your goal to around 10.000 steps per day and letting your phone remind you that you still need to work to achieve your daily goal.
If you have some time, try to walk after lunch and dinner. Taking an evening walk with your loved one, a family member, or a friend is also beneficial. And for all of you animal lovers, why don’t you get a dog that will keep you company, love you, and make you walk him/her three times a day, without any excuse? Try to avoid public transportation and your car as much as possible.
Walk your way up to school, university, work, and to the supermarket and any other errands that you have to complete for that day if that is possible of course. Create a walking group where you can invite your friends and family members to join in to stay healthy and lose weight efficiently by walking each day. You see, there are many ways that you can incorporate more walking in your daily life, the question is – how long will you search for excuses?
Strong cardiovascular system, muscles, bones, improved mood, and weight loss are just some of the great beneficial effects that come with around 200 minutes of walking per week. Nobody should miss out on the benefits of walking, especially not when they are trying to lose weight. This free, easily accessible, and healthy habit of yours will help you to improve your life, mental and physical health while helping you to lose those extra body pounds without a question.