The Best Form of Exercise: Walking
Many people think that getting fit, losing weight, or shaping up requires herculean efforts in terms of limiting what you eat and how you work out. The reality is that you don’t have to sweat to exhaustion in order to see good results from your exercise efforts. In fact, walking, which many people consider to be “easy exercise,” is one of the best things you can do to lose weight and improve your cardiovascular fitness.
In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of walking for exercise. I’ll also provide a sample walking for weight loss program to get you started on your own journey to a fitter, slimmer future.
- Health Benefits of Walking
- How Much Walking to Lose Weight
- Tips to Get More From Your Walking Workout
- Sample Walking Plan For Weight Loss
Health Benefits of Walking
Walking is an ideal exercise for all ages, and a realistic option to transition out of physical inactivity. It is a good alternative to jogging and running as it helps to develop cardiovascular fitness with less risk of injury. Here are six reasons to take up walking for weight loss and cardiovascular fitness.
Walking is a safe, effective way to burn calories. The more calories you burn, the more likely you will be to get into a negative calorie state where your body is burning more calories than it is taking in. This forces the body to rely on stored body fat for energy.
The number of calories you burn from walking will depend on your speed, the type of terrain you’re walking on, and your weight.
Walking will strengthen your heart, making it pump blood more efficiently. According to the American Heart Association, walking for a minimum of thirty minutes daily can lower a person’s coronary heart attack risk by as much as nineteen percent.
Reduces Blood Sugar
Research suggests that walking after a meal will significantly reduce blood glucose levels. Timing matters here. Taking that walk fifteen minutes after eating has a far greater effect than doing so forty-five minutes after the meal.
Walking is an effective mood enhancer. Because it is less intense than jogging or running, walking can be more relaxing and enjoyable. It allows you to better take in your surroundings, enjoying and appreciating the beauty of nature.
Studies show that walking can help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and general feelings of negativity.
Relieves Joint Pain
Walking will lubricate your joints without the high impact of jogging or running. It will also increase blood flow to the knee, bringing in more oxygen and nutrients.
Walking will also allow you to gradually increase the strength of the muscles surrounding your knee joints. The stronger your vastus medialis muscle—that sits directly above your knee—is, the less strain there will be on your knee joint. In these ways, walking will help to relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
Enhanced Immune Function
The cardiovascular benefits that come with walking will improve your body’s immunity. As a result, you might be less likely to suffer from colds and flu in the wintertime. One study, involving more than a thousand people, showed that those who walked for thirty to forty-five minutes per day had, on average, forty-three percent fewer sick days than sedentary people during the flu season.
While walking for exercise will not develop bodybuilding competition-level quads, you will be able to strengthen and tone your lower body muscles when you follow a regular walking program. Walking on hilly terrain will allow you to develop your legs more than sticking to level ground.
Check out the latest research on whether physical activity can help prevent cancer.
How Much Walking to Lose Weight
The amount of weight you can lose by walking depends on your weight, the speed you’re walking at, and the type of terrain you are walking on.
A 154-pound person walking at a moderate pace of three and a half miles per hour will burn 280 calories in sixty minutes. By increasing to a pace of four and a half miles per hour, that same person will burn 450 calories in an hour.
In order to lose weight from walking, I recommend walking at a medium to fast pace for thirty to forty-five minutes at least five days per week. To speed up your fat burn, you should find areas to walk on that include some hilly terrain.
Tips to Get More From Your Walking Workout
- Wear thick socks and a stout pair of walking shoes with good heel and ankle support. This will help guard against blisters and sprains.
- Walk in well-lit areas that are pedestrian walkways.
- If walking late at night or early in the morning, wear a reflective vest.
- Wear light, loose clothing that is breathable.
- Carry a water bottle with you, and sip from it regularly.
- Slap on sunscreen to prevent sunburn.
Check out our review of Vionic Women Brisk Aimmy Walking Shoes.
Sample Walking Plan For Weight Loss
Here is a seven-day weight loss plan for people who want to lose weight safely and continually. If you are able to establish this program and maintain it, you can lose one to two pounds of body fat per week, provided that you combine it with a calorie-reduced diet.
What constitutes a brisk pace will change from person to person. However, most people should aim to walk at around four and a half miles per hour. On Saturday, the medium pace should drop back to around three and a half miles per hour.
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Walking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do to lose weight, improve your cardio fitness, and boost your overall well-being. As with all forms of exercise, the key to success with walking is regularity. If your goal is to lose weight, give our sample walking workout a try. It will allow you to safely and sustainably lose weight long term.
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