You can lose weight by walking, and this is the perfect time of year to get started!
You should know that safe and permanent weight loss requires a combination of healthy diet and exercise. Many coaches and trainers often recommend walking as a low-impact introduction to regular exercise, but can you lose weight and get fit simply by walking?
Yes, you can. But there are conditions and walking may not be your best “cardio” choice for the long run.
Losing weight by walking is easy and convenient
Other than comfortable shoes, you don’t need equipment to get started and no expensive membership required. You can walk whenever your schedule permits or incorporate walking into your normal schedule, walking to work, school or during breaks and lunchtime. Walking is a simple, flexible type of exercise and very effective for many walkers. No training required.
If you are walking for weight loss, you can do so without sweating in the gym. Fitness walking is a gentle, low-impact activity for weight loss. Start out slowly at a steady pace and gradually increase until you reach a brisk pace. If you can maintain this brisk pace, you can burn as many calories as when jogging or running. Brisk walking can provide the same positive benefits of running without the pounding stress and overuse injuries.
Walking requires the use of many large muscle groups and burns a surprising number of calories. You’ll burn about 220 calories for every 30 minutes you walk, the faster you walk, the more calories you’ll burn. The actual number of calories you burn depends on your actual body weight and your speed.
In addition to helping you lose weight, walking will help improve your posture, strengthen your heart and lungs, promote a healthy immune system, elevate your mood, and decrease your risk for various cancers, high blood pressure, strokes, type II diabetes, and help relieve stress.
Walking is great, and you can walk forever, but eventually you’ll have to walk longer, further and faster to achieve the same calorie burn. You body will adapt to just about anything you throw at it. When you first start walking you’ll tire soon and might be sore afterwards. The longer you train, the further you can walk each day before tiring.
To continue the adaptation, if your 30 minute walk burns 250 calories today, a month from now the same walk may only burn 240 calories. Your body adapts to the training and gets stronger (and leaner) and more efficient – doing the same work but while requiring fewer calories. To overcome this adaptation you must exercise longer, more often or more intensely to receive that same training effect.
Walking CAN help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals, just keep in mind that the more fit and leaner you get, the harder you’ll have to work to maintain that same level of calorie burn.
Dr Stacey McCoy is a Wife, Stepmom, Clinical Pharmacist, Certified Nutrition Coach, Marathoner , Amateur Triathlete Health Coach. She’s been a practicing pharmacist for 15 years and loves to see the change in clients lives when they experience a physical transformation with Beachbody Fitness and Nutrition