Walking is not just an activity that gets us from point A to point B. It is also a great tool for exercising and staying fit. You do not need an expensive gym membership or a personal trainer to lose weight; you can do it completely free simply by walking and taking care of your diet.
Walking on a daily basis has many health benefits, and it is no wonder the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deemed it the most popular activity for staying in good shape in 2012.
How long should you walk to lose weight? Well, it depends on how many calories you need to burn. The more you walk, the more calories you burn, but have in mind that the intensity of walking is another important factor.
In this article, you will learn more about walking to lose weight and stay fit.
Some Tips to Get You Started
If you’re new to walking for weight loss, here are some useful tips which will come in handy:
- Do not forget to warm up first. Warming up is great for any exercise and that includes walking, even if you walk every day. It sets your body up for the exercise and gets your blood pumping. Start off by strolling at a comfortable pace before you increase speed.
- Keep your arms bent at 90 degrees so they are swinging naturally when you walk
- Leisure walking might be good for warm up, but your walk needs to be brisk. Try to achieve a speed of 3 miles per hour at the very least.
- Adding obstacles to your route can add to the intensity. Walking uphill is also much more challenging and burns more calories, but do not begin your routine with it.
- Avoid using weights. They are for strength exercises not walking.
- Stretch after you finish. Stretching is important both before and after an exercise.
Walking as a Method of Weight Loss
If you want to lose weight just by walking, you need to be serious about it. Leisure walks will not help you. Walking to lose weight takes time, so be persistent as the results will not show right away.
You need to walk for at least half an hour and up to an hour and a half most days of the week. The times can vary from day to day, but you should walk for at least two and a half hours total every week.
Try to do it regularly, as much as your schedule allows you. Skipping a day is fine, but try to avoid skipping more than one day. Keeping it up helps with burning calories consistently and improves metabolism.
When you are on your day off, you can try some other exercises like weight lifting. If you are tired, get some rest, but continue walking the next day.
In case you just started a walking routine, walk for shorter amounts of time at first and then gradually extend the sessions at your own pace. Try and walk more every day. You can break up the walking time into halves or thirds, but try to get to over the thirty-minute mark of brisk walking without pauses for the maximum calorie-burning effect.
During your walk, your heart rate should be at 60-70% of its maximum. Try to walk fast enough to achieve that. Your breathing will be more difficult than normal, but you should be able to speak proper sentences while walking. In this modern age, there are many devices which can help you read your heart rate (e.g. heart rate monitor, fitness band, or smartphone app).
Keeping the Weight Off
If you were wondering “how long should you walk to lose weight”, this article has already answered your question. To sum up – you should walk at least 30 minutes a day for a total of two and a half hours or more per week.
Regular walks will help you lose weight, but your fitness journey doesn’t end there. If you turn to a sedentary lifestyle the moment you reach your body goals, the weight you lost could come back with a vengeance.
This is why it is important to always keep exercising and eating healthy. To maintain a stable weight after losing a lot of extra pounds, the CDC recommends between sixty and ninety minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on a daily basis, most days of the week.
The Many Benefits of Regular Walking
Although walking is great for losing weight, it has many more benefits beyond just that. Here are some of the most prominent benefits of walking for at least thirty minutes a day:
- Improved mood – Any exercise is proven to improve the general mood of a person, as well as decrease stress. This is why exercise is recommended to people suffering from anxiety and depression. Exercise stimulates the brain to release hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, and that is why we feel relaxed and happy after a workout.
- Better digestion – If you have a problem passing, regular walks can assist with that too.
- Health risk reduction – Just walking every day can keep the doctor away. Research shows that it could help prevent arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and even some types of cancer.
- Increased creativity – According to a 2014 study, taking a short break from work and walking can improve your creative thinking and help you solve problems which seemed impossible to solve before.
- Lean muscle preservation – Losing weight actually has some unfortunate side effects. One of them is lean muscle loss. Any form of exercise, walking included, helps against muscle loss due to burning calories and losing weight. Also, exercise maintains muscle function and strength which counters age-related muscle loss.
In addition to all these great benefits, walking also helps you burn belly fat. Abdominal obesity is a health issue which affects men who have a waist circumference over 102 cm (40 inches) and women with a waist circumference of over 88 cm (35 inches).
Keep Walking and Stay Fit
To conclude, if you are struggling with weight loss or are trying to find a way to stay fit, you should know that simple brisk walks on most days of the week can help you achieve your goals.
If you are bored walking alone, you can call a friend and make it a fun way to spend time together and exercise at the same time. In fact, a 2017 study found that exercising in pairs helps you stay focused on your fitness goals. So when you need that extra push, just ask a friend to join you for a walk.