For many people, the struggle to lose weight is an all-too-present issue. Whether you’re trying to lose a few pounds to fit into your clothes better or you have a massive amount of weight you want to shed, it always seems like it’s a process that you can never finish.
When looking for ways to start getting thinner, most people think that they have to start a high-intensity workout or gym routine. However, the reality is that you can lose pounds by doing something as simple as walking.
As it turns out, walking is beneficial for your health in a myriad of ways. Today we’re going to be discussing how you can incorporate walking into your life, as well as the kind of impact it can have on both your body and your waistline.
Get your walking shoes on, and let’s get started.
The Benefits of Walking
Although we’re talking about weight loss, it’s also imperative to discuss the other benefits that can come from walking. Since this is one of the easiest forms of exercise you can do, we highly encourage you to start walking more as a means of getting healthy. While losing pounds can be beneficial to your body, it’s far from the only thing you should be trying to do with walking.
Strengthen Bones and Muscles
Even though walking is considered “low-impact,” the act itself is incredibly restorative. Since many of us don’t get much physical activity during the day, you can make some significant changes to the way you feel when you start walking. Moving and exercising your muscles will force them to work harder and it will ensure that they don’t get tired and sore as easily.
Improve Your Mood
When you start moving your body, it releases a lot of different hormones and chemicals to help you feel good. Not only that but when you do healthy things for yourself, you feel better about your actions. Instead of regretting your time spent at home doing nothing, you can be proud of your accomplishments for the day when you walk.
On top of that, walking helps you get more air into your bloodstream, which has restorative effects on your brain. When we sit or lounge around for most of the day, it has a negative impact on our overall mood. Even just a few minutes of walking outside can reverse these symptoms.
Improve Your Heart and Other Organs
You have to remember that the heart is a muscle like any other. As such, you have to work it out for it to get stronger and healthier. Although your heart works harder than any other organ in your body, you’re not likely putting it through enough strenuous activity to give it the boost it needs.
When you walk, you can increase your heart rate and get your blood pumping more easily. Doing this will ensure that your organs get more oxygen delivered to them, which can make you feel more energized.
What Science Says: Walking and Weight Loss
To lose weight, you have to be eating fewer calories than you’re burning. Unfortunately, many people lead sedentary lives, which means that the amount of physical activity they do is substantially less than what they’re putting into their bodies.
According to research, you should expect to burn about 500 calories a day from your current diet if you hope to lose a pound a week. While there are plenty of other factors that can influence weight loss, this is a good baseline from which to start.
So how does walking fit in? Well, if you walk for about 30 minutes a day at a brisk pace, you can expect to burn around 150 calories.
This may not seem like much, but the impact of walking is all about your current situation and environment. For example, if you don’t do any physical activity, then walking can help you start on the path to a healthier, fitter you.
How Much Walking is Enough?
Technically speaking, any amount of walking is good for your body, so you shouldn’t discount it just because you’re not shedding pounds as quickly as you’d like. That being said, you should try to incorporate between 20-60 minutes of walking every day if you want to start losing weight.
However, the amount of time isn’t what’s most important. Instead, you should focus on the intensity of your workout if you want to make a significant change to your waistline. For example, a leisurely stroll through the park isn’t going to do as much as a brisk pace going up and down stairs.
When it comes to the different factors that can influence your ability to lose weight by walking, here are the most common elements to pay attention to.
- Current Exercise Level
- Current Weight
According to most physicians and nutritionists, any exercise you do can be undone by overeating. While you will still get a lot of health benefits from physical activity, you won’t be able to lose weight if you’re consuming far more than you’re burning.
How to Incorporate Walking Into Your Life
Overall, if you want to maximize your weight loss, you should focus on creating a comprehensive plan that involves a leaner diet and more exercise. Although the latter can have more of a profound effect on your weight, physical activity is necessary if you want to get your body into shape.
Unfortunately, for many of us, the idea of working out or walking regularly seems like a chore. Thus, we want to provide you with some helpful tips that can get you on the right path, both literally and figuratively.
Buy Comfortable Shoes
If you’re trying to walk in shoes that aren’t meant for activity, you will likely develop sores and blisters on your feet. Instead, you should find a comfortable pair of shoes that will be both snug and supportive during your whole routine. If you plan on walking at work, then plan on bringing them to the office and changing shoes accordingly.
Wear Comfortable Clothes
Although this isn’t quite as crucial as your footwear, wearing the right apparel can make a difference. If you’re wearing something bulky or restrictive, then it can make you feel uncomfortable while walking. On the one hand, working up a sweat can be beneficial for weight loss, but you want to be sure that you’re not overdoing it.
Focus on clothing that is both loose and breezy. Depending on the intensity level of your walk, you will want to be able to cool off afterward. If you’re wearing a heavy coat or sweatshirt, it will be much harder to do so.
Plan a Route
Walking without any sense of direction can be a bad idea. Overall, it can be disorienting and frustrating, especially if you don’t have a plan for getting back to your starting point. Not only that but it will be harder to figure out how many calories you’re burning if you don’t have a specific distance to measure.
If you’re just starting with a physical routine, then you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew. A helpful way to begin is to pick a destination (like the store) and then walk to it. You can choose to retrace your steps on your return trip, or you can try to weave through different streets or trails to get back so that the environment isn’t the same.
Once you’ve begun to get used to the activity, then you can plan a route that’s farther away. For example, you may start with a destination that’s a quarter of a mile, then move up to one that’s half a mile away.
If possible, create a few different routes. Doing this will ensure that you don’t get bored of the same old routine, and it can also be incorporated into your daily life. If you walk to the corner store, you can pick up household items to bring back, making your walk even more productive.
Start Walking Everywhere
Depending on where you live, walking may or may not be a part of daily life already. In some areas, you have to drive to any new location because walking just isn’t feasible. However, you can easily incorporate more physical activity if you change your mindset and see what you can do when you’re limited to just walking.
When you want to go to lunch, see what you can walk to in time to get back. Try parking farther away and walking to and from work. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Overall, rather than choosing the path of least resistance, start challenging yourself to get exercise wherever and whenever you can.
Plan for Weather
Walking when it’s nice and sunny is a breeze, but what happens if it’s raining or snowing? In that case, you can either stay inside and use a treadmill (if you have access to one), or you can bundle up and head out anyway.
We highly recommend the latter approach as it will inspire you to continue on your path to weight loss. It’s too easy to give up just because the weather isn’t cooperative, so you have to stick with it regardless of how it looks outside.
When it comes to losing weight, walking can be a great starting point on your journey to a thinner you. If you want to ensure that you get the results you deserve, then plan on increasing your intensity and duration.
Nonetheless, even if you’re not dropping pounds that fast, walking is a great way to make your body and mind feel better. Once you start walking regularly, you will see a lot of different benefits, not just a reduced waistline. So get out there and start walking!