Walking for Weight Loss
People think that only the most intense cardio workout will lead to weight loss. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise yet it is very effective for weight loss.
It is a low-impact activity that anyone can do, requiring only a pair of comfortable shoes. If you are overweight and have been leading a sedentary lifestyle, walking is a wonderful way to start your weight loss program.
Dietary changes to consume fewer calories is an effective way to lose weight but health experts agree that physical activity and exercise such as walking is important for good health. Walking is not only good for weight loss but it will help maintain your ideal weight over the long term.
Why Walk for Weight Loss?
Unless you are physically disabled, walking is something you do naturally. It does not require special coordination skills. This makes walking the ideal exercise for people who want to lose weight. Just get a good pair of sneakers and you’re ready to go.
While many people today are walking for weight loss, there are also other benefits that you will enjoy from this form of exercise.
Walking works the body’s major muscle groups. It helps burn calories, lowers your blood pressure, and elevates the heart rate. Walking is a low-impact cardio exercise that leaves you feeling more energized.
Start Walking Today
There’s no better time to start walking for weight loss than now. Some people like to exercise in the morning but afternoon workouts may be best for most people. Our bodies tend to become more flexible later in the day, reducing the chances of injury.
Fitness experts recommend that you walk at least 30 minutes a day, four or five times a week.
Your initial goal is to walk 20 to 30 minutes at least three times a week. If you are extremely overweight or in poor shape you may be able to walk for only a few minutes. Don’t feel bad or discouraged.
Instead, focus on increasing your walk by a few minutes until you are walking the full 30 minutes. You should notice an improvement in your fitness level after about 4 weeks.
You should be able to carry on a conversation easily as you walk, especially if you are a beginner.
Kick It Up a Notch
After a month or so, you’ll be ready to walk a little faster. Increase the length of your walks as well as the frequency. Walk four to five times a week for faster weight loss.
You can make one or more of those walks 45 to 60 minutes long. Take short, quick steps rather than longer strides to minimize the impact on your joints.
Intensify Your Workout
More intense walking will help you manage your weight loss more easily. It will also improve your cardiovascular fitness and lower the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
Walk 5 to 6 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. Include a longer walk whenever you can. As your fitness level increases, you can try high intensity intervals. Walk at top speed for about a minute, and then walk at a slower pace for 3 minutes.
Repeat this interval 4 to 8 times on your walk. You can also intensify your workout by walking uphill, on grass, or sand.
Keep in mind that walking for weight loss is more effective when coupled with a healthy diet. Maintain your physical activity and you’ll be able to keep the weight off.