On Dec, 10 2020
Walking for weight loss is one of the easiest ways to incorporate exercise into your weight loss routine. A little creativity can make your walks interesting and fun while you not only lose weight but tone your muscles and lose fat. And when you power up any exercise with diet, you will help your body lose weight quickly while you gain incredible energy.
Many exercise physiologists prefer their clients walk instead of jogging or running. Walking is safer for the joints and easier to follow through with and can help tone your entire body. It can be an enjoyable experience that most will follow through with, even on the days, they don’t feel like exercising. With that being said, here are some tips and guidelines to help when you walk for weight loss.
1. Getting Started
If you are new to exercise or walking, begin slowly. You can ease into daily or near-daily walks over time. Strive to walk every other day, for at least 15 minutes and build from there. Try walking longer until you can maintain 60 minutes of walking at least five days a week. If an hour doesn’t fit into your schedule, try two 30 minutes walk each day; once before your day begins and one to end your day. No matter how you begin, make a commitment to at least three times a week, because being consistent helps improve metabolism for more efficient weight loss. Using a Fitness app like Yes.Fit you can choose from several different races varying in distance, holding yourself accountable by logging your miles and knowing that you get an awesome reward at the end.
You don’t need a lot of fitness gear for walking, but a good pair of shoes will help keep your feet and legs comfortable. Injuries or overuse pain can happen, even when walking, so look for shoes that are padded with a comfortable arch that fits your foot. Investing in a good pair of athletic socks can help you avoid blisters and other painful spots on your feet when you’re just beginning, too.
3. Indoor vs Outdoor
Whether you walk indoors or outdoors, switching it up will keep you from getting bored. Find a local gym where you can use a treadmill on the days you want to walk indoors or invest in a home treadmill for convenience. Walk outdoors early in the morning or evening as a way to relax, reduce stress and breathe in the fresh air. Morning walks will expose you to sunshine to help your body make Vitamin D, a necessary nutrient for strong bones. Walk indoors on days when it’s too hot to walk outside or if there is poor air quality. If you exert yourself on walks, be extra careful about where you walk and keep in mind that indoor walking can protect your lungs from contaminants like pollution or pollen.
4. How Long Should I Walk?
Once you have conditioned yourself to walk for longer than 30 minutes, go for 60-90 minutes for at least four days a week. According to research from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who lose weight and keep it off participate in moderate-intensity physical activity while keeping their calories in check. (1)
If you have more energy and prefer brisk walking over moderate, reduce the time you walk. This will help you avoid injury but still help you lose weight. In fact, many fitness gurus claim that brisk walking for 30 minutes twice a day will get you in shape quicker than one, moderate hour-long walking workout.
Many people make the mistake of consuming more calories after they begin a workout routine. The lower intensity of walking as exercise will help counteract this natural instinct. But you still have to manage diet when trying to lose weight, and remember to pay attention to the number of calories you eat as well as the quality.
Choose a healthy diet that provides high energy nutrition that won’t weigh you down. Center each meal around healthy, organic produce with unprocessed proteins like salmon, turkey breast and grass-fed beef. Round out your diet with organic, whole grains for balance. Clean eating helps you feel better and will help you reach your weight loss goals quicker.
6. Intensify Your Routine
Kick up your walking routine a notch with intensity. There are a number of ways to do this whether you work out at home or the gym. One method favored by fitness trainers is to incorporate two strength training days each week, on the days you don’t walk. This will help you balance your cardio workout with weights for all-over fitness and tone.
7. Intensify your walk with interval walking.
One study from the University of Virginia found that obese women who used a mixed routine lost more fat than those whose routine involved low-intensity walking, five days a week. The mixed routine consisted of low-intensity walking two days a week and moderate to high intensity with a walk-jog routine three days each week. This is an easy tweak to make to improve body composition.
8. Circuit training is another way to intensify your routine. Many parks offer equipment along trails where you can do push-ups, squats, and sit-ups to condition muscles. At home, try walking for two or three minutes then get off the treadmill and do a set of squats. Walk on your treadmill for another two to three minutes and get off to do a set of push ups. This type of workout promotes the weight loss benefits of walking and the conditioning of resistance training for an overall body workout.
9. Add weights to your walking routine.
Walking with weights will increase your heart rate and tone your muscles quicker. Choose weights that wrap around your ankles or hand weights that are easy to carry. In both cases, pay attention to your form, since it changes your weight distribution.
Begin with one-pound weights, because they quickly become heavy after walking for just a few minutes; and choosing weights that are too heavy are the biggest mistakes that lead to injury. So, keep your balance, begin small and build those muscles.
10. Walking in a hilly area can greatly intensify your walk while increasing cardio and adding resistance to your leg muscles. In fact, walking uphill can be so intense that most people can reduce their workout time from 60 to 30 minutes and get the same, or even better weight loss results.
No matter how you walk, just like any exercise, check with your doctor before beginning. Keep good form to avoid injury and be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet so all your hard work pays off.
1 Rena R Wing, Suzanne Phelan, Long-term weight loss maintenance, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 82, Issue 1, July 2005, Pages 222S–225S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/82.1.222S