Walking for weight loss together with a healthy diet is a winning solution for your health and fitness.
It's possible for almost everyone. Over time it becomes an enjoyable habit that's hard to break.
Starting out with regular leisure walking may lead to fast walking, and, even if you're up to it, running.
The immediate benefit is it enhances your overall well-being.
Also, it is objective and measurable, and the progress can be motivating.
Understand that walking is not a fast track approach to losing weight. Weight is not going to drop off overnight. You won't lose 5 kilos in a week! But with consistency and and some dietary discipline it will work.
Becoming a vital part of a holistic, healthy lifestyle.
How to lose weight by walking
If you start with realistic expectations, you won't become one of the many quick quitters.
One of those who start with lofty goals and, after a few weeks, are back on the couch. Or one of the others who try to do too much, too quickly, get injured and give up.
When starting, it is essential to be sensible about your current level of fitness and general health.
A good start is 30 minutes a day. Build up slowly from a walk of 5 to 10 minutes until comfortable with 30 minutes
Don't do too much too quickly. Although walking is not too stressful on the body, it is possible to tweak a muscle.
Walking is one of the most liberating and enjoyable forms of exercise.
It can be done anywhere, at any time, and all that's required is a pair of comfortable shoes.
Shoes come in a wide range of designs with an ever more comprehensive range of specifications and prices.
Appropriate walking shoes provide the foundation for your body. They can help prevent injuries and make it far more enjoyable to log those miles. Ultimately, the right pair should fit comfortably from the start and complement your walking style.
Here are the critical decision points to help you find a shoe that fits and feels good:
- Consider where you're planning to walk. On the road, or trails and gravel paths? Your choices are road, trail or cross-training shoes.
- Decide if you want more or less cushioning underfoot. Cushioning—the thickness of material under the heel and midsole and the firmness of the foam.
- Know whether you need a specific type of support for your gait. Most people will choose a neutral shoe, but you may need a particular shoe or insert for you.
- Make sure the shoe is comfortable. Comfort is most important, especially when starting. Shoes should fit well from the start with no breaking-in period.
Today even shoes may be more than you need if you decide to follow the 'minimalistic' movement. The group that claims barefoot is best. Barefoot walkers believe that inappropriate shoes weaken the structure of the foot and even cause injuries.
So they believe in going "primal".
If you live in a place where you can do this, then try it. It needs some getting used to and toughening up but makes one feel like a barefoot kid again.
Walking uses many muscles in the legs, feet, and back.
Stretching both before and after a walk will ensure muscles stay flexible and supple. Done with a few minutes of dynamic stretching before walking and after a walk a static stretching routine.
People should stretch even if they do no other exercise and focus on breathing throughout the practices.
Stretches should not cause pain, and one should immediately stop if there is any position painful. In most cases, it is possible to modify a movement or posture to tailor it to the individual's level of flexibility.
Starting with walking for weight loss.
When deciding to start walking for weight loss, you need to make a plan. Finding answers to the questions: "What do I want to achieve?" "Where am I now?" and then "How will I achieve it?"
I also recommend;
- Keeping a record of your walks and other exercises,
- Buying one of the many fitness tracking wearables available on the market.
It's great for motivation to have a friend as an exercise partner. Who will ensure (or at least makes you feel guilty when you do!) that you both don't miss sessions. As cycles of motivation are often different – when you want to miss a session, they don't, and when they want to miss a session, you don't.
Set a goal
Another excellent motivation is to set an objective of taking part in an event in the future. Another great option is to do the weekly Park Run (or Walk).
ParkRun is a free to enter, 5km timed event where people (and sometimes their dogs) of all ages and abilities enjoy a safe and traffic-free route. These events vary in size—the small events with 30 or 40 people to events with a thousand or more sharing the experience. Whatever their size, friendly volunteers manage these "runs", ensuring the well-being of all participants.
Burning calories walking for weight loss
So how many calories will walking burn? As a rough estimate (it depends on your weight, speed and fitness), walking burns about 300 calories an hour. Or about half that of running.
It needs about 3 500 calories to burn a pound of fat. So you can easily calculate that you will have to walk for about 12 hours to lose a pound of fat!
The walking speed, fitness level and terrain will make a significant difference to the heart rate and the resulting calorie burn. You can get details here of the calories you'll burn with a wide range of sports, from aerobics to zumba, and day-to-day activities from housework to yardwork.
Walking to lose weight can be fun, social and enjoyable and just one element of a lifestyle changing weight loss and fitness plan.
It is something the whole family can do and enjoy. Time together, fresh air and improved health - what more could you ask for?