Did you know that walking three to six hours a week is a great way to burn fat and calories? Yes, this is great news and of course, summer is a great time to take in some good old-fashioned walking!
And I’d like to add that walking can also improve your overall health by reducing the risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and warding off cardiovascular disease. Studies show that people who walked on a regular basis lowered their risk of heart disease. Good news! You can also lower your blood pressure at the same time.
17 Benefits of Walking For Weight Loss
Walking adds very little stress to the body, so you can walk a whole lot as long as you wear good, supportive shoes and maintain an appropriate pace for your level of health. Daily walking not only helps you feel good, but it has vast healing benefits as well. Too good to be true, well here are some benefits of what a regular walking routine can do for you.
1. It’s Restorative
Walking is restorative to the whole circulatory system and the effects are immediate. I know I can feel the increased blood flow in my body when I take even a short, brisk walk.
2. Fat Burner
Walking burns a lot of fat and almost no muscle thanks to being a relatively low-intensity exercise. Studies show that walking at an even, brisk pace 4-8 hours a week can help burn a significant amount of body fat especially if your walking terrain has some gentle uphill sections.
3. Mental Stress Relief
Walking relieves mental stress and can be a great way to have some quiet time to ponder your life. I usually have a better outlook on life and feel rejuvenated after my daily morning walk. I enjoy this time to take in all the blessings from “mother nature” like the magnificent scenery, the trees and flowers, the singing birds, and butterflies.
4. Low-Impact Aerobics
Walking is low-impact so even if you have sensitive knees or back issues, you should be able to participate, and it might even help improve those conditions.
5. Waistline Trimmer
You can trim your waistline and maintain a healthy weight with a regular walking routine. This is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to reduce excess weight and keep it off. Get a walking buddy and you can talk and walk the weight off at the same time!
6. Stronger Core
As you use your muscles for walking you are building your coordination and balance with each step, especially those in your arms and legs. It also helps to build stronger bones and lower the risk of developing osteoporosis in your later years. Adding ankle weights provides added stress needed for bone building and weight loss.
Walking can be a great form of meditation and reduce high cortisol levels associated with weight loss resistance and the “belly bulge.” I enjoy being amidst nature with a hint of the early morning dew and sun peeking through the trees. It is an introspective time to reflect and calm my mind in preparation for the new day.
8. Fit and Firm
Walking helps to tonify and build strength, especially on your arms, legs and “derriere.” It is such a simple, yet effective way to get an all-around firm body. Add a set of push-ups and stomach crunches and you’re all set!
9. Breathing In
With every step, you are increasing your lung capacity and bringing more oxygen into your blood. This process helps every cell in your body to function at peak performance and release unwanted toxins.
10. More Vitamin D
Catch more sun rays while you walk and you will naturally increase your vitamin D levels. This nutrient can help you lose weight and lower body fat, especially around the midsection. Although vitamin D is essential to your overall health, studies show that, so many people are low in this nutrient. So, look to those sunny days to up your vitamin D!
11. More ZZZ’s
Regular walking can help you to relax and improve your quality of sleep and ability to stay asleep longer. Sleep is vital to your health and brain function which ultimately leads to better decisions, including food choices.
12. Inflammation and Joints
Over time, regular walking can have a positive effect on your joints. Walking can also help to reduce inflammation associated with arthritis. Keeping your joints fluid will have a direct impact on your ongoing activity levels.
13. Lightens Your Mood
Just one walk can improve mental health and uplift your mood. You can enhance your walking experience and connect with nature by practicing deep breathing exercises. The better you feel the more inclined you are to participate in social activities.
14. Stronger Immune System
Boosting your immune system with a consistent walking schedule helps to increase your natural killer cells. You may notice fewer sniffles and colds this winter season which will keep you at the top of your game!
15. Brain Performance
Walking supports mental clarity and cognitive function by keeping your brain neurons from shrinking. Keeping a regular walking routine might prove to be a smart idea!
16. Age Gracefully
Walking helps you to remain flexible and stable as you age which prevents the pitfalls associated with a sedentary lifestyle and loss of dexterity in your later years. As you age, you will benefit from keeping your blood sugar in check and a manageable weight to avoid any unnecessary stress on your body.
Studies show that walking not only increases your overall well-being, but it also extends your longevity. Most important you will feel better which adds to the quality of your life and more.
Whether you opt to take your daily walk alone or with a walking buddy, it can be mentally and physically rewarding. And, it can improve your well-being and weight loss efforts at the same time.
Walking is also a great way to just chill out or build strong relationships with new or existing people. Either way, you might lose weight and gain a friend one step at a time!
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Best Time to Walk
Timing isn’t super crucial when it comes to walking. If you just want to be fitter and healthier then walk whenever you can. The total duration doesn’t even have to be continuous. I tend to opt for parking my car a couple of blocks from my destination, especially in good weather or when I am too busy to dedicate an hour to my walks, to add some extra steps in my day.
If you want to burn fat, the best time to walk is in the morning before breakfast or right after a weight training workout.
Weight Loss and Exercise
If you’d like to lose weight, along with walking, make sure that you are also doing some strength training. Don’t wait until you lose weight. The longer you avoid strength training, the longer you are putting off easier weight loss and maintenance. Strength training is absolutely essential to losing weight, keeping a fast metabolism and a healthy body. Why?
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength-training helps by increasing muscle mass and bone density so if you are walking an hour every day, six days a week, it is a good idea to substitute a portion of your walking time with strength training to receive the maximum benefit from your overall exercise time.
What to eat to lose weight
Your body needs lots of clean, fresh water plus —protein, carbohydrates, and fat—in a healthy balance to maximize your walking weight loss.
Let me break it down for you:
Water for Performance
You need a minimum of 12 cups of water if you exercise, including walking. The extra fluid replaces what you sweat out and removes the body heat that you generate during exercise.
One of the major causes of fatigue, when you are out walking, may be due to dehydration so don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink up. I always carry at a 20-ounce bottle of water with me when I go out for my walks and sip 6-8 ounces every 20 minutes.
Protein for Muscle Strength
Protein helps to build and repair body tissue that might be damaged during exercise. But be careful not to overconsume it either as too much protein can put a strain on our kidneys and may also interfere with calcium absorption. In general, regular walkers need just 0.7 g of protein per pound of body weight each day.
Carbs for Weight Loss and Energy
Eating complex carbohydrates are found in the fibers and starches of plant foods are a great choice because they are lower in fat and higher in nutritional value than simple carbohydrates. So, think less sugar and starch and more fiber which in turn helps you fill up quickly gives you energy and keeps hunger away longer.
Fat for Endurance and Immunity
Fat is an essential nutrient for good health, vitamin absorption, brain function, and energy so be careful not to under-consume them instead of going overboard with simple carbohydrates, which is easy to do. Research shows that fat may increase your endurance and boost your immune system and a super-low-fat diet is not recommended for anyone who is actively exercising daily.
Vitamins and Minerals for Energy
Consuming less than the recommended levels of zinc and B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and vitamins B6 and B12 can lead to fatigue. So best to consider taking supplements to keep your energy levels high, along with eating a healthy, balanced diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables.
I recommend a great multi-vitamin and mineral supplement to my active clients. Twice Daily Multi™ contains optimal amounts of many nutrients not easily obtained in most diets. It uses higher quality ingredients than most multivitamins, including vitamin E as high gamma mixed-tocopherols, a highly bioavailable form of folate, and true amino acid chelated minerals for optimal tolerance and absorption.
Another great way to easily get your daily multivitamins plus lots more is through Twice Daily Essential Packets which takes all the guesswork out of taking a comprehensive array of nutrients. Instead of always checking schedules and doses, you can just carry two packs with you each day to take with breakfast and dinner.
For extra B vitamin support, I am a big fan of B-Supreme which offers a very powerful B vitamin combination formula that is easy for the body to biochemically assimilate.
Can You Lose Weight By Walking?
The average person has a stride that is 2.5 feet long. Using this stride length, there are roughly 1,500 steps in the average person’s mile. Each mile you walk, you are burning about 100 calories. If you commit to walking 4,500 extra steps per day, or roughly 3 extra miles, you would be burning an extra 300 calories a day. That will lead to a weekly deficit of 2100 calories. After a month, that’s about 9000 calories burned which equals approximately 2.6 pounds lost. Keep it up for a year and you are looking at over 31 pounds lost!
Getting in those three extra miles a day could be as simple as making small changes such as parking further from the stores you shop at or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Even if you decide to walk 3 miles altogether, it would only take an extra 45 minutes out of your day.
How Many Steps Per Day to Lose Weight?
Remember, it’s all a simple math equation. Here are some more basic numbers to consider:
1 Mile = 1500 steps
1 Mile walked = 100 calories burned
1 Pound = 3500 calories
2 Pound weight loss per week = 7000 calories, or a 500-calorie deficit per day
1 Pound weight loss per week just by walking = 5 extra miles walked per day – or 7,500 extra steps (in addition to the distance that you are currently covering while maintaining weight)
1 Pound weight loss per week with diet changes and walking combined = 2.5 extra miles walked per day (3750 extra steps), and 250 calories less consumed per day, for a total daily caloric deficit of 500 calories.
My trick? I use a step counter. You can find one on your iPhone or invest in a pedometer or the popular Fitbit line of fitness gadgets. Definitely makes it easier to keep track.
Need support getting started on your walking for weight loss plan?
CONTACT ME today and let me inspire you to adjust your diet and get out there for a daily walk, especially in the upcoming days of sunshine and warm weather!
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The bottom line is that both diet and exercise are important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. However, getting control of what you eat is 75% of the battle when it comes to weight loss.