Many people walk as part of their daily workout routine, but not many realize that walking can actually support weight loss. Walking can burn fat and help you feel more energetic throughout the day, which is why it’s an important component of any healthy weight loss program. If you’re just starting out on your weight loss journey, check out these five ways that walking supports weight loss and see if they sound like something you could incorporate into your routine!
Walking burns calories
A 160-pound person burns more than 400 calories per hour walking at a moderate pace. That’s more than a burger, fries and soda! And if you walk on an incline (like up a hill or around your neighborhood) you’ll burn even more calories.
If you tend to carry extra weight in your lower body, look for hills to add some extra intensity. Once you find one, try using it as part of your regular routine—you can actually burn more calories by carrying your groceries up a flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator!
You may have heard of ‘walking 10,000 steps a day’ but did you ever consider why? The truth is that an average person burns approximately 500 calories per 10,000 steps that they make. This is enough to burn 1lb of fat per week if it’s done every day for seven days.
Walking can truly make a difference even if you have great fitness levels.
Walking burns fat
Although running and other high-intensity aerobic exercise might burn more calories in a shorter period of time, walking burns fat over time.
Different exercises use different energy systems. Without getting into the nitty gritty of things, high intensity exercises uses sugars and low intensity exercises uses fat. This means that walking, which is a low-intensity exercise, burns fat during the actual activity.
Consistency is key when it comes to walking and weight loss; those who walk 5,000 steps per day have been shown to maintain lower body mass index (BMI) than those who only take 1,500 steps. To lose weight safely but quickly, walk for exercise at least five days per week for at least 30 minutes each session.
Walking improves your mood
Exercise, in general, improves your mood—and walking may be especially effective at lifting your spirits. A 2011 study published in The American Journal of Medicine showed that just 30 minutes of daily walking lowered depression symptoms as effectively as antidepressants among depressed and overweight women ages 50 to 75. In addition to reducing symptoms of depression, regular walking boosts self-esteem, energy levels and motivation. All these benefits make walking a natural for helping you lose weight and keep it off.
How? Well many people struggle to eat healthy during times of feeling sad or upset. Some people struggle with emotional eating which leads to binge eating when they are feeling down. Since walking improves your mood, you are likely to reduce the risk of binge eating and thus lowering your overall calorie intake. This will help you shed fat.
Walking Improves Fitness
When you walk at a moderate pace, it engages your whole body. Your heart rate increases, your breathing deepens and walking helps to strengthen muscles in legs, hips and back as well as improving balance. This is because of something called the after-burn effect – also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).
Exercising not only increases metabolism during exercise, but also for hours afterwards. The more intense an exercise session is – whether it’s running up stairs or speed walking – the greater amount of calories burned after exercising compared to if you didn’t exercise at all. You could have burnt hundreds of extra calories if you exercised rather than going straight from home to work! It all adds up over time and can lead to substantial weight loss.
Walking helps you sleep better at night
While a decent night’s sleep doesn’t always mean you’ll wake up feeling refreshed, it is vitally important to weight loss. When we don’t get enough rest, our bodies react by producing higher levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol triggers hunger and makes us crave calorie-dense foods. Aim for seven or eight hours of shut-eye each night to lose weight safely .
Studies show that walking may be one of best weapons against obesity. In fact, it was recently ranked as the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent weight gain among activities such as using a treadmill or bike for exercise. It’s hard to argue with evidence like that! So if you want to keep away from gaining weight or simply find an alternative way to lose weight, walking should be your go-to form of exercise.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this post and you are ready to start losing weight. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking a day. However, if you want to optimise your results, aim for walking 10,000 steps every day.
If you’re looking to lose weight, make sure to check out the Nutrition2change weight management and nutrition course that will teach you everything you need to know about losing weight and keeping it off forever.