There is an underestimated form of exercise that is not only ridiculously simple, but also incredibly powerful, when it comes to melting the fat from your body. What’s more, it requires no specialist equipment whatsoever! In case you haven’t already guessed what form of exercise we’re talking about – it’s Walking for Weight Loss!
So why do so many people ignore this excellent form of exercise? In a nutshell, it’s due to misinformed and preconceived ideas. Most people think it is too easy, and unless they are doing some form of high impact cardio workout, then walking for weight loss just won’t get any results. But that’s not the case.
Before we go any further, there are some common sense rules to apply. A gentle stroll, whilst munching your way through a box of Krispy Crèmes, won’t help you lose weight. Nor will walking your dog, if it continually stops and sniffs, so you only go 10 yards in 10 minutes.
However, when done right, walking for weight loss can be a superb addition to any weight loss program. Not only that, but it has many more health benefits besides helping you lose weight and torch the fat. It needs to be part of a weight loss program. In other words, you need to ensure you have your diet sorted out too. Only then will you get the results you are hoping for. Basically, walking AND a proper low carb diet, equates to weight loss.
How to incorporate walking for weight loss into your life in order to get the best results.
Firstly, try to do at least 20 minutes of high intensity walking on 3 non-consecutive days each week. On the other days, try to do 30 minutes of moderate intensity walking.
Example High Intensity Walking for Weight Loss Routine (approx. 30 minutes)
1. Walk for 5 minutes. Start at a slow pace and then increase the pace very slightly for the final 2 minutes. This will ensure that you warm up properly.
2. Next walk as fast as you can, without breaking into a jog, for 10 minutes. Make a note of how far you have gone.
3. Turn around and walk back at a brisk pace, but slower than the last 10 minutes. When you are about half way back to your starting point, slow down a little more in order to let your body cool down.
Note: Each time you perform this workout on subsequent days, try to walk a little faster and go a bit farther.
Treadmill High Intensity Walking for Weight Loss Routine (approx. 30 minutes)
For those days when the weather makes it difficult to walk outside (snow, ice, or late at night), try this routine instead. Remember to increase the speed elements as you progress and become fitter. Keep the recovery elements the same.
Time Treadmill setting
5 Minute warm up 3 mph (4.8kph)
Stage 1 (6 minutes alternate between)
60 seconds (speed) 4mph (6.4kph)
60 seconds 3.5mph (5.6kph)
Stage 2 (5 minutes alternate between)
40 seconds (speed) 4.3mph (6.9kph)
20 seconds 3.5mph (5.6kph)
Stage 3 (5 minutes alternate between)
30 seconds (speed) 4.6mph (7.4kph)
30 seconds 3.5mph (5.6kph)
Stage 4 (5 minutes alternate between)
20 seconds (speed) 5mph (8kph)
40 seconds 3.5mph (5.6kph)
4 minute Cooldown 3mph (4.8kph)
Variation: as you progress, try walking up and down a hill, or set the treadmill at a slight incline. This will not only increase the intensity, but will work wonders at toning your legs and butt too!
Other Benefits of Walking for Weight Loss
Not only does walking for weight loss really work, but there are many other benefits to be gained from walking too.
Going for a walk in the countryside is a great way to manage stress. Try these extra ways to combat the stress and strain of every day life
Concentrate on the way you walk for a few minutes at a time. Notice how the earth feels beneath your feet. Also try to walk upright and concentrate on your breathing. Breathe in deeply through your nose, and then outward through your mouth. Image renewed energy being taken deep into your lungs with every inward breath.
Take a simple 30-minute stroll and occasionally walking backwards or sideways, as well as forwards. This can have extensive benefits, such as improving memory sensors, cognitive control, and also helps to keep your mind alert. It has even been shown to give you an 85% boost in energy too.
Walking on a regular basis is a simple habit to get into, and one that has far reaching effects. By making walking part of your regular routine, it can have a knock on effect.
After 30 days of regular walking, you will find that you have increased motivation to continue with other aspects of a healthy lifestyle too, including your diet.
Improved posture is a natural ‘side effect’ of regular walking that happens without even trying. The process of extending the hip flexors by walking, straightens the back, which in turn creates an improvement in posture.
A study reported at the North American Menopause Society, found that moderate intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, was better for midlife women than high intensity exercise when it comes to increasing energy levels and enhancing mood.
Other research carried out on postmenopausal women, found that walking reduced the normal reduction in immune function, caused by menopause. With further studies of midlife women suggesting that those who walk more than 6000 steps each day, have a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and smaller waistlines.
Finally, a study of 31,000 female recreation walkers showed that those who walked the most often had the lowest mortality rates.
When to walk
If possible, the best time to go for a walk is before breakfast. When we wake up in the morning, glycogen levels are at their lowest, resulting in an optimum fat burning opportunity. Not only that, but getting up and going for a walk makes us feel good about the day ahead, it keeps us on the straight and narrow, which is more likely to result in us being health conscious throughout the rest of the day.
Waiting until after work, or in the evening, means we are less likely to stick to a regular commitment due to being tired and other distractions. This in turn makes us feel that the day is ruined, so we may as well eat something unhealthy to console ourselves, and start again tomorrow!
If you are not able to go for a walk first thing in the morning, then try to go at lunchtime just before you eat. This may have the knock on effect of reducing the calories eaten at lunch, and also increases the chance that what we eat will be more healthy.
Walking for Weight Loss – Motivational Tips
Walk with a Friend
You are more likely to stick to a regular walking routine if you can walk with a friend. Walking can be a great time to share with someone special.
Create a Playlist or get an Audiobook
Listening to music can also help keep you motivated. Instrumental music can be especially good and can keep you focused on enjoying the walk.
If you’re not a fan of music, then take the opportunity to listen to that book you’ve always been interested in.
Log your Activity
Writing brief entries in a journal after your walks can be a great way to remember some of the excellent places you’ve walked. Use a pedometer or fitness band to help motivate you to increase your activity. It also enables you to keep a log of how far you walked, how long for, and how you felt.
Even a free app on your phone may help you log your progress and keep you motivated by setting yourself a goal of say 6,000 -10,000 steps on your walking for weight loss.