Often when you consider working out to lose weight, you will find that you have plans for spinning, sprinting and strength training. But did you know that exercise can be as easy as a walk in the park … literally?
If you’re returning to physical activity after an injury or a little time off, or you’re right at the beginning of your health journey, then walking can be an effective way to exercise. It is the best route for doing a basic level of cardio before jumping into anything high impact.
However, ladies, we’re not talking about a leisurely stroll! It’s time to get that heart pumping!
So, push on your comfiest shoes, it’s time to get walking, and here’s why.
Why is walking such a great way to exercise?
Did you know that regular walking has many health benefits? To name a few, walking is great for:
- Stabilizing blood sugar levels
- A stronger cardiovascular system
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Improving fertility
Not to mention that it is also great for improving mental health, improving overall mood and reducing anxiety and stress. According to research, a 30-minute walk a day can improve your mental health. In addition, walking can stimulate blood flow to the brain and around the body, which can work to stimulate your metabolism.
According to research presented at the Epidemiology and Prevention Lifestyle Cardiometabolic Health Conference of the American Heart Association in 2021, every 1,000 daily steps you take are associated with a 28% lower risk of premature death. If walking is your primary form of exercise, focus on hitting 10,000 steps a day.
Walking to lose weight
But the benefits of walking do not end there! There is no denying that walking isn’t quite the most effective type of weight loss exercise, but there is potential to lose 10 pounds through walking.
If we want to lose weight, it’s important to create a caloric deficit. For example, let’s say you weigh 160 pounds and run at 3.5 mph per hour, burning 302 calories.
If you were to walk briskly at 4-5 miles per hour, you can burn just as many calories per mile as if you were to run at a slow pace. Walking also has less impact on your body, so you have a lower risk of hurting yourself.
So, yes of course you can lose weight by walking; however, if your goal is to lose weight, we recommend that you add a few weekly strength and stretching exercises to your routine as you progress in your fitness journey.
How far should you walk each day to lose weight?
According to the World Health Organization, the US Department of Health and the American College of Sports Medicine, adults should aim to hit 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week and 300 minutes per week to achieve weight loss.
For walking, medium intensity means walking at a fast pace, around 3-4 mph. Not sure if you’re running fast? Take a speech test, you need to have strong breathing so you can talk while walking but can’t sing your favorite songs!
150 minutes may seem like a lot, but once it’s divided into a whole week, it doesn’t seem quite so daunting! Plus, you don’t have to jump straight for 150 minutes. Start slowly, gradually increasing your pace, and slowly increase your activity levels each week.
Also Read: The best workout for busy women
Depending on how inactive you used to be (come on, ladies!), it is possible to overdo it, so start walking slowly, just two or three days a week and build things up. Gradually increasing activity will reduce your risk of injury.
How to maximize your weight loss with walking
So, with all that in mind, here are our top six tips for using walking to lose weight!
- Start slow with a 10 minute walk – start with a comfortable, stable pace for ten minutes a day. Working towards the goal of walking 30 minutes a day.
- Hit the 30 minute walk mark, and then step up the pace to a moderate-brisk rate that means you can talk whilst walking but not go singing your heart out.
- Mix up the terrain and add in some hills & slopes – try walking on a treadmill at a high incline to increase your heart rate, which can increase your metabolism and burn calories.
- Take the stairs – With step machines available at the gym, there’s no excuse to avoid the stairs! Or, if you usually avoid the stairs on your way to walk or around the mall, take them!
- Pick up the pace with intervals – Start by walking briskly for one minute, then switch to a moderate pace for four minutes and then repeat five times. Once you find it easy or less challenging, try walking quicker for two minutes, recovering for three. As you improve, gradually increase your walking speed until you can walk quickly for the whole 30 minutes.
- Try jogging – If you’d like to move onto jogging, try the same method for distance training per tip five. So, start running for a minute, recover with a four-minute walk. Over time, increase your running time and shorten your walking time until you run for 30 minutes at a time.
Wherever you are on your fitness journey, walking can be a great way to add activity to your day. Plus, it can be an exercise to help you lose weight! Before progressing with the time and pace of your walk/run, be sure to check to ensure that you’re exercising safely and do not run the risk of injury.
Use PhenGold to support your goals
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