Everyone knows that exercise is beneficial, but not everyone knows why walking is one of the best options. Walking for weight loss is an effective method, and it does much more for your body than you think. Learning why it’s beneficial and a few tips to get you started can make the difference in developing the new habit.
Regular exercise is essential to staying fit and healthy, so you don’t want to miss out on an easy way to do it. While it may seem daunting when you first begin, you’ll quickly experience the benefits and learn to enjoy walking. Once you become more comfortable walking for weight loss, you can switch it up and make it a little harder.
Some people add weight to their walk, but you should talk with your doctor before doing it yourself. You can also boost the benefits of your walk by increasing the intensity. When you increase the intensity of your walk, you can get more out of it in a shorter timeframe.
Ten Reasons to Try Walking for Weight Loss
As one of the easiest forms of exercise to incorporate into your life, learning the reasons to try walking for weight loss is essential. Once you know all of the benefits, you’re sure to want to get started right away. Of course, you’ll need to know a few tips to get started safely and effectively.
1. You Will Burn Calories While Walking for Weight Loss
While your body needs calories for energy, too many calories can cause weight loss. Each person has different daily calorie needs, based on their age, weight, height, sex, activity level, and genes. To lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume each day.
Walking can help you burn calories, allowing you to lose or maintain your weight. If you have a job that requires spending your day sitting, this is especially helpful for you. Walking briskly for one mile can burn around 100 calories.
2. It Preserves Your Muscles
When you lose weight by cutting calories, you’re likely to lose some muscle, too. Surprisingly, losing it can slow your weight loss because muscle is metabolically active. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn each day.
Exercise can help preserve your muscles, allowing you to maintain or build muscle while losing weight. Preserving your muscles also decreases the drop you might experience in your metabolic rate during weight loss. This process will make it easier for you to maintain your results.
Additionally, walking for weight loss can help prevent and reduce age-related muscle loss. It can help aging people retain muscle strength and function.
3. It Reduces Belly Fat
Losing belly fat doesn’t always happen when you cut calories. It sometimes requires more effort, such as participating in regular exercise. Walking is one of the best options, as studies show that walking for 50-70 minutes three times a week can melt fat.
Reducing belly fat isn’t only essential for changing your appearance, either. Researchers linked a fatty midsection to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. As you work on losing weight to improve your health, you must think about your health as a whole.
4. Promotes Long-Term Weight Loss
It’s common for people who lose weight to gain it all back again. However, regular exercise can help prevent gaining it back, promoting long-term weight loss. Even once you’ve reached your goal weight, walking will help you maintain it.
Walking gives you more energy, too, helping you stay active throughout the day. Studies show that you should walk for at least 150 minutes each week to maintain a healthy weight. However, additional studies indicate that if you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, you might need to walk for at least 200 minutes each week.
5. Walking for Weight Loss Is a Low Impact Exercise
Intense exercise can wreak havoc on your body, causing knee or back problems, amongst other issues. It can also be hard on your joints. However, walking is a low-impact exercise that doesn’t cause damage to your body as running can.
While you can intensify your walks, you can also choose to keep them light but brisk. The best part is that you get to decide how far to push yourself, whereas other exercises require high impact.
6. It Can Help You Live Longer
When you use walking for weight loss, it can help you live longer. Studies show that people who go for frequent walks have lower mortality rates than others.
Walking can help decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and it can decrease blood pressure. Going for regular walks also reduces the risk of developing breast cancer or diabetes. If you want to lose weight, you likely want to improve all areas of your health, making this an essential benefit.
7. Walking for Weight Loss Boosts Your Immune System
When you’re exercising to lose weight, you might as well make the most of the time. If you choose walking as your form of exercise, you’ll experience a boost in your immune system.
Studies show that walking can protect you from catching a cold or the flu. Walking for at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week, resulted in 43% fewer sick days compared to those who didn’t exercise regularly. Additionally, regular walkers who get sick were ill for less time than others, and their symptoms were milder.
8. It Reduces Stress and Boosts Your Mood
Going for a walk outside is peaceful, so it reduces stress and boosts your moods. You can walk anywhere, including in your neighborhood, at the park, or anywhere else outside. No matter where you choose, it’ll bring you relaxation and joy.
With less stress and an improvement in your mood, you’ll have more energy and want to do more. Then, you’ll find that you keep moving throughout the day, even after your outdoor walk is over. Additionally, your body metabolizes food quicker when you aren’t stressed.
9. It Works Against Your Genes
Sometimes genes don’t work in your favor regarding weight loss, but walking can help counteract the effects. Studies show that people with obesity-promoting genes could cut the effects in half by walking for one hour each day. Sometimes nothing else seems to help with weight loss when genes are a factor, but walking can make all the difference.
10. Walking for Weight Loss Protects Your Joints from Arthritis
If you have arthritis, then walking is the exercise for you. Walking can reduce arthritis-related pain even after it starts. Additionally, walking for weight loss can prevent you from getting arthritis altogether. Your knee and hip joints are protected because walking lubricates them and strengthens the supporting muscles.
Ten Tips to Get Started Walking for Weight Loss
Now that you know the importance of regular exercise, let’s review some pointers to help you get started.
1. Start Slow and Then Choose the Best Pace
If you live a sedentary lifestyle, you’ll want to start slow. Start with walking fifteen minutes at a time, at a comfortable pace. As you become comfortable, increase the duration and intensity.
2. Use a Fitness Tracker When Walking for Weight Loss
A fitness tracker can help you identify if you’re walking long enough and at an effective pace. The tracker will also motivate you to hit your small goals each day.
3. Pay Attention to Your Posture
As you walk, make sure to keep your chin up, back straight and relaxed, and your shoulders in a natural position. Tighten your abdominal muscles and glutes as you walk, too.
4. Change Up Your Route When Walking for Weight Loss
Changing up your route will add challenge and engagement to your daily walk. You can walk in a different location, or you can try walking uphill instead of on even surfaces.
5. Set Small Goals
By setting small goals, it motivates you to achieve them each day. When the goals are realistic, you’ll go out of your way to make them happen.
6. Set Aside Time
It’s easier to accomplish your daily walk if you set aside time for it. If you don’t set aside time, it’s easy to skip your exercise session for something else.
7. Stay Hydrated and Consume a Healthy Diet
Drink a couple of cups of water before you start walking, and then another glass afterward. Following a healthy diet will boost your results, too.
8. Choose the Best Shoes While Walking for Weight Loss
If you plan on walking regularly, you’ll want to invest in a comfortable pair of walking shoes. They should have a flexible sole and a stiff heel.
9. Find Someone to Walk With
Everything is easier and more enjoyable with good company. Ask a friend, co-worker, or family member to join you whenever they can.
10. Put Your Headphones In
If you walk alone, consider wearing your headphones to listen to uplifting music. You can also listen to an audiobook or podcast instead.
Final Thoughts on Reasons to Try Walking for Weight Loss (and 10 Tips to Get Started)
Walking for weight loss is one of the best options because it’s effective and offers many benefits. It’s also easier than other exercises as you can choose your intensity each time. Set aside time each day to go for a walk to ensure you melt fat. As you become more comfortable, you’ll find enjoyment in your exercise routine and weight loss journey.