Once we decide to lose weight, we want to see some results quickly - and the surprising truth is that one of the best ways to help our weight loss programme is to walk more.
For those who can manage to walk regularly and efficiently, it’s possible to walk off about a pound a week without a diet or joining a gym! Combine that with the other benefits that walking delivers such as heart health and increased lung capacity and walking is a wonderful tool to a better life, in a better body, without too much pain.
Obesity and walking
For those who are severely obese, even a gentle walk can be a challenge but there’s good news for them too. The more weight we carry, the bigger our muscles, so even a short walk can make us stronger simply because our bodyweight is so high. As we walk more, particularly when walking is allied to a change in diet that we can maintain for life, those buried muscles start to emerge and we can be surprised to discover that we have a well defined musculature waiting to be revealed.
Once we’re down to a safe weight, we can use those muscle to our advantage by combining walking with carrying weights (either hand weights or a weight vest) to get our excess weight off even quicker.
Find out what your BMI is by clicking HERE
How much weight can I lose by walking?
This varies widely. On average, somebody walking at the average pace of four miles an hour will burn around 400 calories in 60 minutes. You don’t have to head out for a four mile walk though! Just adding walks into your day is a good way to start: get off the train, subway or bus a stop before your own and walk the final distance, then walk to a lunch place a little further away than usual, take a stroll around the park before dinner, all these start to add up to those 400 burnt calories without requiring drastic lifestyle changes.
A pedometer, fitbit or other device will help you see how much you’ve walked and how many steps you still need to take each day and because these devices allow you see how you’re doing, they help keep the behavior going when it gets a little tough such as on rainy days (walk at the mall!) or holidays (when vegging out in front of the TV seems attractive).
Walking a treadmill for weight loss
Your doctor, nutritionist or personal trainer might be suggesting treadmill walking which is a great idea if you’re committed to it. To make treadmill walking successful you need to:
- Vary the speed and incline - start with a warm up, hit a mid-zone that elevates your heart rate and then have a cool down that gets you back to your normal heart rate and body temperature
- Do it regularly - most people can walk between three and five times a week, but take advice from your weight loss specialist about your walking program
- Keep it fun - for some that means upbeat music, whilst for others it’s watching a favorite TV show on their tablet whist striding out. Make sure your motivation doesn’t cause you to slack off though, you’ll need to continually upgrade your treadmill settings as you get slimmer and stronger.