Can Walking Really Help Me Lose Weight?
Everyone knows that regular exercise promotes health and well-being. Working out four or five times a week can change the way you look and feel. Unless you live right across the gym, you might not be able to stick to your exercise plan.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to keep fit and stay active. Cardio and strength training are just a small part of fitness. Everyday activities, such as walking, jogging, and stretching, can improve your health on every level.
Walk You Way to Better Health
The health benefits of walking are supported by science. According to experts, walking for as little as 20 minutes per day can increase lifespan by up to seven years. This natural movement is something that we all require. In the long run, it helps slow down the aging process, reduces heart disease risk, and improves cardiorespiratory fitness.
Prolonged sitting, on the other hand, increases your risk of diabetes by over 90 percent. It may also lead to cancer, obesity, and musculoskeletal disorders.
Yet, the average U.S. adult spends about 10 hours a day sitting. Office workers, telecommunications employees, and IT specialists sit for over 12 hours daily. Although walking can’t counteract the damaged caused by prolonged sitting, it definitely helps.
Studies indicate that daily walking can lower the risk of stroke by one third. It also helps prevent coronary heart disease, improves blood lipid profile, and keeps your blood sugar levels stable.
Walking Has Been Linked To:
- Better Mental Health
- Reduced Osteoporosis Risk
- Weight Loss
People who walk at least two miles a day are less likely to develop colon and breast cancers, obesity, high cholesterol, and type II diabetes. This simple activity has been also shown to decrease the risk of disability in seniors.
A 30-minute walk can improve cardiovascular health, increase circulation, and prevent blood clotting. It’s particularly beneficial for those who sit for long periods of time, travel by plane, or take long car rides.
Studies have found that walking for just two minutes each hour can lower the risk of premature death by over 33 percent. If you walk for at least 10 minutes a day, your risk of arterial disease, stroke, and heart attack will significantly decrease.
How Many Calories Does Walking Burn?
A study conducted at the University of Utah indicates that walking five minutes each hour can help you burn up to 1,000 extra calories a week. This low impact activity will keep you fit with minimum effort.
The amount of calories burned depends on your weight, distance, and walking pace. A 130-pound person who walks at a moderate pace will burn up to 140 calories per hour.
The same person will burn about 180 calories per hour during a power walk. The faster you walk, the higher your energy expenditure. Other factors that affect the amount of calories burned during a walk include the type of terrain, incline level, fitness condition, muscle mass, and gender.
Walking for 60 minutes on a flat surface at four miles per hour can burn 298 to 636 calories depending on your weight. Heavier people burn more energy during exercise.
Can Walking Really Help with Weight Loss?
Walking is one of the most effective yet overlooked ways to lose extra pounds and keep them off. Even though it doesn’t burn as many calories as swimming, jogging, or strength training, it can make a huge difference.
By taking daily walks, you’ll stay in shape and maintain your fitness. It’s a great way to improve your body composition, keep your bones strong, and slash your risk of chronic diseases.
Not to mention that your legs will look amazing! Walking also lifts your mood, relieves stress, and increases serotonin levels in the brain. These factors combined lead to a lower risk of depression and mental disorders.
Compared to other workouts, walking puts less pressure on the spine and joints, making it ideal for pregnant women, seniors, and people with lower back pain or knee problems.
How to Burn More Calories When Walking
From walking faster to wearing ankle weights and walking on an incline, there are various ways to increase the amount of calories burned during a walk. Start by taking shorter, faster steps to increase your speed. Grab a dumbbell in each hand for added resistance. Swinging your arms while waking can help you burn up to 15 percent more calories.
If your goal is to lose weight, drink cold water when walking. Cold water keeps your body temperature down and raises your metabolism, which in turn increases energy expenditure.
Use an incline, such as parking garage ramps or hills, to burn up to 50 percent more calories during a walk. Invest in fitness walking poles to make your workouts more challenging.
Add speed intervals to your walks, carry a backpack, and try new terrains to increase the amount of calories burned.