Did this topic intrigue you?
Was your first thought that of “all I have to do is walk!?”
Well, we will get into that in this blog post.
Walking is a very simple form of exercise that many over look.
One that has incredible benefits when done daily, but is it enough to drop some pounds?
I know we (women) walk the easiest route to our goals that is going to take the least amount of time, right?
We actually would rather take a pill or a powder, but we know that those are gimmicky marketing ploys that don’t actually make a difference.
So – let’s dive into this topic and see what the hype is about.
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Straight from the ole Google machine..
“to move at a regular pace by lifting and setting down each foot in turn, never having both feet off the ground at once.”
Okay – so we know what walking is and I didn’t need to give you a definition.
BUT…isn’t it hilarious to look up the definition of the simplest words?
Anyways, walking is a simple task. But there are factors that come into play.
How fast? Uphill? Through water? Through sand? Against the wind? Pumping arms?
Walking is a very broad term for putting one foot in front of the other.
So aside from possible weight loss, what benefits are there to walking?
I am a big fan of walking. It has great benefits, and is a simple task that can make a huge difference.
I think we under estimate walking.
It doesn’t have to be specifically “going for a walk”.
It’s parking further away. Vacuuming your house. Play chase with your kids/dog.
So with that – let’s see what scientific benefits there are.
• Heart health
• Lower blood sugar
• Boost immune function
• Increase energy
• Improve mood
• Creative thinking
• Ease joint pain
Al great benefits, even better if you can do your walking outside!
It is recommended most average adults walk 10,000 steps per day (or 5 miles) for optimal overall health. This can be including a specific walk, or just steps doing daily activities.
But, if we are going to talk about weight loss and walking, we need to know the specifics to make it happen.
Before we get into walking for weight loss…lets cover how weight loss actually occurs.
So in order to lose weight, or lose fat is what we truly want, we have to be in a caloric deficit.
A caloric deficit means you are burning more calories than you are consuming in a day.
This deficit can be achieved by moving more, eating less, or a mixture of both.
This is also known as calories in < calories out.
Let’s create an example…
There are other factors that come into this, especially because HEALTH is more important than weight loss.
So quality of food maters. Where calories come from matters.
But in the most simple terms – this is how weight loss is achieved.
If you’re new around these parts, welcome.
If you have been here before or follow me on social you know….the key to any lasting change is consistency.
Consistency in your routine typically comes from small changes over time, so that it isn’t just an overnight BAM.
Okay – so how much walking do you have to do to lose weight?
They recommend 1 hour of walking per day to AID in weight loss.
So…can you not just walk for weight loss?
You can, you just can’t do it as fast as most people want results.
Typically you will start to see results when you first start (because going from 0 to 10 is always going to create a result), but over time it will start to plateau and level off.
Now, this is NOT to say that walking is then useless. Walking is never useless.
Walking is a great way to increase NEAT, which can lead to weight loss because you are moving more.
The more you move, the more results you are going to get…right?
A very common question when the topic of weight loss comes up, especially because most people think cardio is the best way to lose fat.
When it comes to walking vs running for weight loss, the answer is probably the opposite of what you are thinking.
The factors that come into play here is duration and heart rate zone.
Typically people can walk further than they can run.
So running 2 miles, vs walking for 30 minutes could be two totally different durations.
The longer duration exercise is typically going to burn more calories.
With heart rate zones, running is going to boost the heart rate more.
People assume this is how weight loss is achieved; more effort, higher heart rate, out of breath, sweating like crazy etc.
This is not entirely true.
Fat burning actually occurs in a moderate zone. Which means walking would be the better option because running is typically more taxing and a higher intensity.
So – in terms of walking vs running for weight loss…I would choose walking.
But if you want to choose the one that has the most benefits for weight loss, I would choose strength training.
So does walking count as exercise? It depends.
Any exercise is movement, but not all movement is exercise.
Any movement is physical activity and is beneficial for the body, remember that.
But exercise is defined as planned, structured, intentional movement.
So if you go out for a walk at a brisk pace and are intentional about it, it is exercise.
But if you just go walking around the grocery store, that walking is not technically* considered exercise.
In order to figure out how many calories you are burning while walking, there are a few variables that come into play.
• Distance walked
• Time spent walking
• Elevation gain
• Heart rate zone
You will burn calories at a different rate with each one of these variables changing.
So there Is no true way to tell how many calories you specifically burn walking.
But it can be anywhere from 50 calories to (I mean truly) any number depending on how long you walk for.
So this is largely going to be determined by the current fitness level and body weight of the individual.
Those who are beginners and weight more, it is going to take less walking to lose weight.
If you are more athletic and weight less, it is going to take more walking to lose weight.
The best way to lose weight with walking is by…
• walking daily
• walking at a brisk pace, and increasing at your fitness level increases
• increasing duration (so aiming for 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour per day) instead of distance
• the longer you walk, the more calories you will burn.
• keeping a moderate pace of walking but still being able to talk is where most fat loss takes place. So does walking burn fat? If done correctly, yes!
You want to know the real secret to this weight loss?
A caloric deficit, remember from above?1
By walking, you are burning more calories. Putting you in a deficit.
This is typically a domino affect as well.
As soon as you start walking more and feeling energized, you typically will also start to eat high quality food.
You will drink more water, get more sleep. All things that can impact weight loss.
So – can you lose weight by walking?
The answer is yes, but it may mean more effort than you are anticipating.