Walking-the best way to lose weight

Published:April 2nd, 2012

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Walking in the past was simply viewed by many people as a plain means of moving from one place to another. Nowadays, walking is no longer just a means of getting from point A to point B, but has become an acceptable and hugely popular form of exercise that helps to get rid of unwanted fat and control weight, tone muscles, build strength and endurance, and increase aerobic capacity. All of this happens because of the following reasons:

  • Walking is very convenient, easy to do, simple and accessible. Walking does not need great precision, well-executed techniques or lots of athletic prowess.
  • Inexpensive- There is no need for taking pills or special foods, nor any loads of heavy-duty gym equipment are required, instead a nice pair of shoes and an area to walk on are all that is required.
  • Can be easily modified/altered to fit anyone’s needs; highly-flexible.
  • Effects are cumulative.
  • Low-impact exercise, relatively painless/pain-free activity, with very low risk of injury.
  • One of the safest exercises around and with very low if not the lowest dropout rates. Easy on the joints and safe for individuals of all ages and fitness levels.
  • Can be fun and enjoyable especially to those who prefer to walk outdoors.

The key to weight loss lies in intensity, duration and consistency

The cornerstones to losing weight through walking are: intensity, duration, and consistency. Walking basically works by burning off fat while preserving muscle and do not deprive the body of vital nutrients it requires. As experts now concur that the most efficient way to lose and control weight is by favoring lifelong, consistent or habitual changes in a person’s eating and exercise habits as opposed to short-term diets (which tend to decrease the body’s percentage of lean body mass and water) and exercise binges, walking is the perfect exercise to fill in the exercise side of the nutrition-and-exercise equation. Walking, being a sustained, rhythmic workout, burns calories without lowering a person’s resting metabolic rate and at the same time conserves and builds muscles.

Walking for beginners                                                                                                                                             

For starters it is best to walk at a comfortable pace just to get the body ready and to ensure lesser risks of injury. The “go-slow” approach for beginners basically means that one should walk as far as he/she can for as long as he/she can. Advancing on a walking program means that one is already allowed to adjust the intensity of his/her walks and the number of hours spent on a single walk based on or according to his/her goals and schedule. One may also vary the area one walks on, such as tackling hilly terrain or walking on shifting sand or dirt in order to burn more calories.

The amount of calories burnt

Generally, a 150-pound person walking at a speed of 2 to 3 ½ miles per hour burns about 80 calories a mile. This amount increases or decreases depending on one’s weight, speed, and length of legs. Hence, a 200-pounder burns approximately 1/3 more calories and a 100-pounder about 1/3 less than a 150-pound individual. Because walking is not as exhausting as compared to other forms of exercise, one can devote more hours to it, which translates to more calories burned.

Medical and health benefits of walking

Apart from being a powerful technique to shed some extra pounds, walking when performed as a lifelong, regular form of exercise, has been associated or linked to a number of medical/health benefits and has been shown to be advantageous in terms of:

  • Fighting coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, and arthritis
  • Offering protection against stroke
  • Aiding in the treatment of hypertension
  • Raising levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol
  • Strengthening bones
  • Aiding digestion
  • Possibly combating cancer
  • Promoting mental health by boosting energy, improving sleep, relieving tension and stress, combating anxiety and depression
  • Increasing longevity and slowing down the aging process

 

 

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