Walking for weight loss, it works – here’s why
Walking…more exceptional than you thought!
You’re thinking about getting back into shape but running just isn’t your thing or you feel conflicted whether it is bad or not for your knees? You might think that walking is not intense enough for weight loss, but guess again. Used the right way, walking and weight loss can actually become synonymous. Here are a couple of ways to turn walking into a crazy calorie burning/weight loss exercise.
Watch where you step…you might lose more weight!
When you think of walking, it’s probably on the side walk, a paved road or maybe inside of a mall (might as well shop while burning calories). Did you know that you could increase the number of calories burned while walking by up to 3 times depending on the terrain on which you walk?
Here are a few examples:
- Walking in a plowed field (maybe you live in the countryside?) increases the calories burned by 50%.
- If you live somewhere snowy, walking on hard snow could increase that factor by 60% while walking in soft snow could burn 3 times more calories than on a paved road.
- In vacation? No problem! Walking in the sand could make you burn up to 2 times the regular amount of calories.
Exercising on these type of terrains might require a bit of travelling but it’s definitely worth it!
It’s even more effective if you’re overweight
One great aspect of walking is that almost anyone can do it. Even if you are greatly overweight, the impact on your joints is very low making this exercise the perfect first step in your weight loss journey.
Walking while being overweight is actually even more effective! Bodyweight and the number of calories burned while walking have a very tight relationship (correlation). What I mean by that is that at a set speed, someone who weights 200 pounds would burn about twice as much calories walking than someone who weights 100 pounds.
If you wanted to go even further with that idea, you could use ankle weights or carry objects (a backpack for example) and burn even more calories. If you don’t like the idea of exercising, this might be the first and best choice for you to get the ball rolling.
Get to the top
One last way to turn walking into your go-to calorie burning exercise is to walk up a hill or add some incline percentage on the treadmill. On average, every percentage of incline that you add to your treadmill walk or to a hill walk equals to an added 7% extra calories burned when compared to walking on a flat surface. This means that if you weight 175 pounds and you were to walk at a pace of 5 km/h (approximately 3.1 mph), walking on a flat surface for 30 minutes would burn 185 calories while at 5% incline, it would’ve burned 250 calories. As much as 30 minutes could seem like a lot to you, when in a nice environment or in front of your favorite tv show (if you were on a treadmill), time will go by very fast!
You don’t have to climb the everest, just a bit of incline.
You know what’s even better than those extra burned calories? The steeper the hill, the harder your calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes will activate. I’m sure you wouldn’t mind toning up those muscles as you burn a bunch of calories.
Enjoy the view, you’ll feel better!
A 2015 study from Stanford University showed that people who walked in nature compared to a urban environment had much lower risks of depression. With more than 50% of people living in a urban environment, those are very important results. Even if you live in a city, there are still parks or green areas around you. Try to schedule a few weekly walks in the park or in any natural setting. You will definitely enjoy it and for sure you will get healthier physically, and mentally!
Take a look around and enjoy the view!
In summary, don’t go out there and try all of them at the same time. That’s how you injure yourself. Pick one way to make it harder and give it a try. If you don’t already know, weight loss is all about the little things you can do on a day to day basis. With time, you will get in better shape and you can start mixing it up and crank up the intensity. Who knew there were so many ways to walk!