Walking Your Way to Losing Weight
If you are starting a diet to lose weight without having an exercise plan, your weight may initially drop, but then the weight comes back and you may actually gain more weight. Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise that you can incorporate with your diet to help you lose weight and keep it off for a lifetime.
If you are out of shape, not the athletic type or haven’t exercised for a while and need to start slow, walking is a low stress, low impact way to start a weight loss program. However, don’t think walking is just for people looking to lose weight. Walking can be beneficial to anyone looking to live a healthier and longer life.
The process of walking works almost every muscle in your body and helps to maintain your muscle mass by improving circulation your muscles and joints. The improved circulation also massages the blood vessels, keeping them more elastic. Walking also increases your metabolism, which helps you burns more of the calories that can lead to weight gain.
Walking for Weight Loss
Here are a few key points to keep in mind when you decide to walk your way to weight loss:
An important point to remember when walking to lose weight is to spend enough time and energy actually walking. A leisurely stroll will not give you the workout that you need to lose weight. The idea of walking or any exercise is to increase your heart rate and metabolism to burn more calories.
To be effective, you need to walk at a brisk pace for at least an hour a day, 3 or 4 days a week. However, you don’t need to overdo the walking or any other type of exercise. You don’t need to workout every day. Your body actually needs time to rest between walks to benefit from the workouts. If you are short on time and can’t devote an hour at a time to your walking workout, you can break the sessions into four 15 minutes sessions or two half hour sessions.
Another technique to get the full benefits of an hour’s workout without actually spending an hour working out is to use interval training. The technique involves increasing your walking pace at set interval for a number of minutes before returning to your normal pace. You repeat this process for at least 20 minutes to get the benefit of the workout.
Another way to burn more calories while walking to lose weight during the same one-hour session is to walk streets with hills or climb stairs. Climbing hills or stairs means that you have to use more energy to travel the same distance and thus burn more calories and lose more weight. Instead of walking on a flat paved track, try different types terrain. For example, walking on sand, grass, or gravel will increase your workout and burn more calories.
The time of day that you decide to do your walk affects the benefits you will gain from it. Doing your walk in the morning will increase your body’s metabolism for the whole day the most, which will help with your weight loss goal. Walking in early evening or at night will not raise your metabolism and will not have any weight loss benefits.
Outdoor walking offers more variety to keep you entertained and motivated to walking because as you walk you can look at neighborhood houses and landscaping, explore different neighbors, community parks and hiking and bike trails and really get to know your neighborhood.
Outdoor walking is not always an ideal place to do your walks to lose weight. If you can’t walk outdoors because of the weather, a mall, office complex or a treadmill are good alternatives.
People of all ages can benefit from walking, and no special equipment is needed to take part in a walking program. As with any diet or exercise programs that may affect your health, before starting a walking exercise regimen to lose weight, you should first consult with your doctor.