We have been asked by many readers if walking is a good exercise for weight loss? We thought we would put together the answer, and help them understand, what walking can and can not achieve, when it comes to losing the pounds.
Any type of successful weight loss comes down to two parts:
- A good diet
- Doing some form of regular exercise
Now it needs both parts to work. The diet we will leave to the experts, and we will focus on what we are good at, and that is the walking regimen of the weight loss program. In this article we talk about how regular walks can really help with losing weight and getting you fit and healthy.
We prefer to call this being active. That means you don’t have to go to the gym every day, run a marathon, or go crazy with some demanding training program. Simple everyday activities like walking to the store, doing a bit of gardening, walking the dog, all count as a form of exercise. You will be surprised just how effective walking can be as an exercise.
The important thing to really understand is that you have to do this activity on a regular basis. We think walking is simply one of the best ways of getting your daily exercise. It also just happens to be good for relieving stress, and helping you relax before bed. The tough part is just making it a habit.
The Walking Habit
Weight is something that we can control, if we can be self-disciplined about how we go about it. At some stage in our lives most people will start to put on some weight. Primarily, this is due to what we eat and drink, and the amount of physical activity that we do to burn of calories.
When we put food and drink into our bodies, it basically sits there until we burn it off. Any type of movement or exercise will help burn off calories, and when that happens you lose weight. So why do we suggest walking as a form of exercise? In our opinion it is the easiest thing to do, and it is actually very enjoyable. It can also be a very social thing for many walkers.
As we mentioned in the title though, creating the walking habit is the most difficult part. It is simple to say “I am going to walk every day”, but a different matter entirely to actually do that. Here we will offer you a few tips to help make that happen for you.
Just before those though, here is an inspirational video that you may enjoy watching.
Tip 1 – Pick a Time
“I will walk for one hour every evening at 7 o’clock,” OR, “I will walk to work every morning.” Just make sure it is something that you can do on a regular basis.
The other thing to note is that you do not have to do this 7 days a week. You could just do 5 days a week, and take the weekend off. However when you do make the commitment, then please try and stick to it.
It doesn’t have to be for an hour either, and you could simply opt to walk for 30 minutes every evening. Our advice is to start small, and then build that up if you want to. Just make that initial commitment and start your new habit. Once you commit to doing a little everyday, then the time will start to look after itself.
Tip 2 – Company
If you can find someone to walk with, that is ideal. You can hold each other accountable, and spur each other on. Personally we would recommend joining a walking club, as the people there will have been through what you are going through, and will try to help you out.
You can of course walk alone, but at times it can be really tough to get your bum off the chair. That is where having a walking partner can really help. If you think you may be letting someone else down, you are more inclined to get off the couch and get out on the road.
If that is not possible, then why not just walk the dog, or someone else’s dog. I have also found that there will be times when you will have to walk alone. If that is the case, then get some earphones and download some music. That can be great for providing you with a sense of company.
Having a friend to walk with just makes the experience a lot more fun, and you can support each other through the walking journey. Most things we do in life are social, so why should walking be any different. Just avoid going to pubs and bars though, if you are doing this to lose pounds. In the ideal scenario, having a regular and trustworthy partner, is the ideal combination to make sure that you stay on track, and have someone to make you accountable.
Tip 3 – The Right Kit
The good news is that you don’t need much of a kit to go walking. We would recommend having good walking shoes and some type of waterproof jacket and trousers. Other than that, you don’t need anything else. Good shoes will help develop a good stride, and also be comfortable on your feet.
This means that you will likely avoid getting blisters, or getting injured. For goodness sake, don’t go out walking in your everyday shoes, or wear cheap sneakers or trainers.
Walking shoes are designed to keep your feet comfortable, dry, and also supportive for your legs and joints. They are not as expensive as many people think, and can make all the difference between comfort, and having sore feet, or aching joints.
You can buy these for around $30-50 and I think they are worth the investment.
Tip 4 – A Pedometer
Now when it comes to walking for weight loss purposes, then buy one of these. Most of them will have a calorie counter, and when you can physically look and see how many calories you have burned off, then in my opinion, nothing motivates any better than that.
Now some of these will also measure the distance that you cover, the time taken and a whole range of other features if you want them. For weight loss though, the one big thing that helps keep people motivated, is that calorie count.
In the tip below I discuss the importance of measuring and recording your efforts. I think if you can visually see something, then it will help you stay motivated. It will also keep you going when you have the odd bad day.
If you want to find out more about pedometers, then please click here to read more information.
Tip 5 – Measure What You Do
Many people who start walking think that running is better. If you run you can lose more weight than if you just walk. That is, of course true, BUT, running is something that many people can not do, and running is also tough on your knees and ankle joints.
There are also people who are just too overweight to be able to start with running. In that case walking is achievable, and is certainly a great starting point.
If you walk, you will burn off calories, and you will lose weight. If you can then increase your distance, or your speed of walking, you will lose even more weight.
So walking works, and thankfully most people can get out for a walk. You don’t need to join expensive gyms, you can do it when you have time, and you can get by with the minimum of gear.
If you can measure your weight loss, keep track of it, it will help you stick with it. As I mentioned at the beginning, if you walk, it will help you lose weight. Along with a good diet, you will be well on your way to losing weight. We hope that you found these 5 basic walking tips for weight loss helpful and beneficial.