Did you know walking classes as an exercise?
If you do, then great. Because this is an exercise we do every day, people don’t treat it seriously or class it as an exercise compared to other forms such as weight lifting or sprinting.
The truth is, walking is unique in its own right and has many benefits to it. That’s if it’s carried out consistently, though.
It’s a great exercise to do if you’re looking to lose weight. There’s not just one reason why it’s good for weight loss; there’s many. Therefore, to help you, we’ve created a list of all the best reasons.
13 reasons why walking is good for weight loss
1. Improves the health of your heart
Walking has been shown to reduce people’s chances of getting cardiovascular disease. Likewise, it increases your blood circulation, which allows more glucose to get to your muscles.
This stops a build-up of sugar in your blood, keeping your levels healthy and reducing your heart attack risk. It also reduces your blood vessels’ stiffness, which allows your blood to flow more easily, lowering your blood pressure.
2. Helps you sleep
Sleep is a significant factor in weight gain. It’s often reported that if you don’t sleep well, it can trigger your hormones to affect your appetite. When you walk, a hormone called leptin is released, which suppresses your appetite and extends your energy. Therefore walking can help regulate your weight.
3. Burns Calories
Depending on your weight, the duration and intensity of your walk, you will burn additional calories alongside your daily goal. This can help you with your weight loss, as long as you eat right, and there is a calorie deficit.
4. Tones your muscles and reduces fat
Depending on your body type, it is estimated that walking 1 mile can burn up to 100 calories! Also, you have to walk or powerwalk either briskly; a simple stroll won’t do it.
When you exercise, your body works hard to gain energy and kickstart your metabolism, burning into your fat reserves. If you’re looking to shift that extra bit of weight and walk briskly for 30 minutes each day, who knows what you could achieve?
5. More oxygen
When you walk, your lung capacity increases, and as a result, more oxygen is inhaled. Which then travels around your bloodstream and gets to your muscles. This allows you to gain more aerobic energy.
6. Regulates depression
When you walk, your brain releases a natural opiate called endorphins. During exercise, these react with your brain receptors, serving as a natural pain killer.
It often reduces the amount of the stress hormone cortisol, which is produced. Too much cortisol or those feeling highly depressed can often binge or overeat. This means that if you walk regularly, it may positively affect you, causing you to eat less.
7. Speeds up your metabolism
Walking is a form of aerobic exercise. This means your heart and lungs are working harder to get oxygen to supply to your body. When you are walking, you will be breathing in more oxygen, allowing it to go to all body areas.
In regards to your metabolism, though, every muscle in your body has a set of basal cells. The faster they convert the glucose oxygen and transform it into energy, the higher your metabolism will be, preventing weight gain.
8. Improves your joints
Now another positive effect of walking is that it helps your joint pain. You may be thinking, how does this have anything to do with weight loss? Well, regular periods of 30 minutes walks will enable more blood to flow and circulate in your body.
One area in particular it reaches is your cartilage, which serves as a protector for your bones, joining them and strengthening them. Likewise, it triggers your joints’ fluid to move, lubricate them, and prevents inflammation or stiffness.
Because of this, this can allow you to participate in other exercises that go alongside walking. If you’re trying to achieve weight loss, it’s always best to change up your routine now and again.
9. Improves your digestion
If you walk regularly, its often said that your digestion process becomes quicker. More specifically, time is taken from the food from your stomach to get to your small intestine. This allows for speedier digestion rates with fewer chances of heartburn.
10. Reduces Inflammation
Walking every day reduces your inflammation, a study was run, which collected data from 47 people walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes. Before and after their session, they had their blood samples taken.
After exercise, they discovered their cells had a 5% decrease in the number of immune cells that made a TNF protein. Therefore if you do it regularly, it could lead to more reduced inflammation.
11. Strengthens your bones
Regular walking has shown to increase your bone strength, which reduces your chances of brittle bones or fractures. This means you’re less likely to get an injury to stop you from exercise. As if you’re out of practice, you could gain weight.
12. Lowers risk of type 2 diabetes
Regular walking increases insulin sensitivity to cells allowing your blood sugar levels to be controlled from less insulin. If you have a build-up of excess insulin from a lack of exercise, you could put yourself at risk of becoming insulin resistant. As a result, excess insulin can build up in your bloodstream, causing you to gain weight.
13. Helps Lower your cholesterol
When you’re overweight, its often assumed you have high amounts of an enzyme known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in your bloodstream.
When you exercise consistently, such as walking, it helps stimulate other enzymes to move LDL from the bloodstream to the liver and then bile and then out of your body.
How to walk for weight loss
Now you know the benefits of why walking is perfect for weight loss, let’s see if you can implement them. Follow these (X) steps on how to walk for weight loss.
1. Walk in the morning
It’s often recommended to walk for weight loss, that you walk first thing in the morning. Walking just after you’ve woken up speeds your metabolism, as you’re already in a calorie deficit for the day.
Your glycogen levels decrease during your sleep, which means your body burns into your fat reserves to get energy for your walks.
2. Stick to brisk walks
A simple stroll every day, won’t do it to lose weight. Just like all exercise, you will need to raise your heartbeat and get your body sweating.
The way to do this is through brisk walking, walking at a faster pace. To define what a brisk walk is, it’s a walk with a speed between strolling and a light jog.
3. Change up your routine
Even though we just mentioned brisk walking would help you lose weight, you will eventually hit a plateau if you walk at the same pace every day. Your body gets used to the same rate if you walk it regularly.
So now and again, you will need to switch up your pace and the terrain you walk on to make your body feel like it needs to work harder. Or, if you’re stuck for different routes, try changing your pace between brisk walking and slow walking on your walk.
4. Move your arms
When walking, it’s beneficial to swing your arms. As this allows you to gain balance and composure, as well as a good workout. The reason is that arm swinging targets the upper part of your body and will enable you to burn more calories.
To implement this, you can raise your arms 90 degrees and use your shoulders. Make sure when you’re swinging them, the movement is natural, and your wrist goes to the center of your chest.
5. Add hills into your walks
Varying the terrain on your walks allows your body to go into shock, making your muscles work harder to complete. This is the case if you add in hills to your walking routine.
As you’re targeting your knees, calves, and thighs, you get a better leg work out. Therefore if you implement hills into your walks frequently, you will most likely have more toned legs.
6. Add in dumbbells to your walks
No doubt, when you’re walking, you will burn calories. However, to add to your calorie-burning, you can add in dumbbells to your walk if you’re confident enough. This serves as an extra way to increase your calories when walking.
7. Attempt backward walking
Have you ever walked backward for a set period? If not, you should consider changing up your walking routine now and again, to walk backward.
Doing so is that walking backward involves more attention from our conscious and targets different muscles in our legs.
8. Keep a walking diary/track your walks
If you’re using walking as the sole exercise for weight loss, you will want to keep a note of the walks you undergo. You can easily do this through a free app for your smartphones such as Map My Walk or My Fitness Pal.
These apps work with your GPS, covers the number of steps and distance you’ve covered. As a result, it can also calculate your calorie expenditure based on your BMI.
If you want to work harder towards a more significant weight goal, you can look back on a previous walk and know what you need to achieve to work harder. It also helps you identify which routes cause higher calorie burn and to lose weight.
9. Get a fitness tracker/smartwatch
We can all get up in the life’s hustle and bustle. This means sometimes; it’s easy for us to forget to implement exercise into our daily regimes.
Having a smartwatch on our wrist serves as a fantastic reminder to get moving each day, even at the office. You can set a daily step count, causing you to get walking in the house or office, to be more active and burn calories.
10. Have a walking buddy
Sometimes if you walk on your own, you can lose the incentive to walk for weight loss. If you have a walking buddy with a similar goal to yours, this can motivate you to walk more frequently. Having a walking buddy, you will be less likely to decline, as you’ve made that commitment to them.
11. Drink green tea after your walk
A study was conducted which showed the effects of participants who drank a sports drink after exercise. Then they got them to swap it for green tea after exercise. As a result, they found those who drank green tea after training were more likely to burn more fat than a sports drink.
12. Drink more water
In addition to the green tea, drinking more water can help you increase your calorie expenditure. Another study was conducted, getting participants to drink two tall glasses of water after exercise.
As a result, their metabolic rate increased by 30%, which led to the researchers estimating that if you increase your intake by 1.5 liters a day, you could burn an additional 17,400 calories per year. Could you imagine adding that to your walks, think about how many calories you could burn?
13. Make sure you have a calorie deficit
The only way to lose fat is to have a calorie deficit. This means more calories outgoing than incoming. An excellent way to monitor this is by using My Fitness Pal.
This allows you to record your calories and track your food calories. It even scans the barcodes of your food! As a result, it has a formula at the top, which shows if you’re in a deficit. So, don’t eat more than your body burns in the day.
14. Eat healthy foods immediately after walking
After you walk, its important you put fuel back into your body. Therefore, you will want to eat healthy foods such as fruit, nuts, or grains. This helps restore your glycogen levels and reduce your protein breakdown, allowing fat to turn into muscle.
There you have it, 13 reasons why walking is perfect for weight loss. However, to lose weight walking, you have to consider other factors such as your diet and how regular you walk.
Remember to change up your routine and walk at a brisk pace. We also suggest tracking your walks using an app or diary.
This way, you can see what works well and doesn’t for you.