Does walking for weight loss really work? The answer is a resounding "YES".It's an easy and inexpensive way to shed those extra pounds! And, the health benefits of walking are so much more than just weight loss.
It's one of the best 'starter' exercises for those of you who have never really exercised before (or haven't done so in a while). No special equipment (other than a pair of supportive walking shoes) and no special training is needed. And, one of the best things about walking for weight loss is that you can do it anywhere. If you want to kick it up a notch, there are many types of walking that can really challenge you.
It's wonderful to be able to walk outside. If you live someplace with sidewalks or scenic paths, lucky you. But if you don't, be creative. To read the inspiring story of Gary Todd, of Opelika, Ala., who lost 92 pounds and became a much happier person simply by walking around the perimeter of his yard every day, click here.
I know someone who trained for a half-marathon by strolling around and around the perimeter of a church parking lot each day. Someone else I know who began walking for weight loss started out by marching up and down his driveway over and over again - not boring at all if you're listening to motivating exercise music or a book on tape!
When outdoor walking is out of the question, go to the mall and walk. If you work in an office building, log some indoor miles during your lunch hour. If you'd prefer to walk at home, look online or in your local bookstore for videos on walking workouts. What could be easier? Buy a treadmill or join a gym that has them. But, as I said before, no special equipment is needed. Just look around. There's always someplace to walk, even if it's just back and forth or around and around.
One of the best suggestions I can make for beginners who want to start walking for weight loss is to get a pedometer. Put it on first thing in the morning and wear it all day. See how many steps you take in an average day. If you typically take less than 5,500 steps per day, you're sedentary! 8,500 steps or more means you're active. 10,000 steps means you're reaping the rewards of healthy exercise.
You have to have a starting point - just build on it. Just try to increase your steps each day (by 50? 100? - whatever you decide you can realistically do). After a few weeks or months you can realize your goal.
When you're wearing a pedometer, you really think about your activity level. And wearing one may prompt you to take more steps than you would without it. In fact, it has been shown that people who wear pedometers log about 2,000 additional steps per day (or about a mile - that translates into 100 or more calories burned). Please be sure to read my review of the most accurate pedometer (click on the link below).
One of the easiest ways to start building up your steps per day when you're walking for weight loss is to combine errands with activity - you can often kill two birds with one stone.
Are you able to safely walk to the post office or bank from your home or office?
If so, DO IT!
Park farther away from the store or your office than usual and walk the rest of the way. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Instead of sitting and talking during your breaks at work, get up and walk around - get your coworkers to join you.
And stop emailing those coworkers - get up and deliver your message in person, if possible. Or, how about getting a treadmill and putting it in front of the TV? Funny how we manage to find time to watch our favorite TV shows, but we can't find the time to exercise. Well, OK, watch those shows, but be moving at the same time.
So, how much do you really need to do to lose weight walking? Well, as I mentioned above, 12,000 steps over the course of your day will burn stored fat, build muscle (which will speed up your metabolism) and result in weight loss.
If you don't have a pedometer and want to set aside a designated chunk of time each day to walk, 30 to 60 minutes most days (at a moderate pace - you're breathing faster but can still carry on a conversation) will certainly help you lose weight (read more about the different types of exercise and how much you should get).
I encourage you to read my page of exercise tips as well as my ideas on getting the motivation to exercise. My two best take-aways from those pages? Commit yourself to an event and build a support network. If you haven't read those pages yet, do so now!
Not only is walking for weight loss effective, it can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, and stroke. Walking is the ultimate exercise. It's easy, inexpensive, enjoyable and almost anyone can fit it into their busiest day.
So, walk to lose weight and make walking part of your healthy lifestyle. Oh, and sign up for my newsletter where I offer even more lifestyle tips (and get in the running to win fabulous free products)!