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Walking for weight loss: Explanation, benefits and process

Team AckoNov 8, 2022

Regular walking can help you shed extra fat and maintain body weight. Also, it offers an array of health benefits and, eventually, helps lead a healthy life. Read on to know how you can lose weight by walking regularly. This in-depth article also covers some frequently asked questions you might have related to walking for weight loss.

Walking For Weight Loss

Contents

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Can you really lose weight by walking?

Walking is one of the easiest exercises that eliminate some extra fat. Well, how much weight you can lose depends upon some factors, which are as follows.

  • How long do you walk

  • Your pace of walking

  • Your diet intake

  • Your present weight

The combination of diet along with walking helps you achieve weight loss faster. So, you can count on a calorie-deficit diet and cut calories to control your weight. Studies also suggest consuming fewer calories if your goal is to lose weight. 

From research published in the Journal of Nutrition, it was noted that people who indulged in walking regularly for 12 weeks and had a diet that contained fewer calories noticed a good amount of fat loss than those who just consumed fewer calories. Also, these people had healthy drops in fasting insulin levels as compared to those who did not count on walking.

Your body burns more calories when you walk more. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), a person weighing 70 kg can burn 280 calories an hour by walking at a moderate pace (5.6 km per hour). In general, the average walking pace for adults is 4.8 km per hour. This means you can expend more calories by walking faster. As a result, you can lose weight quickly.

Health benefits of walking regularly

The advantages of walking on a regular basis are potent and effective that can lend a hand in achieving a healthier life. Listed below are the top 3 health benefits of walking daily. 

1. Walking helps lose belly fat

Before you ask, is spot reduction possible? First things first! Spot reduction is not possible. You cannot burn fat from the abdominal area only. However, when you consider walking, you can shed overall weight, including belly fat. Several studies elaborate on the effectiveness of aerobic exercise, such as walking, in reducing belly fat. 

2. Walking helps maintain weight

People usually shed extra weight by doing light exercise regularly, such as walking. However, some of them end up regaining it over time. This is because they counted on a calorie deficit diet and walked for a short period of time. 

Fitness is a journey and not a destination. That said, regular exercise is a key player that helps you maintain your weight loss. A study suggests that indulging in moderate-intensity exercises, such as walking for at least 150 minutes per week, can help maintain a stable weight. That means you can keep weight off by walking more throughout the day. 

3. Walking helps preserve lean muscles

There is no doubt that people lose weight by cutting calories. But apart from losing body fat, they also lose some muscles. Regular walking can counter this issue by preserving some muscle mass after weight loss. Further, lean muscles minimise the drop in metabolic rate, which occurs as a result of losing body fat. This means muscle mass makes it easy for you to keep extra weight off your body.

Also, having good lean muscle helps protect against bones becoming thinner in old age. Walking regularly aids in reducing age-related muscle loss and retaining muscle strength in later years. 

4. Other health benefits of walking

Walking regularly for 30 to 60 minutes helps you lose overall weight and maximises your well-being. Here's a list of the myriad health benefits you get from walking on a daily basis.

  • Improved mood, memory, and sleep

  • Strengthened immune system

  • Decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol

  • Increased HDL (good) cholesterol 

  • Improved cardiovascular fitness

  • Decreased blood pressure

In a nutshell, regular brisk walking offers you an enhanced quality of life.

How to walk to lose weight fast

By now, you already know that you can lose weight by counting on regular walks. Now, you might be thinking, when should you walk? Well, you can walk in the morning, afternoon, evening or at night, whenever you like. There is no strict rule that you have to walk in the early morning only. However, mentioned below are the two factors that you need to keep in mind when commencing your journey of losing weight. 

1. Pick up your pace

If you are just setting off with a regular walk, then make sure to pick up your speed slowly. Walking fast right away can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue, and soon, you will lose motivation. For the first 2 to 3 days, start by Walking for 10 to 15 minutes at a comfortable pace. 

You can increase the duration and frequency once you notice that you no longer feel tired. At this time, you can even increase the intensity. It is imperative to note that you consider your age and fitness levels prior to increasing your pace. Young people can slowly level up their frequency every week. But older people should increase the duration after every 2 to 4 weeks. This will help prevent injury. 

2. Number of steps

A study found that healthy adults can take 4,000 to 18,000 steps per day, where 10,000 steps per day is a reasonable step count. 

Further, if you take less than 5,000 steps per day, then it means your activity level is very low. Whereas, 7,500 to 9,999 steps per day are considered average. Those who take more than 12,500 steps per day are considered to be very active. 

As mentioned above, you do not have to start walking at high speed. You must listen to your body and increase your steps accordingly. However, you should have a goal to take a certain number of steps in a day to boost your weight loss journey. 

3. Focus on your form and posture

It is indispensable that you maintain the right form as well as posture while walking. Here are some of the ways to help you correct your form. 

  • Stand up straight and do not slouch. Also, do not lean. But you can lean slightly forward while walking uphill or downhill.

  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and glutes. 

  • Roll your shoulders up and back and relax. This will help reduce the tension in your upper body. 

  • Swing your arms back and forth freely. 

  • Walk smoothly and do not bounce along. This will reduce the risks of injury. 

These walking techniques can not only help you build strength but also keep you injury free.

Frequently asked questions

Listed below are some commonly asked questions regarding walking for weight loss.

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What happens when you start walking every day?

You might be able to lose body fat, maintain a healthy weight and prevent several health conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, etc. when you walk regularly. 

What should we do to cool down after walking?

Walk slowly for 5 to 10 minutes when you are about to end the walk. Once you are done with the walk, do some light stretches such as calf stretches and hip flexor stretches. This will help your muscles cool down.

What should I eat before going for a walk?

You can have a light snack before going for a walk. Consider drinking a cup of milk, or eating a small whole fruit, or munching on a handful of nuts. Make sure you do not go out for a walk with an empty stomach.

Can we walk immediately after eating?

Yes, you can walk within 60 to 90 minutes after eating a meal or light snack.

References

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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