Forget over-priced gym memberships.
You can easily lose weight walking.
And it couldn’t come at a better time.
A journal published by the NHS in March this year reported that in 2015:
58% of women and 68% of men are overweight or obese.
People in the UK are now 20% less active than they were in the 1960’s.
On average, we walk 24km, or 15 miles LESS a year than two decades ago.
That’s a LOT of steps!
And according to “Public Health England”, more than four in ten adults aren’t even managing 10 minutes of continuous brisk walking in one month!
It’s also estimated that physical inactivity in adults contributes to one in six deaths in the UK.
“If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking” – Zen proverb.
Why You’ll Lose Weight Walking:
1. You Become a Fat Burning Machine
According to Dr. Edward Coyle of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute low-intensity exercise (such as walking) will burn mostly fat for energy, but as you start to train harder, you’ll switch to burning more carbohydrates.
This is exciting news. Many are unable to push thier bodies to the limits, so walking makes perfect sense.If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking - Zen ProverbClick To Tweet
2. Walking Beats Other Forms of Exercise
Research from the London School of Economics concluded that brisk walking for half an hour for five days a week beats running, swimming and hitting the gym.
Dr. Lordan, who headed up the research team reported that:
“Given the obesity epidemic and the fact that a large proportion of people in the UK are inactive… The results thus provide an argument for a campaign to promote walking”.
Why the findings are more pronounced for women and those over 50 remains a mystery.
3. Walking is Part of Our Evolution and Origin
From fins to limbs, we evolved so that we could walk. Spliced into our genes, evolution equipped us with the ability to walk on two legs.
So when if you want to lose weight walking, you can’t really be doing it wrong! There are no complicated moves to master.
Furthermore, walking involves no financial commitment – it’s free, enjoyable and already a part of your lifestyle.
4. You’re Less Likely to Quit
Walking doesn’t require much motivation.
It won’t leave you exhausted and it’s easy to fit into your daily routine.
Choosing an exercise that you not only enjoy, but also one that you’ll stick at, is crucial when it comes to losing weight.
I go for a walk every morning. It’s my favorite time of day and gives me the motivation to get out of bed.
Walking clears my mind, energizes my body, sets me up for the day and allows me the time to be grateful for all the blessings in my life.
See also: 11 Yoga Poses for Weight Loss
5. Walking Improves Your Health and Fitness
Aside from the health benefits below, when people lose weight walking, it lowers blood pressure, cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of diabetes.
Therefore, the healthier and fitter you feel, the more likely you are to exercise.
But That’s Not All…Walking Has Many Other Health Benefits:
1. Improves Blood Flow
Researchers at the University of Colorado discovered that those who lose weight walking, help to prevent peripheral artery disease – a painful condition which impairs blood flow in the legs.
2. Walking Boosts Immunity
Want to avoid colds and flu?
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School revealed that people who walked each day suffered a quarter fewer colds than their sedentary counterparts.
3. Walking Boosts Vitamin D
Also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’.
And when you lose weight walking, this exposes your skin to natural light.
As soon as the sun’s UV rays hit your skin, a reaction takes place that produces vitamin D.
In conclusion: just 10 – 15 minutes in the midday sun in t-shirt and shorts is sufficient to give you 10,000 IU’s of vitamin D.
4. Guards Against Brittle Bones
Because walking is a weight-bearing exercise, it can also help prevent osteoporosis.
Lucy Knight, author of Walking for Weight Loss says:
“Bones are like muscles in the way that they get stronger and denser the more demands you place on them. The pull of a muscle against a bone, together with the force of gravity when you walk, will stress the bone – which responds by stimulating tissue growth and renewal.”
Related: Strength Training Guide for Women
5. Strengthens your Heart
According to WebMD, walking is a form of aerobic exercise.
This form of physical activity increases your heart rate, strengthens your heart, and brings more oxygen and nutrients to your organs.
6. Walking Beats Depression
Walking makes you feel good about yourself 🙂
Its effects rival those of antidepressants in head-to-head studies.
Simply three to four times a week for 30 minutes has been scientifically proven to help people beat the blues.
In fact, a 20-minute power walk for six weeks could be comparable to a course of psychotherapy, psychologists at the University of Illinois discovered.
7. Prevents Dementia
Neurologists at Jacksonville, Florida’s Mayo Clinic, found that taking a 20-minute walk each day could cut the risk dementia by a whopping 40%!
Dr. Jay Van Gerpen, a neurologist involved in the study, believes that:
“Walking is a window to the brain.”
Not only does walking lower the risk of dementia but also can slow its progress in those already suffering.
Similar effects were also observed with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
“Walking is man’s best medicine” – Hippocrates.
8. Walking Gives you Energy
It may seem counter-intuitive but expending energy, increases your energy.
In fact, a walk is better than a nap for boosting energy and fighting fatigue.
“A lot of times when people are fatigued, the last thing they want to do is exercise,” says researcher Patrick O’Connor, PhD. “But if you’re physically inactive and fatigued, being just a bit more active will help,” says O’Connor, co-director of the University of Georgia exercise psychology laboratory.
9. Relieves Back Pain
10% of the world’s population suffers from back pain.
And if you’re one of them…walking may hold the key.
Regular walks have proved more effective against crippling back pain than many conventional treatments.
10. Walking Improves Posture
What’s the point of a good figure if you’re not holding it properly?
Poor posture can lead to a host of muscular and skeletal problems.
When you’re walking, hold your head up and fix your gaze on the horizon or at least a good 10 feet ahead of you.
Also, try to avoid staring at the ground (unless you’re on challenging terrain).
Keep your shoulders rearwards and relaxed.
Lastly, imagine that you’re being pulled up by an invisible cord attached to the top of your head.
11. Increases Flexibility
Each stride you take, elongates the hip flexor and psoas (groin) muscles on the trailing leg.
Over time, these muscles can become particularly stiff due to a lifetime of sitting.
Want to stretch out your hips more?
Simple…take longer strides.
What’s more, walking on an incline will also stretch your calf muscles, while swinging your arms will stretch your biceps and shoulders.
Related: 10 Yoga Poses for Flexibility
12. Walking Affects Your DNA
A new study from the American Heart Association revealed that walking for about an hour a day can slash the ‘obesity gene’ effects by up to 50%!
The exciting part?
Walking mostly targets your fat-burning genes (PPARG genes).
As you can see: walking brings many health benefits.
Now, let’s move onto…
How to Lose Weight Walking:
1. Every Step Counts
Walk faster and for longer, and you WILL lose weight.
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh recently revealed that overweight people who walked briskly for 30 to 60 minutes a day lost weight even if they didn’t change any other lifestyle habits.
2. Reduce Your Carbohydrates
Want to supercharge your fat burning?
Switch to a low carb diet.
We’ve already agreed that when you lose weight walking, this burns more fat than carbohydrates.
And if you want to increase this ratio even further then simply cut back on your carbs.
Try ditching breakfast cereal and get cracking instead – eggs make the perfect high-protein/low carb breakfast.
- 20 Ketogenic Recipes for Weight Loss
- How to Start a Ketogenic Diet for Beginners
- 18 Low Carb Meals to Lose Weight Fast
3. Where’s Best to Walk?
Top tip: vary the terrain.
Finding undulating, natural ground will greatly enhance your weight loss.
Forests, shorelines, woods, fields and hills are all perfect.
Live in a city?
Then seek out stairs, steps, slopes and slants.
Try the new craze of Mallercise (mall walking).
4. When’s Best to Walk?
Long-time readers will know about my fondness for early morning walks.
This time of the day is made magical by the best light and the shyest wildlife.
Morning walks fire up your metabolism first thing and will give you a tremendous sense of pride in yourself.
Aim to go before breakfast.
You’re already in a calorie deficit and your glycogen levels are drained overnight.
This means your body will use stored fat to fuel your walk.
Other good times are before meals and during your lunch break.
Just a two-minute walk of 40 minutes each working day will rack up 500 miles a year!
If you choose to walk when you arrive home from work, be sure to schedule a time and stick to it…otherwise, you’re more likely to forget.
“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day” – Henry David Thoreau.
Related: 10 Benefits of Morning Workouts
5. Choose the Right Shoes and Clothes
Make sure that you’re kitted out with suitable walking attire.
You don’t want a run of bad weather to ruin your chances of walking off belly fat.
6. Shake Up Your Morning Commute
Lately, most of us will do anything to get out of walking as a way to commute.
Whether it is taking the bus to work, riding the subway, or using the car to go grocery shopping, walking doesn’t even cross our minds.
So what can you do?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Park 5 minutes away from your destination and walk the remainder
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk to work
- Plan more active social engagements and family outings that involve walking
- Walk the mile or two to a friend or relative’s house
- If you must take public transport to work, walk to a bus or train stop a little further along the route
7. Use Green Tea
The caffeine in your morning pick-me-up is one of the few substances proven to increase metabolism and break down fat cells.
It’s also a central nervous system stimulant, which means you’re likely to walk faster and burn more fat without even realizing it.
And according to a Brazilian study, participants who drank 3 cups of green tea each week recovered faster from exercise.
Related: 25 Foods for DiabeticsTo leverage the effects of walking: vary the terrain, walk fast, lower your carbs and use coffeeClick To Tweet
8. Grab a Friend
Make it a date, because it’s great for motivation!
The support of a friend will keep you accountable and prevent excuses.
There are also plenty of groups you can join to help you lose weight walking..
Numerous studies confirm that a strong support group is crucial when trying to lose weight.
9. Drink Water on Your Walk
Did you know that drinking water can boost calorie burning by as much as 30% within 10 minutes?
Pair the fat burning effects of drinking water with walking and you’ll see results twice as fast.
10. Give Yourself a Thinking Project
It’s amazing what your brain can do when you take it for a walk!
“All truly great thoughts are achieved while walking” – Friedrich Nietzsche.
11. Listen to Music
Pop in your earphones and listen to music.
But not just any tunes:
Studies have shown that road users who listen to upbeat tracks drive faster and more aggressively.
And it’s the same with walking.
Listening to songs with upbeat tempos (75-130 BPM) not only match the natural rhythm of walking but will also push you to go harder and faster.
Enjoy a good yarn?
Why not try Audible?
Your first book is completely FREE.
You can choose from over 200,000 titles regardless of price, including the latest best sellers.
12. Vary Your Route
Pluck paths at random or reverse a familiar trail to avoid repetition.
Try and rotate a handful of walks involving different lengths, scenery, terrain, gradients, sights and sounds.
13. Grab a Pair of Dumbbells
Using a lightweight pair of dumbbells will require more energy as you walk and increase the number of calories you burn.
One to two pounds is ideal.
Any heavier will interfere with the natural mechanics and cadence of walking.
14. Take a Photo a Day
Resolve to record each walk with one photo and build a gallery of micro-moments.
It could be the same thing each day, or something different.
15. Fast or Slow?
It’s all good. You really can’t miss.
But if you want to turbo-charge how you lose weight walking, then you need to pick up the pace.
Research out of the University of Virginia performed a study pitting the ‘hare’ against the ‘tortoise’.
They found that the hares lost 5x more belly fat than their tortoise counterparts!
The hares also dropped more than 2 inches from their waistlines, melted 3x more fat from their thighs, shed 4x more body fat, and lost almost 8 pounds over 16 weeks…all without dieting!
Top tip: Vary your pace: try and work in a few extra fast spurts where you walk as fast as you can for 1 – 2 minutes.
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in” – John Muir.
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As always, thanks for reading. Please share if you found this post useful. Stay strong, Peter.
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