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Walking for Weight Loss – A Beginnerâ??s Guide

Walking is one of the simplest ways to get active. It requires very little equipment, and it can be done wherever you are. If you are already very active, walking is a great way to maintain fitness or keep exercising during rest days from a gym schedule. If you are completely inactive, then walking is the perfect place to start. Walking for weight loss is a simple, easy way to get moving more and burn more calories. It is really effective if combined with a healthy balanced diet.

How to Start Walking for Weight Loss

Increase your walking time each day
The best way to start walking for weight loss is to simply increase the amount of time you spend walking each day. If it feels daunting to go for a long walk, then begin small by doing multiple very short walks through the day. Perhaps just a 10-minute walk in your own neighborhood or something as simple as parking further away from the store when you go to do some shopping. You could be surprised how these little walks add up over the course of the day. This will help you to build up your confidence and begin to improve your fitness so that you feel more able to take on longer, more challenging walks.

Preparing for a Walk

Women stretching before going walking for weight loss
It really helps to do some stretches before heading out for a walk. You might think that only those who are planning to run need to warm up, but a few simple stretches of the legs and back can help you limber up and get ready for the walk. Always remember to take a bottle of water with you, too, as it is important to stay hydrated, especially if you are walking in hot weather.

Smartphone Apps and Walking for Weight Loss

Man using his smartphone health app to count his steps each day
If you have a smartphone, it may have a built-in selection of health-related tools, including a step counter (or pedometer). A step counter is an excellent tool in helping you to monitor how many steps you take each day. You may be surprised to find how easy it is to boost this number each day by leaving the car behind, having a quick stroll around the park at lunchtime, or taking a longer route on a regular walk. Smartphone apps are available to count steps, track your distance, motivate and inspire you; it is well worth exploring what is available to you and making use of free resources that can keep you moving.

Does Walking Really Help Weight Loss

Calories are burnt each step run/walked up steps
All movement burns calories. Walking is a low-impact exercise and will not burn as many calories as going to the gym, taking part in a sport, or faster movements such as jogging or running. However, walking is still excellent exercise, and it is ideal if you are unfit, recovering from injury, or nervous about exercising. It can also be the first step towards more intense exercise. The number of calories you will burn while walking depends on your fitness level, your weight, and how fast you walk. If you are overweight and are walking for weight loss, you will burn more calories through walking and will see a big difference when you make walking a regular habit.

Boosting Weight Loss When Walking

Dont look back just keep on walking for weight loss quote
There are three great ways to get better results, faster when walking for weight loss. The first is simply to walk more by increasing the time you spend walking each day. The second is to walk faster, and the third is to change the terrain you are walking in. Here are our top tips for boosting results when walking for weight loss:
  • As your fitness increases, gradually make each walk a little longer by adding just 2-3 minutes to the length of the walk each day or every couple of days. This is a manageable increase, but over the course of a week, this adds up to an extra 15-20 minutes. You will soon be walking further without even noticing. 
  • If you are tracking the number of steps you take, aim for a higher number of steps per day. Even just increasing your target by around 200 steps per day will give you well over a thousand extra steps per week. Over a few weeks, this could really boost your stamina and weight loss.
  • Increasing your speed is one of the best ways to boost your results. You should aim to be walking fast enough that you can feel the exertion, your heart rate should increase, and you should be breathing faster, but you should still be able to hold a conversation.
  • Consider building in some very short periods of jogging in your walk. This is one technique that people use to make the transition from walking to jogging; they walk for a minute or two and then jog for a short time; perhaps as little as 20 seconds to begin with. Then they return to a walking pace. When this feels easier, you can increase the time spent jogging. Even just one short jog in the middle of your walk can help boost your calorie burn and endurance.
  • Think about the terrain you are choosing for your walking. Walking for weight loss should begin with how you feel comfortable, and that might mean choosing flat routes, routes that have places you can stop and rest if you need to, or routes close to home so that you can go back if you need to. In time, you should look for tougher challenges; a route with some small hills is an excellent way to transition into the tougher walk. Keep pushing yourself and have a challenge in mind to work towards; a mountain hike or some rough terrain that will get your body working harder.

Walking for weight loss is a great way to make a big change to your life. Not only does walking help to shift those unwanted extra pounds, but it is also a good way to boost endorphins, those happy hormones. This gives you a feel-good feeling that offsets the stress in your life. So go on, get out and explore your local area, enjoy the fresh air and remember that every extra step is a step in the right direction.

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