Walking to Lose Weight

When we consider ramping up our exercise regime, or even embarking upon a new plan, we can hinder ourselves with all sorts of excuses… limited funds, hectic schedules and other health issues crop up regularly. But, when it comes to the option of walking, no excuse stands up to scrutiny! Walking is the cheapest, easiest exercise to weave into our daily life, and it’s the least strenuous form of exercise as well.

Why Walk?

  • Stamina and energy levels are enhanced
  • Blood flow and circulation are improved
  • The heart and lungs become more healthy
  • Cholesterol dissipates, while blood pressure is lowered
  • Excess weight and body fat comes is reduced
  • The strain of everyday life is diminished

How Much, How Often and Where?

These questions are all answered on an individual basis, but walking can be introduced to any lifestyle and any budget.

Ideally you should set a target of 10,000 steps a day; this may sound like a forbiddingly high number, but you should think about the number of steps you already take on a daily basis. You almost certainly walk to the kitchen at least once, to the car several times, the bathroom at least twice, around the office on numerous occasions – and all around the house chasing your naughty kids! You can invest in a pedometer to gauge the distance you’re walking, or you can just simply make an educated guess. Ten minutes of walking generally entails around 1,000 steps.

Walking five times a week is a decent and attainable target, especially if for those looking to shed weight and increase cardiac flow. First, you’ll want to gauge your resting heart rate; then utilise our target heart rate calculator to find out the rate your heart needs to reach to secure optimum benefit from your walking routine. A brisk 30-minute walk equates to around 3,000 steps, and you’ll shed around 300 to 400 calories. Augment this with a sensible diet and you’ve got a sound slimming strategy which costs you nothing.

One of the most common excuses people use for not exercising is lack of time. But, if you ever consider this excuse, just look at it this way: How much longer does it take to choose a car park slightly further away, so you can get a few more steps in? How much time will you lose if you walk a couple of times round your office building at lunchtime, rather than just sitting in front of your computer?

Life throws up many walking opportunities we simply don’t take advantage of. Instead of sitting there, twiddling your thumbs or playing with your phone while your child is at karate, you can go for a power walk; instead of getting the bus all the way home, you can get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way; instead of letting your dog get bored and dig up the garden, you can take him for a long walk; and, instead of braving the school run, you can walk your kids to school.

Walk Wise

Contrary to widespread belief, to reap the benefits of walking you don’t have to adopt the extreme approach of a power walker, swinging your arms wildly and outpacing the joggers with a superfast stride. By taking it one stage at a time, and gradually raising the bar until you’ve reached your goal, you can achieve top results; by adding 1,000 steps a week, you’ll be at 10,000 a day before you know it!