Walking – An Effective Tool for Weight Loss and Maintenance

By Western Berks on December 30th, 2015

The simplest exercise available is placing one foot in front of the other and walking. Because this is something we do every day, it is often overlooked as a valuable tool for weight loss. A 140-pound person walking at a moderate pace for 20 minutes will burn approximately 92 calories while increasing heart rate, thus making walking a very effective form of exercise.

If you are just beginning a walking program, try warming up with slow-to-moderate five-minute walking sessions, increasing the pace for a total of 30 minutes of walking. Do this three times per week, and soon it will be fairly easy to increase your pace and endurance to a brisk walk, defined as walking approximately 3.5 miles per hour. To add intensity, involve the arms by keeping them at a 90-degree angle and pumping them up and down with each step. For more of a challenge, try walking on sand or uphill. This will significantly increase your heart rate for a bonus cardio workout.

If the idea of walking seems uninspiring, try these suggestions:

 

  • Invite a friend or take a dog along. This will help pass the time and enliven your step.
  • Consider joining a walking group. A fun and social way to exercise, groups can be found in most towns and cities across the country. When the weather gets less agreeable, groups often walk in shopping malls.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes and make sure to keep hydrated, taking a sip of water every 10 minutes.
  • For motivation, use a small pedometer that displays calories burned, distance covered and minutes walked.

 

Aim for a one- to two-pound weight loss goal per week. Statistics show that weight loss occurs more rapidly during the first few weeks of a new walking program. Although results may taper off afterward, stick with it. Keep those legs moving, and watch those pounds slowly melt away—safely and effectively.