Can walking help me lose weight?
I have heard it time and time again...
"You need to run if your goal is weight loss"
But not everyone is able to endure the constant pounding of the pavement and stress to the joints. Does this mean they are doomed to a life of overweight?
Walking can be one of the best, low cost (free unless you count the cost of a good pair of sneakers) and low impact methods to burn calories, melt fat and even decrease stress and improve sleep. Allow me to break it down for you and then give you a few tips on how you get get the most out of your steps.
Walking burns calories
The human body requires calories to work. This of it like gas in a car. You fuel up on the right kind of calories and throughout a day, your body will use those calories to function (heart beat, respiration, getting ready for work, going for a walk) The more intense or vigorous your activity, the more calories it will require.
Walking burns fat
Your heart rate has zones where the benefits differ. When you have a particular goal, such as weight loss, it is important to know which zone you are aiming for and then calculate and track during your activity. Using the chart below, you can see that light activity (like walking) is your fact burning zone.
You can calculate your Light Activity heart rate zone (the number of beats your heart takes in a minute) with a little quick math:
Now that you have this information, you can set a goal to remain in this target rate zone. In doing so, your body will be programmed to draw calories from stored fat to fuel your workout Cool...right?
But wait...there's more!
Now you cannot just go out and burn those calories and think you now have license to eat whatever you want. Too often I see clients say things like "I walked 5 miles today, I totally earned that extra glass of wine and cheese pizza".
Those calories you are burning help you lose weight because you have caused a Calorie Deficit".
Your body requires a certain amount of calories a day to keep it running like the fine tuned machine it was designed to be. If you are overfilling your tank, the body naturally stores those extra calories as fat., totally defeating the purpose of that walk! Consuming fewer calories than your body requires means it needs to find stored fuel...so it pulls from previously stored fat...FAT BURNING!!!
So in order for all of this to work the way you are hoping you will need to:
Lots of great information here for you to begin testing and trying. Your body is a machine that requires upkeep, maintenance and fuel. It is your body and your responsibility. It does not take hours at a gym or a tediously exhausting run. Setting aside 30 minutes to an hour each day for a walk will get you on track to a healthy body and lifestyle.
Now get out there and get moving!
I'm Liz. Mom, wife, teacher, Health Coach. My passion lies in everything health and wellness. When new research and trends pop up, you can bet I am finding the best resources to information, weeding out the not so good and making the great easy to digest. From meal planning and recipes to exercise and mindfulness, wellness touches upon so many dimensions. Your path to optimal health is out there and I can help you find it.