Consistent physical exercise is foundational to any weight loss journey, regardless of your current health or the goals you’re pursuing.
When paired with a healthy diet, physical exercise can help people from all walks of life maintain a healthy weight while creating long-term, sustainable habits to improve their lives.
Creating a consistent exercise routine takes time and commitment, and giving yourself grace is essential as you find the forms of exercise that work for your body and your lifestyle.
Fortunately, there are so many ways to get physical exercise, and walking outside or on a treadmill is one of the most common ways people choose to work out.
This post explores the many benefits of walking for weight loss and why it’s such a popular form of exercise for people of all different ages, sizes, and backgrounds.
Key benefits of walking for weight loss
As you explore walking for weight loss and maintenance, there are important benefits you should know about.
While walking comes highly recommended by medical professionals, it’s also a popular choice for athletes, those recovering from injury, and everyone in between. Let’s explore why this form of physical activity is so widely embraced and what positives it can bring to your journey.
Metabolism boost & burning calories
Metabolism plays a role in weight loss; it’s defined as how your body uses energy or burns calories. Unfortunately, we don’t have total control over our metabolism, which is partially related to genetics and our health history.
However, some of your metabolism can be controlled by lifestyle and the activities you perform regularly. The more movement you participate in during the day, including physical exercise like walking, the faster your metabolism works. Building consistent daily habits that include more movement, whether taking a walk during lunch or walking for 30 minutes after work in the evening, will contribute to a faster metabolism.
A high or faster metabolism means your body will burn calories during movement and while your body is resting. This is an ideal scenario for weight loss because your body is still working even when you’re no longer exercising. Weight loss is much more attainable if you burn more calories than you consume.
Sustainable and low-impact
Many choose to add walking to their exercise routine because it’s low impact and easy on the body. Regular walking at a moderate pace usually doesn’t add any strain to your muscles or joints, particularly the hips, ankles, and knees.
Walking offers minimal risk of injury, unlike other high-intensity cardio exercises like cycling or running. It’s also a more sustainable method if you want to work out for longer periods of time; you can walk longer or farther without overexerting yourself.
Many individuals add a few walks a week to their workout routine as a way to let their body recover; you control the pace, the distance, and the duration, making it a very sustainable form of exercise, whether you’re power walking or just strolling with a friend or your dog.
The body needs cardiovascular exercise to maintain a robust and healthy heart. Engaging in regular cardio exercise can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of disease, and even reduce inflammation throughout the body, all by strengthening and exercising the heart!
Cardiovascular exercises range from high intensity like jump rope, boxing, rowing, and running to lower impact exercises like hiking, walking, and swimming. You don’t have to push your body to its limits to get a great cardio workout. Moderate or brisk walking is a fantastic way to get the heart pumping, improve blood flow, lower cholesterol, and much more.
General health and well-being
Whether you’re on a committed weight loss journey or just looking for new exercises to maintain your weight, physical exercise, like walking, is a great way to take care of the body and the mind.
Some people take long walks to free their thoughts, gain new perspectives, and even meditate. By getting fresh air or a change of scenery, many experience a change in outlook or even the “runner’s high” without engaging in high-intensity cardio exercises.
It’s no secret that physical exercise of any kind can significantly impact your mood. During exercise, the human body releases adrenaline and endorphins, which are known to improve mood and stress levels.
Additionally, regular physical exercise like walking has been shown to improve the quality of sleep, particularly for middle-aged and older adults.
Experts recommend anyone over 18 get at least 7 hours of quality sleep every night so the body can recharge and repair itself so you can wake up energized, healthy, and ready to take on the day!
As you add more cardio workouts to your weekly schedule, ensure you stay hydrated. As your body works harder and sweats more during your workouts, your body will need more water to function properly. As a general rule of thumb, experts recommend men drink 125 ounces of water each day, and women drink 91 ounces per day.
How many calories does walking burn?
According to Mayo Clinic, 30 minutes of brisk walking can help you burn at least 150 calories per day. The farther you go and the faster your speed is, the more calories you’ll burn along the way.
Many wearable devices will help you track these metrics, regardless of where you are on your journey to wellness. Whether you’re training for an event or setting a weight loss goal for yourself, having a supportive device can help you achieve those goals by tracking your progress along the way.
How often and how far should I walk?
Depending on your current physical health and if you want to lose weight by walking, most experts recommend starting with slow-paced walks for a short, manageable distance.
Start by going for 2–3 walks per week for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You can add time and distance to your walks as you build endurance and muscle strength. Before you know it, you'll be walking 30 minutes a day and loving every minute of it.
Keep your health a priority with the Evidation app
Walking is a low-impact and enjoyable way to add physical exercise to your daily routine. Is weight loss from walking possible? Most definitely! Starting small and creating healthy, sustainable exercise habits takes time and commitment, but with apps like Evidation in your corner to track your progress, you’ll be achieving your goals in no time. Download the app today and get started on your health and wellness journey!