Walking to lose weight

Walking to Help Weight Loss Efforts

Weight loss is a struggle that is commonly experienced by many who live in industrialized nations and follow a standard Western diet.

Researchers have found that individuals who consume a plant-based diet have a significantly less risk for becoming obese. (1,2) Those who want to take off the extra weight are faced with a huge number of options for diet plans, supplementation and exercise programs.

No matter what claims are made by any of these programs the basic concept for weight loss means that an individual exists in a negative calorie balance. Basically this means that you make sure you eat less calories than you expend…..simple

Research has shown that  incorporating  exercise into any diet plan or weight reduction routine  will increase your chances of success. (3) One of the most commonly recommended exercises for people who are overweight is walking because it is gentle and a very non-threatening way of including exercise into a lifestyle where there was no exercise.

Some people find the thought of exercising totally debilitating. They watch others sweating profusely while pumping iron, running or doing aerobics and it is enough to put many people off and  make them turn and walk away.

However one of the greatest, the simplest and most convenient type of exercise does not require sweating, any extra equipment or going to the gym. Walking as a means of weight loss  will meet the goals of any weight loss program out there, while gently easing you into a routine that will improve your overall fitness and trim your waistline. (4)

Walking is something that we all do each and every day. But, learning to walk as an exercise routine and to improve fitness is different than the standard walk around the block. For example, a walking weight loss routine should be a sustained activity over 30 minutes. I personally do this each day when I walk my dogs and make sure I keep a steady pace.

You are most likely going to be walking outside, although Mall walking is just as effective and sometimes more social. Sustained walking is what is important, with arms swinging and blood moving faster than normal. Just remember to keep your normal gait as changing this  can sometimes place more stress on joints and muscles.

 Using supportive shoes to protect your feet, knees and hips is an important addition to your walking program. Although it could be tempting to use the old sneakers in the back of the closet that you use for mowing the lawn or wading through mud puddles, just be aware that these will lead to injury that will put you out of action  for weeks at a time. Also make sure you use well padded socks to prevent blisters and sores.

Always wear loose fitting clothing so that your arms and legs are not restricted. You might personally feel that you look better in tighter clothing, but remembering to keep your abdominal muscles tight the entire time you are walking will definitely decrease your enjoyment. I can tell you for certain from my experience in the fitness world that no one continues doing what they don’t like doing!

The great things about Walking is that  it’s  inexpensive, it’s peaceful and walking can be  fun when you do it with friends or a support partner. Even when you walk alone and I often walk alone, research shows that many creative and inventive solutions to problems will find their way into your brain as the blood flow increases and you are quiet and calm. When I get bogged down with issues I cannot resolve ..like fixing this blog!…I eave the laptop and take myself off walking. Many times when I return I have either had some new ideas or I have renewed my energy to fix the problem

If you aren’t able to walk with friends or a support partner then you can use music to continue to keep yourself motivated. Walking with music helps to pass the time more quickly,  it takes your mind off the task at hand and help you keep a good pace. Use a good pair of headphones that are comfortable in your ears for at least 30 minutes each day.

While walking with music may be fine, walking with a cell phone does not make good sense. You may be tempted to talk for those 30 to 45 minutes but you will also be increasing the amount of radiation to which you are exposed each day. Using a cell phone also decreases your awareness of your surroundings, which means you will not hear as many cars or see as many obstacles. You also may be tempted to walk slower so that you don’t sound out of breath to the person to whom you are speaking.

These walking routines should be an activity you enjoy and continue. Pace yourself so that you are comfortable. You will want to be slightly out of breath so your metabolism continues to increase, but not so out of breath you can’t hold a conversation.

Enjoy your time away from the house and away from other obligations clear your mind and increase your motivation. You’ll find you are more productive and less time while achieving your weight loss goals. This is the best of all worlds!

 

Resources

(1) Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: New Scientific Review Shows Vegetarian Diets Cause major Weight Loss Without Exercise or Calorie Counting
http://www.pcrm.org/media/news/new-scientific-review-shows-vegetarian-diets-cause
(2) Eastern Michigan University: Eastern Michigan Graduate’s Weight Managment Research Reveals New Findings for Vegetarian Diets
http://www.emich.edu/univcomm/releases/release.php?id=1320687835
(3) American Journal of Preventive Medicine: More Exercise, Eating Less Fat and Weight Loss Programs are In and Popular Diets are Out, Study Suggests
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120410093153.htm

(4) American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons: Exercise Walking
http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00419