Best Exercise to Lose Weight
You can lose weight without exercise, with just stretching or with exercise and better nutrition. The absolute best way to lose weight, keep it off and feel your best is to incorporate exercise into your daily routine and to eat healthy well-balanced meals that stay under the number of calories you need to maintain your current weight.
Walking affords you a safe exercise program that protects your joints, increases your metabolism, improves your cardiovascular health and improves your overall health. With all of these benefits to a fitness walking program, it’s no wonder that people are starting more exercise programs by walking and physicians recommend walking for their patients from age 10 to 100.
As you walk, you work muscles, joints and tendons. Walking requires the joints to be flexible to assist the legs with lifting, standing and moving. Without using walking in your daily program you can lose flexibility and increase your risk of arthritis or degenerative changes to the joints. While degenerative arthritis, or osteoarthritis, can be triggered by an abundance of weight bearing exercises that create excess stress on the joints, your joints can also lose their effectiveness when they are not used as well.
By staying physically active and walking a brisk 30 minutes each day you can easily burn an extra 150 calories each day during the walk. Of course, the faster you walk or the longer you walk, the more calories you’ll burn. It can be helpful to start walking on a treadmill at the gym to estimate how fast and for how long you’ll need to walk in order to burn off the number of calories you’d like to burn with each walk.
In order to lose 1 pound each week you’ll need an approximate 500 calorie loss each day. In other words, 1 pound is equal to an approximate 3500 calories. If you take in 500 less calories than you burn each day, you’ll lose 3500 calories in a week – or 1 pound of fat.
It is also important to remember that as you add muscle to your body frame, it weighs slightly more than fat does. Pay close attention to how your clothes fit you and how your body looks, and not just on the numbers on the scale in your bathroom.
It is also important to balance the amount of exercise you get with stretching, flexibility and rest. If you are new to regular exercise it is important to start slow so you reduce your potential for injury and soreness that might stop your program.
As you begin to lose weight each week, you’ll find that become more motivated to continue your walking program and continue to lose even more weight. Once you have achieved your goal weight, it’s important not to revert to your old ways of eating and living, but instead continue to eat well balanced meals, watch your caloric intake and go for an invigorating walk daily. People who maintain their weight loss over a long period of time are those who continue a walking program and continue to eat a healthy diet.
In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, scientists examined the independent effts of walking on long-term weight control and found that walking reduced the amount of weight gained by the participants over a 15 year period of time. The greatest benefits were to women who were the heaviest at the beginning of the study.
In addition to those results the examiners also found that the greater amount of time walked, on average, yielded better results in the women’s lives. The authors reported an association between walking and weight change and fond that the higher walking levels – or amounts of time and energy expended – were associated with a greater likelihood of weight loss and maintaining that loss. (1)
Fast paced walking with healthy eating is hugely effective to lose weight – no matter who you are, how much weight you have to lose, or whether you can only manage to walk 1 or 2 blocks before being completely out of breath. It doesn’t take an Olympic sized exercise program to lose weight, but it does take a bit of time and some effort.
If you’ve already been taking daily walks then it might not be the walking that’s the problem, but rather the pace at which you are walking. Daily strolls are far different from fast paced walking. You don’t need to be a race walker, but you do need to raise your heart rate.
(1) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Further Evidence for the Benefits of Walking
fitSugar: How to Walk off 10 pounds
Woman’s Day: Weight Loss Transformations: How I walked Myself Slim
Reader’s Digest: 16 Ways to Lose Weight Walking
MayoClinic: Walking: IS it enough for weight loss
FitDay: Understanding Weight lOss How to Lose 20 Pounds by Walking