Yes, you really can lose weight by walking! It's true! You don't need to always be doing super-intense workouts to burn some calories and shed some pounds. Walking is a wonderful, low-intensity, easy on the joints movement that shouldn't be underrated. Almost anyone can do it and no equipment is needed, Use it for some social interraction or just time to be alone. Take the time to destress, meditate and think on your day, your goals, and your worries.
So, here are a few things to remember as you implement this healthy habit:
Your body needs calories to generate the energy to breathe, move, think, and to function. If we consume too many calories, more than needed to perform those functions, we gain weight. The Journal of Nutrition has found that "when people were eating diets that contained fewer calories than usual, those who added walking to their programs saw additional loss in fat mass and had healthy drops in fasting insulin levels compared to people who just ate fewer calories."
On average, walking a mile will burn 100 calories. Increasing the intensity of your walk will burn even more calories so try walking on routes with hills or slight inclines. It's also super helpful to walk in intervals. Walking Coach Michele Stanten says, "The best way to take off extra weight is to challenge yourself with intervals—periods of faster walking interwoven with periods of slower walking. Research has found that interval walkers lose more weight than people who just go the same speed all the time.
How much weight you can lose varies from person to person, due to varying ages, height, weight, gender, genetics and activity level. But Stanten has seen women "drop as many as 14 to 22 pounds within eight weeks of starting a walking routine. Men tend to lose weight faster. (So to do the math, if you start now, you could be down a size or two within a couple of months) Other people lose it more slowly, and anecdotally, sometimes those who lose it more slowly tend to keep it off longer."
My childhood best friend just recently returned to Japan where she had lived many years ago. A few months before the trip, she found herself less in shape than she was hoping and uncomfortable with her current abilities to travel and sightsee. She decided to just add a mile of walking four days a week in preparation for her trip. She returned from her 10 day trip last week and we went to dinner. She told me she was shocked with her weight loss and improved abilities due ONLY to walking. She had energy everyday to do what she wanted. Her feet didn't hurt. She could walk longer distances and for hours at a time. She was positively glowing with her new abilities due to her consistent effort of taking walks.
Now, that's an awesome testimonial! The benefits of walking are incredible and you will see weight loss, more energy, and more overall happiness and well-being. See you out there!