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The Best Ways to Lose Weight With Walking

By Pamela Hilliard Owens, M.

Walking regularly is the easiest and least expensive form of exercise. Except for a good pair of walking shoes, no special equipment is needed. It is not necessary to join a gym. It can be done anywhere and anytime, alone or with friends. You can walk every day with no "rest days" in between. There is nothing to learn; people already know how to walk. There are, however, a few important things to keep in mind when walking to lose weight.

Ways to lose weight by walking

The first way to begin to lose weight by walking is to start walking. The initial goal should be 10,000 steps per day. Using a simple pedometer attached to the waistband or on a belt will help you to count your daily steps. Consistency---even 10 minutes 3 times a day at first--will yield the most immediate results; but slowly increasing the time and the distance walked will boost your weight-loss efforts.

Begining a regular walking program

It is very important to check with your medical professional before beginning any exercise program; especially if you are over age 65, have been sedentary for more than a year, or have been diagnosed with heart disease, pregnancy, dizzy spells, high blood pressure, or any other medical conditions.

How to walk to lose weight

A good walking technique will help you achieve the stamina you need to walk consistently for the amount of time you have set for your goal. Making sure that you are using your large muscles correctly will also help to build your muscles; strong muscles burn more calories throughout the day, even when you are not walking. A good walking posture includes keeping a straight back, looking forward about 20 feet instead of looking down, keeping your chin up and your shoulders slightly back, sucking in your stomach, and tucking in and slightly rotating your hips with each stride. In order to burn fat, you need to exercise at a pace and length of time for the body to move from using the body's sugar stores to burning the reserves of fat. For the first 5 to 10 minutes of your exercise time, walk at an easy pace to "wake up" your muscles and let them know that a long-term activity is imminent. After the warm-up, it is time to pick up the pace for optimal fat-burning--what has been called a "determined" pace: walking fast enough to produce heavier breathing, but still be able to carry on a conversation. "Determined walking" is described as walking as though you were late for an appointment. On a daily basis, work up to a minimum of 30 minutes duration per walking session. A consistent daily walking program, along with a sensible low-fat eating plan, will build muscle and raise your metabolism so that you are burning more calories throughout the day, and lead to a safe 1 to 2 pound weight loss per week.

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