Walk Your Way to Losing Weight

In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day and the impending beautiful weather, let’s celebrate the beginning of summer and get walking!

No matter your fitness level, walking is the simplest, cheapest and most convenient way to exercise. But if your New Year’s resolution was to lose weight “fast,” an easy stroll isn’t going to cut it.  A 150-pound person burns less than 100 calories on a leisurely half-hour walk.  But, take heart.  Those burned calories add up.  Over a year, a daily, 30-minute walk could mean a 10-pound weight loss!

So, turn up the intensity of a walk and burn more calories quicker with these three simple habits:

  • Walk faster. People often wonder how you might burn more calories per mile at slow speeds. This is because you are basically stopping and starting with each step and your momentum isn’t helping to carry you along. Your body walks more efficiently at moderate speeds. Meanwhile, at very high walking speeds you are using more muscle groups with arm motion and with a racewalking stride. Brisk walking, at a pace that makes it tough to talk, which means at least two miles in 30 minutes, is a good way to lose weight and maintain weight management while athletic training. Your goal should be to work out at about 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. (To calculate your target heartbeats per minute, subtract your age from 220, and then multiply that number by 0.705.)
  • Add incline. Walk up a hill or stairs to add cardiovascular conditioning and athletic training to your workout.  This not only increases your calorie expenditure but also tones the muscles in your buttocks and thighs because it demands more from your legs.
  • Walk with a buddy. Activities – especially athletic training – is always more fun with a friend. Research confirms that a support system helps maintain long-term, weight management.
  • Find a fun walking partner. According to 30 Tips When You’re Walking for Weight Loss, “It’s no joke: genuine laughter may cause a 10–20 percent increase in basal energy expenditure and resting heart-rate, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. That means a 10-15 minute giggle fest could burn up 40 to 170 calories.”
  • Stay hydrated. According to a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, staying hydrated helped healthy people burn more calories. The research states, “Drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%.” So, remember to drink water while walking and burn calories quicker.

Regular exercise – especially walking – is beneficial for people of all ages.  Exercise helps to improve muscle and joint flexibility and keeps your heart healthy while improving bone and joint health.  It also can improve sleep and helps to maintain weight management.

Fitness for Health creates unique exercise programs based on a person’s individual fitness goals.  Do you want to lose weight, focus on weight management as an adult or combat childhood obesity?  Interested in toning your body?  Aspiring to improve your athletic edge?  No problem!  Whether you are a child or a senior citizen, Fitness for Health can you help you and your loved ones reach your full potential.