Walking is an inexpensive and painless way to reduce weight. It is elastic because you can scale up its intensity to a jog or even a run or scale it down to a trot or a walk depending on your comfort level. Except you have some disability that can stop you from walking, anyone can walk. All you need to do is walk for 30 minutes a day and you will be on your way to weight loss
Most Jobs are sedentary
Most Americans hold down jobs that make them sit all day at their desks. We drive to and from work each day. We take our children to school every morning and either pick them up after school or get their mothers to do so. As a result, only 13% of kids walk to school compared to the 1970s when 2/3 of American children walked or rode their bikes to school.
Even when we go shopping, we want to drive as close as possible to the mall to minimize our walking. This general reduction in activity has fostered a growing epidemic of obesity on our hands.
The Obesity Conundrum
The National Center for Health estimates that for 2015-2016 in the US, “ 39.8% of adults aged 20 and above were obese and that another 31.8% were overweight.” bringing the percentage of those obese or overweight to 72%.
It concludes by stating that, “ Obesity rates have increased for all population groups in the United States over the last several decades.”
A simple way out of the obesity conundrum is by walking for at least 30 minutes a day
The Advantages of Walking
The advantages of walking over any other form of weight loss program are apparent.
- It is inexpensive
- You can walk anywhere. You do not have to go to any specialized place to engage in walking
- You can walk alone or in the company of family and friends
- You do not need a special outfit to engage in Walking. You do need comfortable walking shoes though.
- As you walk along, you enjoy the fresh air and change of scenery.
- You are not caged in one place
How much should you walk?
Doctors recommend walking about 10,000 steps which is approximately 5 miles a day. That looks like a lot to someone just starting out. You do not have to start from that level. You can start small say 2,500 steps and gradually build up your steps as you walk every day. A pedometer is needed to track the number of steps you take. That gives you your baseline and all you have to do is scale it up as you walk daily.
If your goal is to reap the full health benefits of walking, you should shoot for 30 minutes of fast walking, 5 days a week so you can satisfy the Federal Government stipulated 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity for every adult.
What is the mode of walking?
For effective results, it is best to engage in interval walking. What is interval walking, you may ask? Interval walking is a form of walking in which you alternate fast walking with slow-paced walking.
Michelle Stanten, founder of MyWalkingCoach.com and author of The Walking Solution recommends “ period of faster walking interwoven with periods of slower walking.” Research has shown that interval walkers lose more weight than people who just go the same speed all the time.
She cited a study of people with type 2 diabetes who engaged in interval walking and alternated 3 minutes of fast walking with 3 minutes of average speed walking. Interval walking boosted their fitness, controlled their blood sugar, and changed their body composition resulting in less belly and body fat.
For optimum results from your interval Walking, you will need to add strength training, and healthy diet choices of whole plant meals to your regimen of Interval walking.
What are the benefits of Walking?
Hippocrates, Greek physician, widely considered the father of Medicine described Walking as “ man’s best medicine.”
Walking is a moderate-intensity aerobic activity which helps to increase heart rate and breathing. It also gives the following benefits (WebMD)
- It helps to improve blood pressure
- It manages blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
- It improves blood lipid profile.
- It strengthens bones and reduces the risk of Osteoporosis.
- It boosts one’s sense of well-being
- It reduces the risk of developing certain cancers ( such as breast and colon cancer )
What if the Weather is not conducive for Walking?
The benefits outlined above are only available to you if you engage in the practice of walking consistently. If you walk only sporadically, you do not get the full benefits just like in any exercise activity.
No matter how determined you are to engage in walking consistently, you may be hampered by conditions you do not have control over. What if it rains heavily with blustering winds? Or if you live in an area that experiences blizzards of snow. In such situations, it is practically impossible to walk outside because of the elements of the weather.
The good thing is that you do have an alternative, you can engage in walking in the comfort of your home. All you need to do is purchase a treadmill that can be installed in your home.
Treadmill affords you opportunity to Walk at Home
A treadmill in your home ensures you can walk or run come rain or sunshine. The elements of the weather can not hold you back from engaging in walking and deriving a full dose of health benefits from the exercise.
A treadmill makes it easy for you to engage in Interval Walking at the touch of a button besides the fact that it keeps you out of harm’s way because you are in the comfort of your home. For instance, you set the speed for walking and 5 minutes into your walk, you feel like running. Flip the switch to Running and the Treadmill goes into a running mode that allows you to run in one place.
A treadmill allows you to go from walking to running seamlessly.
Other informal ways you can engage in Walking
- Take the Stairs: You can informally add to your daily step count by ignoring the elevator for the stairs in public buildings. There is always a strong temptation for you to take the elevator because of the ease and comfort it affords you . If you can only close your eyes to the momentary comfort and opt for the stairs instead, you will be adding to your daily step count and overall health.
- Take doggy for a Walk: Our furry friends look forward to their walks around the neighborhood every morning or evening as your schedule permits. It affords them time to take a break and a leak or more as well! Those walks count towards your daily step count.
- Try Dance steps: Have you ever been propelled to the dance floor by some catchy tune from the past? It is so irresistible that you can not sit down until you finished dancing to it, sweat and all! Those steps will count towards your daily step tally too. So if dancing is something that comes easily to you, go ahead and do it.
- Park farther Away: You may need permission from your spouse to do this! I know mine always protests whenever I try it. Those steps you take between your parked car and your destination count. So the farther you park away from your destination, the more steps you will take to your destination.