5 Reasons Walking is Key to Weight Loss
When it comes to weight loss, people often think they have to workout hard and diet aggressively in order to see results. However, weight loss comes down to consistency and strategy. The endurance of positive habits is the real challenge.
So, how can you make positive changes toward weight loss that you will stick with day in and day out? The simplest method is to incorporate walking into your life.
There are many reasons walking is the key to weight loss, especially in the beginning of your journey. Here are the top five.
Walking doesn’t increase your appetite
Many people dive into jogging or other forms of higher-intensity cardio to start off their weight loss program. The main issue with this strategy is that your body immediately overcompensates by making you feel hungrier and craving the energy source you are burning, which is carbohydrates. This is precisely opposite of what you need to do to lose weight.
Walking, on the other hand, is a gentle form of exercise that goes somewhat undetected in terms of hunger triggers. You can walk several miles a day at a good pace of 3 miles per hour without triggering a strong, increased hunger response. Therefore, walking enables you to bank those burned calories without making you feel starved.
Walking burns fat preferentially
Additionally, because walking is low intensity, your body preferentially burns fat as your calorie source. This is in stark contrast to high-intensity cardio, such as HIIT and running, which cause your body to burn carbohydrates (quick fuel). The difference is born from the amount of oxygen you are able to take in while exercising, the amount of energy you need for the activity, and how quickly you need that energy.
If you want your body to burn fat, you have to offer it the right environment. Walking is the exact environment that stimulates fat burning. The large availability of oxygen combined with the small increase in energy need over a longer period of time allows your body to slowly break down the large fat molecules into usable energy. Fat isn’t a quick energy source, so it is less desirable than carbohydrates when you practice high-intensity exercise.
Easy to track accurately
Anyone can benefit from walking and easily track their progress. A simple pedometer can track your steps and distance daily. A smartphone app can track your calories burned and whether you reached your walking goal for the day.
Often, people walk close to their home and know their routes by heart. Therefore, you would only need to determine the distance of the route once to know how much you’ve covered each time you go on your walk. In that case, you could forgo the apps and devices altogether.
However, if you are a data person, there are myriad ways to gather your walking information and progress. You can easily convert between steps and miles, and you can translate that to calories burned based on your weight. Most apps will do this work for you.
Available to anyone
Best of all, walking is available to everyone. You don’t have to spend money on special equipment or a gym membership. You can put on your shoes and head out the door.
You don’t have to learn a technique or watch YouTube videos to figure it all out. Walking is innate and low impact. However, you certainly can walk on a treadmill if that’s your preference. Sometimes weather or safety make treadmill walking a better option.
Stable, cushioned shoes are helpful, especially if you start walking routinely, but there really are no hard and fast requirements.
Walking reduces stress
The sneakiest way in which walking aids weight loss is actually through stress reduction. Stress and the corresponding cascade of hormones it creates make it extremely difficult to lose weight. Lowering your stress brings your body to a place where it can preferentially burn fat.
Walking does a wonderful job of lowering stress, and when you walk daily, you reap the rewards of combatting chronic stress. Walking in nature has been shown to reduce stress to the greatest extent, but any form of walking will reduce your stress and benefit your weight loss efforts.
Altogether, walking is the most ideal form of low-impact, low-intensity exercise that promotes fat burning.