Getting regular exercise is essential if you want to stay fit and healthy. Walking is an ideal form of physical activity that is low risk and won’t cost you a penny. Walking is easy to do and it can be done anywhere. No equipment is needed. You just put on your sneakers and head outside.
You probably think an exercise so simple couldn’t possibly help you lose weight and belly fat. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Walking actually has a ton of really great health benefits. Too many to name in this one article. However, I will focus on a few I know you will love.
Benefits of Walking
Walking helps improve overall health. You don’t have to walk hours a day to reap the numerous health benefits of walking. Just 10-minutes every day can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier. It can also help ward off diseases and improve your overall health and well-being.
According to the American Heart Association, walking can help reduce the risk of both breast and colon cancer. It can also help reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.
Walking helps lower blood pressure. According to webmd.com, a Korean study shows that walking just 40 minutes a day lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension. If you don’t have time to do the full 40 minutes, you can break it up into 10-minute sessions throughout the day and reap the same health benefits, according to ACSM guidelines.
A brisk 30-minute walk a day is all it takes to shed pounds, tone your muscles and improve your health. If you haven’t worked out in a while, it’s okay to start off slow. Walking just 5- minutes a day is a great start. As you get stronger, you can increase the time to 10-minutes, 20- minutes, 30-minutes, and so on.
When you walk, or do any type of exercise for that manner, you release what is commonly referred to as feel good hormones. The technical term for these feel good hormones is endorphins. Working up a good sweat causes your body to release endorphins, which will give you an immediate boost in your mood. So, if you’ve had a stressful day at work, go out for a brisk walk and activate those happy hormones.
How Many Calories Can You Burn Walking?
Every person is different and will burn a different number of calories from walking. The number of calories you burn will depend on three main factors: your current weight, the intensity of your walk, and the duration of your walk.
Someone who weighs 150 pounds and walks a normal pace for 60 minutes can burn as much as 250 calories.
A 200-pound person, on the other hand, can burn as much as 330 calories. The average person will burn up to 140 calories per mile walked.
To burn more calories and fat, simply walk more often and/or add in some hills to increase the intensity when you’re physically ready to do so.
You can also add in some strength training during your walk by incorporating exercises like push-ups, lunges, and squats every five minutes. Do each exercise for one minute, then continue walking until you’re ready to do the next group of strength exercises.
Another idea is to bring a resistance band along to target more muscle groups and add more variety to your walking workout.
By combining walking and strength training, you will burn more fat and calories long after you’ve finished exercising.
How to Achieve the Best Results
To get the most out of your walking, you should focus on walking with good posture and letting your arms swing slightly as you walk.
Engage your abdominal muscles with every stride. This will build up your core strength and protect your spine.
To help you stay on track, consider asking a friend or family member to go along with you on your walks.
Purchase a pedometer so you can track your steps throughout the day.
For best results, aim to walk at least 30-minutes a day. However, remember to start off slow if you are just getting back into the swing of things.
As you get stronger, you can increase the amount of time and intensity of your walks.