Long has been the discussion on whether or not walking can effectively help a dieter to lose a significant amount of weight, and just as there are many people who have been unsuccessful in that regard, there are people who have found it to be famously rewarding. What we shall try to do today, is figure out the pros and cons of one of the most basic forms of exercise.
Walking is usually the first place that people start with starting their exercise plan. It usually occurs because they actually enjoy walking, they are too old to run or that they are too unfit to run. Typically it starts off with short walks either to take the dog out or walking through a neighborhood with a friend. Firstly, let me state that walking is better than doing nothing – much better, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Secondly, the usefulness of walking is determined by the speed and length of the walk. Pretty obvious stuff I know but it has to be said.
Let’s look at some statistics. A 30 minute brisk walk burns approximately 150 calories depending on your body weight and BMI ratio. That’s usually about a distance of 2 miles. To lose a pound of weight, you must burn 500 calories more than you take in so we’re presuming that you’ve already equalized the dietary arrangements so that we’re not treading water here. Based on these numbers, you should lose about a pound a week, which is a fairly brisk clip. The problem is that after several weeks of the same repetitive routine, the body acclimatize itself to the “new” body, and weight loss becomes harder assuming everything else stays the same. Two things need to happen here; speed and distance – increase both!
What started off as a social exercise needs to become real exercise. Anything to increase the calorie burn. Pump the arms, put ankle weights on or simply walk further and faster. What you’re doing now is getting close to what we would call a “Cardio’ workout where the heart gets to pump at a much higher rate than normal so burning those additional calories. I used to play golf regularly twice every week, on Wednesday and Sunday mornings. Didn’t take a cart (which irritated my golf partners tremendously!). I have a firmly brisk walking pace so at 14,000 yards per week, I felt great and didn’t have to watch my food intake.
The downside of walking is that if you need to lose a considerable amount of weight, then eventually you are going to need to step up to full Cardio to push yourself over the top. For keeping your weight at a manageable level and for seniors, a brisk, healthy walking routine is hugely beneficial but remember that it all goes to waste when you stop off at the Burger King for the Double Whopper with cheese and the onion rings on the return leg home!