Top 4 Reasons Why Walking is the Best Form of Exercise for Weight Loss (and SIMPLE tips to help keep you on your feet and moving towards your walking and weight loss goals)
Spring is here, the sun is shining and its time to KISS that “exercise” demon goodbye and shed a few winter kilos. But what is the best form of exercise for weight loss? Walking is the best form of exercise. It’s the most simple and effective form of activity for the maximum reward (great results with minimal injury risk).
So lets “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” Let’s KISS and make up with our inner demon – stop procrastinating and stop telling ourselves it’s just too hard or we don’t have the time to walk. Walking has SO many benefits for the mind and body. When combined with a healthier intake of food fuel we can BOOST our metabolism rockets and walk towards our individual weight loss goals for longer lasting more sustainable results.
Here’s 4 reasons why walking is the best form of exercise!
1. It’s easy and affordable.
No skilled required and anybody can do it, anywhere, anytime – it’s so versatile. If you have previously had trouble trying to squeeze in a fitness regime but have failed over and over again, it’s best to “keep it simple” and walking is the perfect solution to start the ball rolling.
Consistency is key to introducing anything new in your life or schedule and if you keep your activity simple you are more likely to keep going with it. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit! This should be a cinch if you keep it simple and enjoy what you are doing! Go for it!
2. Less impact on joints.
So long as we are moving we are burning calories. Obviously running will burn a whole lot more but it is also a high impact exercise, therefore putting more stress on the body and joints with each stride and increasing the likelihood of an injury…and if we injure ourselves we obviously won’t be able to keep up with our exercise.
Walking keeps the joints moving with lower impact and can actually help promote lubrication of the joints and loosen up joint restrictions. This is one of the key reasons walking is the best form of exercise. It is a far better alternative particularly if you already have issues with arthritis or structural issues of the feet and legs such as heel pain (plantar fasciitis), shin pain, keen pain etc.
3. Stress reliever.
Don’t think of your walking as a commitment or an exercise! Think of it as some “me” time or your “break” time. Walking is a great stress reliever, a natural and inexpensive mood booster, and is a great stimulant for problem solving and creative inspiration. Did you know that some of the most successful people in the world such as Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg prefer to hold “walking meetings”? Walk-and–Talk meetings have been known to help boost creativity, expression and engagement between co-workers.
4. It’s Social
Because any one can do it – no skill required – walking is a fantastic way to catch up with friends and create new ones. Strength can always be found in numbers, so finding a walking buddy is a great way to keep you motivated and accountable to yourself, as well as making it more fun to walk and burn those calories. Take care with coffee catch ups following your walks though…be supportive of each other and bring a share plate that is low in calories and contains no refined sugar! Remove temptation!
Tips to help BOOST your walking for weight loss goals:
1. Drink water. Dehydration can suppress your metabolism, so make sure you are drinking water before your “feel” thirsty. It also helps to hydrate the brain cells to fire them up for some creative thinking. Avoid “energy drinks” as they will only add calories.
2. Vary your route. Change your route for fun and to add interest. I love to go exploring and find new paths – I really look forward to it!
3. Incidental walking. Find more ways to add in walking when you can ie. take the stairs, park further away, suggest a walk-and-talk meeting for work, take a lunch time walk.
4. Increase the challenge. Over time the same exercise will not have the same effect on your metabolism because your body and metabolism becomes conditioned to steady-state exercise and the effects it previously created. You can life hack this by simply adding in some of these ideas:
- Vary your pace during your walk. Use this simple guide to help you change up your pace:
- Easy: Strolling pace and talking with ease
- Moderate: Increased pace but you should still be able to hold a conversation
- Brisk: Talking should be tough
- Swinging your arms in wide arcs whilst walking. This will help to lengthen your walking stride. It will also give you a greater workout for the body, therefore burning more calories.
- Add in a little aerobic stimulation at varying intervals during your walk i.e. 30 seconds of star-jumps, a stair climb, squats, lunges, burpees etc
- Vary the terrain. Add in beach and hill walks to help burn more calories, fat and build strength.
- Set yourself goals so you are more mindful and aware of your progress. Establish your starting point and aim to walk faster, further and more frequently.
- Use walking poles. Adding these in to your walk can help burn more calories, increase the heart rate and build more upper body strength as you are creating a whole body work out by engaging more upper body muscles. Use of the poles can also help to reduce stress on the joints of the lower extremities and hips.
5. Walk first thing in the morning. Your body has already been fasting overnight by default whilst you’ve been sleeping so capitalise on that and burn some fat stores for energy on a morning walk. Walking in the morning also gets it out of the way for the day so it doesn’t become de-prioritised during the day when things happen…and they can as you well know!
6. Practice good form and posture. It is important to ensure that you are using the right technique throughout any exercise. Stand tall, chin up, eyes forward, shoulders back and relaxed, tighten your core muscles whilst maintaining your breathing pattern (no holding your breath), tuck in your tail and either let your arms swing naturally at your sides or add in some power swings.
7. Address any foot and leg problems you have before you start walking to avoid exacerbating any current structural issues. The right foot specialist will look after you and your feet and provide the right advice to get you on your feet and keep you walking. They are also a great tool to advise you on the right footwear that will best complement your foot type and any activity type that you will be performing at work, home or in your “me” time.
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