Take Off the Pounds and Stride Into Better Health: How Walking Can Help You Lose Weight

It is no secret that if you want to lose weight, you need to exercise. But not all exercises are created equal. Depending on your physical condition and schedule, it may not be possible to hit the gym or go for a swim every day. That’s where walking comes in. With a minimal investment of time and no costly equipment, walking is a great way to torch calories and lose weight. Read on to learn more about the many benefits of walking and how it can help you take off the pounds and stride into better health.

1. It Burns Calories and Boosts the Metabolism

At its most basic, walking is an aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate and causes you to break out in a light sweat. Walking on a regular basis helps to burn calories and leads to a boost in your metabolism. How many calories you burn while walking depends on several factors such as your weight, pace and the length of your walking session. Additionally, the more you weigh, the more calories you will burn. Estimations are that a 160-pound person will burn between 90 and 135 calories in a 30-minute walk at a moderate pace.

2. Low-Impact Workout for Joints

Not only does walking benefit your metabolism and calorie burn, it is also a low-impact workout that is easy on the joints. This makes it suitable for people of all ages and body types, even those with joint or hip pain. If you’re concerned about starting an aerobic program that might do more harm than good due to existing injuries or conditions, a short, easy walk is a great way to get the exercise you need without aggravating your existing conditions.

3. Improved Mood

Walking has a calming effect on the mind and helps to regulate your breathing, levels of serotonin, and reduce anxiety and stress. Furthermore, recent studies suggest that regularly walking can help to combat depression. It also can help clear your mind and provide insight. Enjoying a leisurely walk with friends is not only a great opportunity to bond and catch up, but the endorphins that are released during exercise can help create a sense of well-being.

4. Quality Sleep

Studies have also linked regular walking to improved sleep quality. Exercise helps regulate melatonin levels, promote relaxation and improve the ability to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep longer. All of this complements a healthy diet and provides an opportunity for reflection that can help you fall asleep peacefully.

5. Good for the Heart

Walking is good for more than just your waistline; it is also good for your heart. It helps to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels, while increasing circulation and overall cardiovascular health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular walking can help reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease by 20-percent.

6. It’s Free

One of the most appealing features of walking is that it’s free. You don’t need special equipment or fancy gadgets to do it. All you need is a good pair of supportive shoes and a desire to get out and move. Walking is suitable for any activity level and you can do it anywhere—on the track, around your neighborhood, or even inside your home. Who said that getting in shape had to cost you an arm and a leg?

7. Flexible

Walking is also incredibly versatile. You can increase the intensity with interval training, go on a leisurely stroll, or make it more challenging with inclines and terrain changes. Stepping out with a brisk pace lightens up your routine and adds a little variety into your day. Additionally, you can make walking an iconic part of your life by planning a fun vacation centered around a scenic hike or trail!

8. Keeps You Motivated

The best way to stay on track and keep up your motivation for losing weight is to make exercise a permanent part of your daily life. But let’s face it—most of us lead busy lives, and some days our motivation may be hard to find. That’s where walking comes in. People who report regularly walking tend to have a higher success rate with weight loss. Scientific experiments have concluded that regular walkers tend to have a more positive attitude and outlook because it reduces stress and anxiety.

9. Includes Social Interaction

Yes, you can absolutely reap all the benefits of walking on your own, but it’s also a great opportunity to socialize. Walking with a companion or a dog provides an enriching experience and helps to motivate you to keep going even when you don’t feel like it. You can join a local walking club, invite a friend to join you while you hit the trails, or meet up with co-workers to take a stroll before or after lunch. Exercise doesn’t have to be a solitary experience.

10. No Excuse Not To Start

The bottom line is that if you want to lose weight, walking is an ideal activity. Why? Because it’s low-impact, efficient, free, and suitable for all ages and abilities. Put on your walking shoes and get started! Just put one foot in front of the other and the pounds will start to fall off.

Summary: Walking can be both an effective and an enjoyable way to lose weight. Regularly walking helps to burn calories, regulates breathing and raises heart rate for an aerobic effect. It also improves mood and helps reduce stress, insomnia and tension. In addition to these benefits, walking does not require special equipment or a membership, is easy on the joints and provides a flexible, motivating and social way to get physical activity. So put on your shoes and rejoice in the fact that walking offers a great way to take off the pounds and stride into better health.

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