Updated: March 5, 2021
I take a walk about 3 to 4 times a day.
I love to breathe fresh air but what I love is that it clears any brain fog I may be experiencing.
It’s also fantastic for fat loss.
“Walking is man’s best medicine.” – Hippocrates
Losing weight is one of those challenges that is simple in concept, but brutally difficult to execute when you actually roll up your sleeves and get down to it. You’ll need to have several of your ducks to be in a row before you see positive results.
It goes without saying that you must be at a caloric deficit to see weight loss. This is the cardinal rule and the cornerstone of all weight loss. You must expend more calories than you consume.
Very often, people automatically assume that they need to follow the tried and true advice of exercising and eating right. This is true to some extent, but it doesn’t factor in the most important point…
Are you doing what is right for you?
Are you sure that you’re supposed to be running? Do you exercise on an empty stomach or after a meal? Should you engage in high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or slow cardio?
Many questions and even more answers. Trying to find a solution online will leave you more confused than ever, because of the sheer information overload that if given a chance will add another 10 pounds to your frame.
In this article, you’ll discover why walking is one of the best forms of exercise that most people can do. While high-intensity interval training is extremely effective, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s suitable for you. It all depends on where you are in your weight loss journey.
Easier to Be Consistent
Here’s the hard truth – you most probably gained weight from eating too much and leading a sedentary lifestyle. Embarking on an exercise regimen is going to be a struggle because all change faces opposition.
Most people make a HUGE mistake here. They try to do too much too soon. They include weight training sessions, interval training and a variety of other protocols in their training regimen to speed up their weight loss.
This is the scenario that usually plays out – initially they start off good because the vim and vigor of embarking on a new goal thrills them. However, after a week or two, the excitement will start to wane and the harsh training regimen that they were so passionate about will become something that they dread.
First, they’ll skip one workout… than two… and next thing you know, they’ve not exercised in 7 months and have gained 20 pounds. Their weight loss goal has turned to dust and they’ve resigned themselves to their obese fate.
This is one reason why walking is so effective. It is NOT torturous. You’ll be much more likely to stick to walking for 3 weeks to a month, because you know that you’re not going to be gasping and struggling through the sessions.
If you’re at a caloric deficit and your diet is dialed in, that’s enough time to see results and keep you motivated. All you need to do is walk for 20-60 minutes a day. You would see better results if you did it in the morning on an empty stomach.
Your glycogen levels will be low, and your body will burn your fat stores for fuel. That makes walking highly potent when it’s done in a fasted state. Doing HIIT/jogging in a fasted state is counterproductive because the body will catabolize the muscles for fuel, since the workout is strenuous. Walking is best.
Walking is excellent for people with joint issues such as painful knees, etc. Usually, people who are morbidly obese or overweight will tend to have knee pain because of the constant load on their knees.
Since this is a low-impact activity and unlike running or jogging, it will not put you out of commission. If your knees are so painful that even walking causes you pain, you should switch to swimming or an exercise bike and keep at it till you bring your weight down.
Then you can try walking and see how it works for you.
Doesn’t Lead to Increased Cortisol Levels
Here’s something most people do not know – belly fat is caused by stress. When your body is stressed out, it releases a hormone known as cortisol. This ‘stress hormone’ not only causes increased food cravings but elevates your insulin levels too.
When your insulin levels go up, a chain of processes within the body converts the excess insulin into fats and stores the fats for future use. So, your goal is to lose weight while minimizing the stress your body faces to prevent further fat storage.
High intensity training places a lot of stress on your body. This is the reason why so many people hit weight loss plateaus that they just can’t seem to break out of. The body is too stressed out to lose weight.
Walking does NOT stress your body out. You’ll burn the fat at a slow and steady pace. While it may not get you results as fast as HIIT, you’ll be consistent and lose more weight in the long run as compared to someone who started out fast and hard but lost steam and quit along the way.
This is like the old story about the tortoise and the hare. Weight loss is a slow process. You must accept that. Lose it fast and it will come back fast. Lose it slow and you’ll probably not gain it back because your regular walks will keep the pounds from piling on.
Minimal Carb Cravings
A common mistake that many people make when trying to lose weight is to engage in long, arduous endurance sessions. They’ll jog for an hour or two, as though they’re about to compete in a marathon.
However, unlike professional endurance athletes, most people’s bodies are not trained to burn fat for fuel. That only comes about from a ketogenic diet or intermittent fasting.
Most people burn carbs for fuel. So, the long runs/jogs will make them ravenously hungry. The end result is that they find themselves craving foods high in carbohydrates. Usually the cravings cause them to cave in and gorge on these foods.
The carbs cause a spike in their insulin levels which leads to fat storage and they’ve undone their entire workout. Their weight loss journey is impeded because they’re doing the cardio ‘cha-cha’… 2 steps forward and 1 step backward.
Walking will not cause you to have strong carb cravings. The exercise is neither demanding nor strenuous. So, the body doesn’t crave fuel the way it does with the long, hard sessions that depletes the fuel in the body.
Tones Your Muscles
Walking tones your leg muscles and strengthens your cardiovascular system. Ideally, you should also engage in resistance training twice or 3 times a week. You need to work on your upper body too. Hypertrophy can only be achieved with strength training.
Doesn’t Require a Gym Membership
On a tight budget? Walking is easy on your wallet. You only need a good pair of shoes. Walking circles around your neighborhood for an hour has the same benefits of walking on a treadmill in a swanky gym.
Has a Multitude of Other Benefits
Besides aiding weight loss, walking will strengthen your bones, boost your endorphin levels, reduce risks of diseases such as dementia, diabetes, etc. It also improves your blood pressure, gives you a better sense of balance and so much more.
You’re not just looking to lose weight. You want to be healthy too. Walking gets you there.
To conclude, it’s best to understand that walking will help you to develop the habit of regular exercise. For people who are not in the habit of exercising, this is a fantastic exercise to get started on.
It will slowly improve your stamina and strengthen your body. After a month or two of regular walking, you’ll now be ready to take on the more challenging protocols such as HIIT, etc.
During your weight loss journey, as you get stronger and progress to other tougher workouts, there will be days when you feel drained and just not in the mood for a tough session. It happens – and on days like these, walking will be like a friend that you can visit and still enjoy the rewards of exercise.
Do try it. It’s the simplest and most powerful form of exercise on the planet.
Make it a great day,