There are obviously a lot more rigorous forms of exercise than walking. However, not everyone has the body or desire to do things like crossfit, or go on regular long-distance runs. Many people have successfully followed the path of simply walking (pun intended) to lose weight and keep it off.
Most of us have heard the phrase “slow and steady wins the race” and that is true to a large degree when it comes to walking. If you go on regular walks and follow a healthy diet you will have a chance to significantly improve your overall health, which includes losing weight and keeping it off.
The heart is a muscle and whether you walk, jog, run, sprint, climb, swim, bike, hike, row, etc., if you elevate your heart rate for the duration of a 30-minute workout it will improve cardio health over time.
The American Heart Association and American College of Sports Medicine recommend that people get at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise at least five times per week.
I feel bad for people who don’t get regular exercise because they say they can’t run or do other strenuous exercise and believe that a walking workout is pointless. People should realize that simply walking can bring great benefits, but some think it’s a waste of time.
You can walk anywhere, any time in the comfort and privacy of your own home if you own a treadmill.
Of course, it’s also nice to walk outside when the weather is nice.
You can’t spot-train specific areas to lose weight, but can burn off fat all over your body by walking on a treadmill. If you burn more calories than you consume on a regular basis, you will lose weight, including belly fat.
A treadmill offers lots of great options to help you lose weight.
I really enjoy doing interval training on a treadmill. To maximize an interval workout, warm up for five minutes by walking at a moderate pace.
Next, keep the same brisk pace and increase the incline for one minute, or increase the speed for one minute.
Repeat this interval several times. As your stamina increases over time, lengthen the amount of time you walk at an incline or walk at a near maximum speed.
A great goal is to be able to work up to doing a 30-minute interval training program. If you can do this you are not only on the way to losing weight, but also improving strength, muscle tone and stamina.
I highly recommend also working in strength training exercises with free weights or a home gym.
How much do you have to walk to lose weight?
Livestrong.com reported recently that many factors determine how much weight someone will lose from walking:
“How many calories someone actually burns walking on a treadmill depends on many factors,” livestrong.com reported, “including the individual’s body composition and the duration, speed and resistance level of your walk.”
Healthstatus.com has done the math and come up with the calculations to demonstrate how much a person would have to walk to lose weight.
Just for a baseline, according to Healthstatus.com, a 30-year-old woman walking at the rather sluggish pace of 2 mph would burn 175 calories in an hour. Increase the speed to a brisk 4 mph and she would burn 325 calories. Calculated out further, she’d need 90 minutes on the treadmill daily to burn the necessary 500 calories to lose a pound in a week.
That’s probably not realistic for the average person to have 90 minutes a day to walk on the treadmill – every single day. However, if you are active at other times during the day and make smart food choices – substitute a salad and unsweetened iced tea for fries and a Coke – you can walk less than the above example and still accelerate weight loss.
One final point to consider is to set a goal of walking at a brisk pace, which elevates your pulse rate.
According to ACE Fitness, the idea that “lower-intensity exercise puts you in the fat-burning zone, so it’s preferable to higher-intensity exercise” is a myth.
Talk with your doctor first if you have major health issues, if you’re older than age 40 and you haven’t engaged in much physical activity recently.
3G Cardio fitness editor Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. Consult a doctor before making any significant changes in your exercise routine or diet. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@3Gcardio.com