According to the Centers for Disease Control, increasing physical activity reduces your risk for many chronic diseases. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle and are trying to get into an exercise habit, consistent walking paired with a healthy diet is a good place to start.
Especially at first, being consistent is what will make a difference. We all know there is no magic formula for instant weight loss, it happens over time. You have to be consistent throughout the week to get your physical activity in and you have to do it week after week. Walking is often appealing to beginners because it is easy to do, requires no special skills or equipment, and is not as hard on your body as more intense exercises. All those things make it easier to be consistent.
If You Already Have A Workout Plan
If you’ve hit a plateau, want to try something different or want more activity without more intensity, walking can help. You can add walking on days when you’re not doing more intense exercise.
If your job requires long periods of sitting at a desk or in a car, work walking into your daily activities whenever possible. Break up long periods of sitting with a couple 10-minute brisk walks. Walk to work, the store or a friend’s house when possible. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Get off the bus or train a stop before you normally would, or park further away from the building.
How To Get The Best Results
Walking can be paired with other exercises like strength training for a complete fitness plan. But here are a few ways to make the walking portion of your workout more effective, too.
- Walking on different surfaces and across varying terrain challenges your muscles to work in different ways, resulting in a more effective workout.
- According to research done at the University of Virginia, higher intensity power walking three days per week, along with moderate intensity walking two days per week is the most effective combination for weight loss.
- Another study done at Ohio State University found changing pace several times during a walk can burn up to 20% more calories.