Can I lose weight by walking? 5 steps to success
Walking for weight loss
Can I lose weight by walking? Walking is a brilliant exercise to help with weight control. It boosts your metabolism and invigorates your lymphatic system. If you have already lost weight, walking can help you stay in trim.
But can you lose weight just by walking? It’s a good question that you may ask yourself, especially if you are like me and absolutely hate going to the gym. I don’t mind admitting that I find gyms very intimidating and will avoid them at all costs. However, I love being out in nature. If you have read other articles on this blog you will know that walking is by far my favourite exercise and I am a firm believer in its many benefits, both mental and physical.
- Boosting your metabolism
- Getting your lymphatic system moving
- Improving your blood flow
- Helping to improve mental health
However, the question is, can walking alone help you lose weight? I have to be honest and say, no, not on its own. If you walk a lot but continue to eat in the same way its unlikely that walking on its own will make much of a difference to your weight, even though it may improve other things.
However, as part of a weight loss plan, walking is brilliant. The secret is to combine walking with a few other elements to hit weight [and belly fat] with a one-two sucker punch that will get the scales moving in the right direction.
The other elements that you need to combine [especially if you are trying to lose weight at midlife or menopause are…
Walking PLUS A Healthy Low Carb Diet.
This is an unbeatable combo that will have you shedding the pounds and belly fat successfully
Why does this combination work?
Put simply, intense exercise can actually backfire when you are heading through menopause or midlife.
Too much strenuous exercise puts stress on the body and increases cortisol. This causes hormonal disruption and can make it harder to lose weight. It can also have effects on sleeping and the immune system.
Walking doesn’t stress the body in this way. It’s what we were designed to do way back in our distant past.
Walking boosts the metabolism gently and without stress which is great news when it comes to getting rid of that belly fat and losing weight. A low carb diet in combination with walking, helps target fat.
Health Benefits of Walking
As well as helping you towards weight loss, walking does have many health benefits.
- Walking is known as a weight-bearing exercise, which means that you carry your own weight when you walk. This is great for strengthening your bones.
- Walking can help improve heart and lung fitness
- Walking can help you to lower the risk of stroke or heart disease
- Walking help you manage high blood pressure
- Walking can help with joint pain, muscular pain and stiffness
- Walking can help improve balance and posture
- Walking can help you reduce body fat
- Walking can help with depression and other mental health issues
Can you lose belly fat by walking
An emphatic yes, walking CAN help you lose belly fat, in conjunction with a healthy weight loss plan.
As you hit Menopause your metabolism slows. This can lead to the dreaded menopause Belly Fat. Getting out and about, walking and braving the elements can be a huge tonic to your metabolism.
A study from 2014 looked at the effect of walking on abdominal fat and insulin resistance in obese women
The women walked for 50-70 minutes 3 times a week. After 12 weeks they reduced their waist circumference by 2.8cm and lost 1.5% of body fat.
The researchers concluded “the current findings suggest that walking exercise can provide a safe and effective lifestyle strategy against abdominal obesity… in obese women.”
Is walking better than running?
Walking delivers a lot of the benefits of running but without some of the issues.
To start with walking is much easier on the knee and ankle joints. I have many friends who have been running for years and they are now starting to suffer from constant knee and joint injuries. Walkers don’t tend to suffer the same wear and tear on the joints as runners.
As mentioned before, walking doesn’t stress the body as much as running. Cortisol levels are kept lower in walkers. Runners can end up with high cortisol levels which can have a knock-on impact on hormonal balance, never helpful during menopause.
Walkers are much less likely to raise their cortisol levels. High cortisol levels can be problematic if you are trying to lose weight.
How can I start walking to lose weight?
If you don’t normally do exercise, the key is to build up into walking gently and build up your stamina.
- A good walking exercise plan would be
- Warm-up slowly, walking gently for 5 minutes
- Walk briskly for 30 minutes
- Cool down by walking gently for 5 minutes
- You can do some gentle stretches at the beginning or end of the plan
How to walk for weight loss.
If you are serious about boosting your weight loss with walking, there are some things that you can do to help it along.
Walk early, before breakfast
If you can walk soon after getting up and before eating this is ideal. Your glycogen levels will have been depleted overnight so your body is in a calorie deficit and will burn fat. This is utilising the power of intermittent fasting to zap that menopause belly fat.
Walk briskly, like you are going to miss your train.
Don’t dawdle along. The key is to get that metabolism up and get the blood pumping around your body.
Vary your terrain.
If possible, make sure you are going up some hills and walking over different surfaces. If you live somewhere flat, try adding in some stair climbs. Go over the grass as well as paved surfaces. You will use different muscles and help tone different areas of the body.
Swing your arms
Swinging your arms vigorously whilst walking helps to get the blood pumping. It also helps the lymphatic system which doesn’t have a mechanism like the heart to help it flow. Muscle contractions are what get the lymph moving. Improving your lymphatic flow is great for your immune system and overall health.
Walking to Lose Weight, 5 Steps to Success
So, we have seen that walking, in conjunction with some other lifestyle changes can help weight loss. Here are my 5 tips to help you get the most out of walking and start to lose weight.
1 – Find a walking buddy.
Its always nicer to do exercise with others as it spurs you along. However, this buddy doesn’t need to be human. A dog makes a brilliant walking buddy who will encourage you to get outside whatever the weather.
2 – Make a playlist or listen to an audiobook
Have something to listen to in your headphones. Making an uptempo playlist or listing to an audiobook or podcast can be very helpful.
3 – Wear the right shoes
Don’t just wear running shoes. They tend to be stiff and not designed for the rolling action of walking. Instead, wear flexible and lightweight walking sneakers. You should be able to twist them with your hands.
4 – Walk somewhere you enjoy
To get yourself into a regular routine, you need to enjoy where you walk. Can you visit a beautiful area that inspires you? Maybe you could build it into your journey to work. Try and plan some routes through landscapes that inspire you
5 – Pair walking with a good weight loss plan
As I explained at the beginning, walking alone probably won’t give you the amount of weight loss you are looking for. It needs to be paired with a good healthy weight loss plan for maximum effectiveness. This can be found in my weight loss plan, below.