Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know you can get too much even out of the good things in life. Or at least anything we do too much has the potential to become a bad, or less good, thing.
And walking, just like all types of exercise, can become one of those things you can get too much out of.
At first glance, it might sound counterintuitive… too much walking? It’s really a strange question since every article you read online would likely encourage you to walk more, not less.
But if you’ve landed on this article, chances are you may have hit a point where you simply can’t walk anymore because you’re either not seeing the results you want or you’re feeling too stressed and can’t physically do more.
Unfortunately, those are both signs that you need to make a change. While walking isn’t something you can stop doing completely (for obvious reasons,) you may want to re-evaluate your approach and the place walking has in your training regime.
When does walking become “too much?”
While there’s no researched specific time cap on how long you can walk before it becomes a problem, there’s definitely a moment in which the will to walk becomes unhealthy.
In general, if you are someone just walking for their basic fitness, it would be extremely hard to overtrain yourself solely off of walking… provided you’re eating enough calories.
But if you’re walking for weight loss, this can become a little bit more obsessive. You’re entering into a territory where you’re stressing out your body and creating this dependency on walking as a way to burn off extra calories. If you catch yourself walking after every meal just so you can “burn it off,” this is a sign that walking could lead to negative consequences such as an altered metabolic rate or heightened cortisol levels.
If you’re a regular at the gym, you’re no stranger to the physiological “need” to exercise. And you know how difficult it could be to take rest days sometimes when you feel like you’re on a great roll with your training. But creating this dependency isn’t a good thing and shouldn’t be looked at as such.
Coming back to the “too much of a good thing” fiasco, experts agree – exercise is great for improving your fitness and boosting your mood but becoming dependent on it is treading on thin ice.
If you’re into long walks for your general wellness and fitness, great. But make sure you’re hydrating and fueling yourself properly if you’re walking for more than a couple of hours.
Here’s why you should walk FASTER… and not LONGER.
If you’re interested in losing weight the healthy way, walking for long periods of time might not be the best way to do it. Instead, adding some speed to your stride is the better solution.
Walking primarily burns fat for fuel. If you want to stay in a slow pace and not get into the higher aerobic zone (where you’re burning both fat and carbs,) then you’re not being as efficient as possible.
In reality, walking slowly might only burn fat (which is great and all,) but it happens at a much slower rate than you otherwise would burn calories if you picked up the pace. You’ll breathe a bit harder, sure, but your overall caloric burn will go through the roof.
The key is in the talk test: you should be able to hold a conversation while you’re walking, otherwise, you’re likely pushing yourself a bit too far.
And speeding up has proven to be better for your overall longevity, too!
Especially in the situations when walking more isn’t possible due to either time pressures or a less walk-friendly environment, speeding up and getting your heart rate up is an amazing option that’s also easy to incorporate in your life. Faster walking paces have shown to be associated with a much lower risk of all-cause mortality. Walk faster – live longer.
And finally, it’s important to remember that if you’re living a sedentary lifestyle, and you want to suddenly start doing lots of walking, you should first build up a regimen that slowly eases you into the duration and intensity you want so you can avoid potential risks and injuries.
It’s possible to both underdose and overdose on exercise and walking is no exception – build up slowly, don’t go too far, don’t become dependent on it, and you’ll have one of the best ways to burn fat mastered.