Hey Angels and Alphas,
Walking definitely tops the list for the most popular weight loss activities as more than 150 million adults (and counting) lace up their sneakers every single day. It’s an easy way to get your heart rate up, burn fat, and so much so that most people don’t even consider it a “workout” in the traditional sense. But it is.
When it comes to exercise, walking doesn’t seem to get the respect it deserves — and it’s about time we change that. Before you buy into the idea walking isn’t a legitimate workout, let’s learn the truth behind the six most common walking myths.
MYTH #1 – WALKING ISN’T A REAL WEIGHT LOSS WORKOUT
Sure, a slow stroll around the neighborhood isn’t going to move the needle on your scale, but it definitely burns more calories than binge-watching Netflix all day. If you want to lose weight with a walking workout, all you have to do is keep the intensity low – your body will not be required to tap into your carb stores, meaning the majority of the calories you’ll be burning will come from fat.
If you want to pick up the pace — without basically breaking into a run — at regular intervals during your usual walking routine will have a major impact on your efforts to lose weight.
In a relatively small study done by the University of Virginia, researchers found that overweight women who did three high-intensity walks for about 30 minutes and then two walks at a moderate pace for about 12 weeks, lost as much as six times more belly fat than women who went on slow strolls five times a week.
MYTH #2 – YOU NEED 10,000 STEPS A DAY TO SEE RESULTS
There is a certain feeling of accomplishment that comes when your fitness tracker buzzes to signal that you just hit 10,000 steps. But let’s face it – this is a completely arbitrary target.
Yes, there are studies out there that show walking 10,000 steps per day is directly linked to lower blood pressure and improved tolerance to glucose, but the idea of walking about five miles per day could feel overwhelming to someone who is just starting out.
As we noted in an earlier article, the benefits of walking start before you even step out the front door. There are benefits to even small amounts of walking and these benefits increase the more steps you walk each day.
If you still want to count your steps, you should consider this: Walking an additional 2,000 steps per day, even if your step count is currently in the triple digits, helps you lower your body mass index and boost your insulin sensitivity, according to this study published in BMJ.
MYTH #3 – POWER WALKING IS THE ONLY WALKING THAT BRINGS RESULTS
The truth is, brisk walks are a great way to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as build bone strength and lower your risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Picking up the pace can also help you burn more calories. If you walk 10,000 steps at a pace of 4 miles per hour, you will burn about 153 calories more than walking the same distance at about 2 miles per hour. That being said, speed is not essential for a solid walking workout.
Walking up hills is a wonderful substitution for brisk walks. Studies have proven that every 1% increase in the incline grade will equal to about 1 mile per hour of energy burned. Furthermore, walking longer distances will also be more beneficial than brisk walking.
MYTH #4 – WALKING IS FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T RUN
In reality, walking can be a “gateway exercise” that helps new exercisers boost their cardiovascular fitness, as well as their stamina, allowing them to transition into running.
That being said, not all walkers want to run – and that’s okay!
The Journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology published a study that found that the rates of high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension were much lower for regular walkers than they were for runners.
And sure, while a walk around the neighborhood is a great start, maximizing the benefits of your walking workout will require you to log a certain amount of time on your sneakers. But the earlier you create your walking routine, the earlier you’ll start to see its result on your body and mind.