Hey Angels and Alphas,
Regardless of your age or current fitness level, there are tons of benefits to starting your own walking routine coupled with proper nutrition.
To do it right and achieve the amazing weight loss and fat burning benefits that come with a consistent walking routine, you’ll need to make sure that you’re walking far enough, that you’re walking at the right intensity, and that you’re paying attention to your diet.
Here’s what you should know about getting started with a walking weight loss routine:
WEIGHT LOSS AND WALKING DURATION
According to experts over at the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), people should strive to participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per day or up to 150 minutes a week. While this can help you achieve optimal cardiovascular fitness and combat health risks, you’re likely going to need a little more than that if you want to achieve weight loss and be in great shape.
If you’re someone who is overweight and you’re trying to lose weight, or you’re someone who is trying to keep weight off after losing it, ACSM experts suggest that you increase that number up to between 200 and 300 minutes every week.
Breaking this down bit by bit, all you really need is a 1-hour walk 4-5 days a week, and you’ll be able to achieve massive weight loss results. Any extra time you spend exercising on top will even add to your calorie burn and improve your fitness level.
WALKING INTENSITY IN YOUR WALKING ROUTINE
It’s a fact – not all walks are created equal. That’s why it’s important for us to continuously measure our heart rate and strive to reach a moderate-intensity level during our walk. According to the CDC, moderate-intensity exercise could be defined as any activity that raises your heart rate to 50-70 percent of your maximum heart rate.
If you decide to increase the intensity of your walk, either by adding in short periods of running or adding some sort of resistance training to the mix, exercising at a much higher activity level (say 80 percent of your maximum heart rate) will require the duration of your walk to be cut in half just so you can achieve the same exact benefit. In other words, you’re much better off with a 60-minute walk that’s moderate intensity instead of a 30-minute walk at a vigorous pace.
The most accurate way to measure the intensity of your walk is to keep a heart monitor, but you might also want to keep track of your perceived exertion level. Just ask yourself, on a scale of 0-10 (0 being sitting and relaxing and 10 being peak exertion), how you feel at different times during your walk, and make sure you keep the number at around 5 or 6… with high-intensity activity starting at around 7.
HOW DOES WALKING COMPARE TO RUNNING?
Walking can provide the exact same health benefits as running and comes with a lower risk of injury. However, it’s true that, when it comes to weight loss, the duration is key for people who prefer walking.
According to experts over at the American Council of Exercise (ACE), an average 150-pound (68kg) runner will burn 340 calories on a three-mile (5k) run when they average a 10-minute mile. In turn, this averages out to about 11.3 calories per minute.
But if you take a 150-pound (68kg) walker that exercises at a moderate pace of three miles per hour, he will burn 224 calories during a three-mile (5k) walk (60-minutes total). This will average out to about 3.7 calories per minute.
While this shows that running is, indeed, a much more efficient activity for burning calories, you can make up the difference if you just walk longer. In the example mentioned above, you would need to walk for about one hour and 30 minutes if you want to achieve the same calorie burn as a run of about three miles.
HOW DOES TRACKING YOUR MEALS PLAY A ROLE?
Calculating and then recording your daily number of steps, mileage, time, and even exercise intensity is going to be a great way to succeed faster on your road to losing weight. But the last part of the equation is just as crucial – your nutrition.
Logging your meal intake with an app or a notebook, as well as your workouts, will help you get a more accurate picture of what you need to work on if you want to lose weight and keep it off.