Hey Angels and Alphas,
We all know that creating a caloric deficit is as simple as making a few dietary changes, but we all also know that exercise goes a long way toward helping you achieve that deficit.
In fact, exercise could serve as a way to amplify your results – in one study, obese and overweight women who followed both an exercise program and a diet for up to one year lost significantly more weight than women who followed a diet-only program. (10.8 percent vs 8.5 percent.)
If you’re someone trying to lose weight and you plan on adding exercise to your routine, you might want to consider starting with the easiest option – brisk walking.
One study done over the course of a decade and a half, published back in 2009, concluded that walking was directly linked to fat loss and less weight gain over time. In other words, walking regularly could not only help you lose weight, but it could help you maintain it over the long term.
Walking was found to be a potent cardio exercise, lowering levels of organ fat and abdominal fat, which both play a key role in the development of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Even though you may not be seeing a change on the scale, walking will be an effective fat-burner for those of you who are used to following a diet-only plan.
But not only is walking a great way to get rid of stubborn fat reserves, but it’s also great if you’re trying to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness. Cardiorespiratory fitness is vital for your health and longevity, so much so that some physicians in the U.S. measure it in routine check-ups as a prime health sign. Low cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with a higher risk of death from any cause. Lucky for you, walking will help you make the necessary steps toward preventing that. No pun intended.
So how can we implement brisk walking into our routine and reap the weight-loss advantages?
Well, walking is a pretty straightforward activity, however, turning it into a consistent habit and even a planned routine can be somewhat difficult. That being said, walking is still the fundamental form of movement for a human being. It can be done in any environment with pretty much no equipment.
Walking, regardless of your pace, will offer a vast array of benefits. But walking at a brisk pace could potentially lead to the highest amount of weight loss results.
Consider the following estimates:
A person who weighs 155 pounds who walks for up to half an hour a day (at a pace of about 3.5 mph) will burn roughly 150 calories.
If that pace is bumped up to 4 mph, the person will burn roughly 170 calories in the same amount of time.
But what actually qualifies as brisk walking?
According to the CDC, brisk walking is walking at a pace of at least 2.5mph. This falls under the category of exercise with moderate intensity.
However, how intense this feels to you will be entirely subjective and determined by your current fitness, height, weight, terrain, etc.
One helpful tip here is to gauge your intensity on a scale of 1 to 10. Imagine 1 was sitting, while 10 amounts to the highest level of effort possible. Brisk walking should be somewhere in the middle.
If you’re not sure where to start, you can try the following recommendations by the CDC:
Focus on getting at least 2 and ½ hours of brisk walking every week. If you want to reap even greater health benefits such as the reduced risk of a plethora of chronic conditions, your aim should be about 5 hours a week.
Still, if you’re trying to lose weight, you have to pair your new walking routine with a healthy diet. While exercise can help you create a caloric deficit through the calories you burn, your diet will still be the critical determining factor in whether or not you reach a deficit or a surplus.
The key for fat loss is determining how much energy you’re expending with each of your training sessions and finding out how many calories you’re consuming through your diet.
If you’re either new to exercising altogether or you’re suffering from a chronic condition, experts recommend that you seek help from a professional.