Does Walking Really Help You Lose Weight?



tree, working
Creative Commons License photo credit: preciouskhyatt

At the gym today I overheard two women talking about whether walking actually helps you lose weight. One of the women was all for walking – she claimed it had helped her burn many kilos of fat. The other woman thought it was a waste of time and that, in reality, walking burned no calories whatsoever.

In this post I want to talk about walking as a form of exercise and whether it will really help you to lose weight.

Does walking really burn fat?

I understand that this issue is going to be close to many readers’ hearts. For a lot of us, walking has formed the basis of our weight loss program and as such we have become quite attached. However, I feel it is important to write honestly as there are a lot of women out there placing all their hope in a morning walk.

The truth is that walking does work. It will help you burn enough calories to lose weight.

However. There are things you need to do in order to make sure your walks are effective. These factors are so crucial to your progress it is vital that you know them.

How to ensure your walks are burning fat

1. Walking needs to be done before breakfast
Walking is a very low intensity exercise. It gets your heart rate up but not enough that you will burn many calories after the session is finished. For this reason you need to make sure it is done before breakfast. Why? Because as soon as you give your body some fuel (food) it will use that instead of your fat stores for energy.

2. Walking needs to be done for at least 45 minutes
Science has shown that you don’t start tapping into your fat stores until around the 30 minute mark. That means that for the first half and hour your body is relying on mostly calories for its energy. Sure, some fat is getting burned but not very much. Try and make sure your walks are at least 45 minutes long if you want to tap into the annoying fat stores on your butt, thighs, legs, abs and love handles.

3. Walking needs to be fast
A walk is not a walk. All walks are not created equal. If you are doing walking as a form of exercise you need to be going at it a lot harder than if you were going for a leisurely walk in the park. A slow plodded walk will not do anything. However, a fast paced, arm pumping, lung burning race walk will burn a lot of calories.

4. Your walks need to progress
If you walk the same distance and the same pace for the same amount of time everyday for a year you are going to stop making progress. This is one of the biggest mistakes that women make when using walking as a form of weight loss. As walking is quite low in intensity you need to make sure you are making it harder all the time. If you don’t, it will soon start to plateau and you won’t make any new progress.

5. A post-dinner walk is a giant advantage
Going for a walk after dinner is one of the best things you can do for your weight. Why? Because you will use up some of your dinner calories that would otherwise get stored as fat while you sleep. Many women have lost a tonne of weight by going for a walk before bedtime. I highly recommend it.

Conclusion

Walking does burn fat and it will help you lose weight. However, it is important to take on board the tips I have given as these make the process a lot faster and more effective. And remember, not all walks are created equal. Make sure yours count.