Walking to Lose Weight
If you have decided to use walking to lose weight we offer a choice between two free plans that work for lasting benefits.
You can chose the easier plan or the harder plan.
Simply decide where you prefer to start.
If you are healthy, young or middle-aged, and you are in reasonably good physical condition, we suggest that the Walking for Weight Loss Plan 2 may be more suitable.
The Plan 2 page link awaits you, near the bottom of this page, under the large heading 'Web pages related to this page.'
If you hate exercising but are willing to do some, start with the plan on this page.
How to do it effectively
Here we show you how to do it effectively.
If you stick to it and make each walk just slightly more challenging than your last one, you will soon be feeling much better.
If you also eat well, the results possible from just walking may amaze you!
Although it is not the best exercise to lose weight from a physiological perspective, walking does work.
Let’s assume that you have been inactive. If you do a lot of walking, you may lose weight. However, the chief value of this plan is simply to get you more active.
Because it isn't intense enough, walking is not the best exercise to lose weight.
On the other hand, brisk walking will, after 20 minutes or so, burn more fat than other kinds of exercise during the exercise. "Brisk" walking or other forms of mild fitness exercise (cardio) involve keeping your maximum heart rate at between 60 and 65%.
So brisk walking will enable you to burn more fat than you would without exercising at all.
(What, you may wonder, is the best kind of fat-burning exercise? It is a combination of strength training and intense fitness exercise (such as GXP, HIIT, or PACE). Their advantage is that that burn more fat after exercising -- for up to 40 hours! Since we spend a lot more time not exercising than exercising, that's important. When and if you are ready for them, we have pages of this website that explain in step-by-step detail how to do both strength training and intense fitness exercise even if you have never done any in your life.)
Just walking briskly (about 60 to 65% of VO2max) burns calories while walking and, after about 20 minutes (depending upon your degree of fitness) most (55%) of those calories come from burning fat.
To be honest, the downside of only doing brisk walking is that, if you teach your body to burn fat during exercise, it will begin to store fat so that it has fuel for your next exercise session! That's the opposite of what you want. You want your body to burn more fat throughout the day.
Nevertheless, walking has benefits other than fat burning and, if you do enough of it, it can still help you to lose weight.
When you lose 1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds of body weight you'll have lost about 1 pound of fat.
What's the best way begin walking briskly to lose weight?
How to begin
Ensure that you have what you need.
You need a place to walk. Walking on a treadmill is ideal, but it’s fine to walk outside. However, if you walk outside, since walking on concrete sidewalks or paved roads may give you shin splints, find a softer surface to walk on.
You need walking shoes that are less than six months old -- not running shoes or cross trainers—walking shoes.
You will need a watch — preferably with a minute hand.
Trim your toenails properly with a convex clipper. Ensure that your feet are clean and dry. Wear clean white socks. Wear whatever other clothes are suitable for the conditions.
If you find that skin rubs on skin (for example between your thighs or between your toes or between your arms and torso), use petroleum jelly to reduce the chafing.
You will need a notebook and a pen. Keep track of each walk: distance covered, the time it took, and any notes about how you felt during or afterwards.
(If you can afford a pedometer and want to use it, fine. However, it’s not necessary.)
Have modest goals for the initial phase
Set an initial goal.
If you have one in mind, fine.
If not, let’s pick a modest goal for the initial phase of your walking to lose weight campaign, namely, one mile in 30 minutes.
That may seem like an enormous challenge. Alternatively, it may seem like too small a challenge. Either way, it’s a reasonable starting point.
Walking to lose weight and time to warm up
Warm up before you begin walking.
Sitting in a chair, put your legs straight out in front of you. You knees should be locked and your feet about a foot apart. Roll both feet in a circular motion ten times one way, and then roll them ten times the other way.
Next, still keeping your knees locked, point your toes away from you and hold that position for 20 seconds. Then point your toes back towards your head and hold that position for 20 seconds.
Next, stand up. Keeping your heels flat on the floor and your toes pointed at about a 45 degree angle, squat all the way down as far as you can go. Let your knees track out over your toes as you descend. If possible, put your palms on the floor in front of you (with your elbows between your legs) and relax your neck so that your head drops forward. Maintain that position for 30 seconds or so and then stand up again.
This may be difficult at first, but, if you keep practicing it once a day, it will soon get much easier. It’s a wonderful, natural stretch.
Then simply walk at a normal pace for 2 to 4 minutes and you’re ready to go!
How far and how fast to walk
How fast should you go when you are walking to lose weight? Do not walk briskly. Just go at your normal pace.
How far should you go? Not far! Just walk for a little while, perhaps only a few minutes, until you begin to feel slightly tired. That's enough for today!
If you are using a watch, note for how long you walked. Write it down. Tomorrow you are going to walk slightly longer—another minute or two. The day after that, you are again going to walk slightly longer—another minute or two.
Persist! Soon, in a matter of weeks, you will be walking for 30 minutes.
Excellent! You are now halfway to the first goal.
All you have to do now is to walk slightly more quickly each time. Do not increase the distance. Just keep walking for 30 minutes every day religiously while pushing yourself slightly to move a bit more quickly. In just a matter of a few more weeks, you are going to be able to cover one mile in those 30 minutes.
(Alternatively, if you are using a pedometer, note how many steps you took during your walk. Write it down. Tomorrow you are going to walk for more steps—another 50 or 100. The day after that, you are again going to walk an additional 50 or 100 steps. Soon you will be walking 2000 steps. If you are taking a normal stride, that’s about one mile. Excellent!
All you have to do now is to walk those two thousand steps slightly more quickly each time. Do not take more steps. Just keep walking 2000 steps each day religiously while pushing yourself slightly to move a bit more quickly. In just a matter of a few more weeks, you are going to be able to do those steps in 30 minutes. Congratulations!)
Tip: after your walk, it’s a good idea to repeat that squat stretch again. (Also, especially if you feel the back of your body tightening up, do some stretching for your Achilles tendons, calves, hamstrings, and lower back.)
Listen to your body
In consultation with your physician and by “listening” to your body, adjust this walking to lose weight program to best suit yourself.
If you find it relatively easy, try doing it twice a day instead of once a day. If you find it relatively difficult, try doing it every other day instead of daily.
Once you are able to walk one mile in thirty minutes, your next goal should be walking two miles in 60 minutes. Use a similar program to meet that goal.
You may go for two one-mile walks in 30 minutes each or one two-mile walk in 60 minutes; it doesn’t matter. Break it up however it best suits you.
Once you are able to walk three miles in one hour every day, your third and final goal should be to walk four miles in an hour every day six days a week. Again, you may break it up.
There will be days when you feel discouraged and don’t feel like walking to lose weight. So? Do it anyway. If you persist, you will succeed.
In fact, the more of an obstacle you overcome, the more satisfying your accomplishment will feel.
You now have a clear program on using walking to lose weight. You will soon be feeling much better—and you’ll be looking better and be more fit as well!
Web pages related to this page
This completes the first walking to lose weight plan. Don't forget that we offer you a choice of walking to lose weight plans. You may prefer our brisker walking to lose weight plan.
You may also wish to use the link right at the bottom of this page to see the 'Fat Burning Exercises,' page which is the first page in this section of the website. You will find that page link at the bottom of this page.
Recommended books for weight loss
You don't need any other instructions about walking to lose weight other than those on this page.
However, the key to maximizing the benefits you obtain from brisk walking will come from eating correctly.
You will find these books on how to eat better very helpful:
All the above books are available from Amazon.com
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