I know what you’re thinking. “There’s no way something as simple as walking can help me get healthier, leaner and fitter”. And in this article, I’ll be addressing just that. Specifically is walking good for weight loss?
The truth is that walking is the best cardio for weight loss. In my opinion. And I’ll tell you why.
But first, you need a quick crash course on how you actually lose weight. And most importantly fat.
How You Actually Lose Fat: A Quick Crash Course
You first eat fewer calories than you burn. The scientific name for this is a calorie deficit.
And once you’re eating in a calorie deficit your body needs to make up for that deficit somehow.
Your body makes up for the deficit by using your fat stores as energy. This results in you losing fat over time.
How Cardio Can Help You Lose Fat
When you perform any task. Whether that’s walking, running, sprinting, cleaning your house or working a manual job. You burn calories. And the more calories that you burn. The easier it is to be in a calorie deficit.
Cardio Vs No Cardio For Fat Loss
Say for instance you had a maintenance calorie target of 2000 calories. This means that you need to eat 2000 calories per day to maintain your weight.
And to lose 1 pound of fat per week you need to put yourself in a 500 calorie deficit every day.
The reason for this is because there are roughly 3500 calories in 1 pound of fat. And a 500 calorie deficit across 7 days = 3500 calories.
But if you walked an hour, every day 7 days per week you’d burn an extra 2100 calories per week.
And if you’re wondering where I got this number from. Most people burn between 200-400 calories for every hour of walking. So I think it’s fair to say that the average person burns 300 calories per hour of walking.
And 300 calories per hour x 7 = 2100 calories. Then this would result in the weekly calorie deficit being 5600 calories.
This is because a diet-induced deficit of 3500 calories. Plus an exercise-induced deficit of 2100 calories = 5600 calories.
This would result in you losing closer to 2 pounds of fat per week because of the extra cardio you’ve committed to.
5 Reasons Why I Recommend Walking Compared To Other Types Of Cardio: Is Walking Good For Weight Loss?
1. Walking Is Easy
Anyone can commit to walking 30 minutes to an hour every day. It doesn’t matter what your current level of fitness is. If you’re very unfit. Walking is a great place to start with your exercise regimen.
2. Walking Can Make You Smarter
When I go on walks I like to listen to a podcast or an audiobook. This helps me learn as I go for a walk.
This also makes the walk more enjoyable. And you’ll be getting fitter while also burning calories and learning.
3. Going For Walks Makes You Happier
I don’t need pub med (scientific studies) to back this point up. There’s something that going out for walks does for your soul. Being out in nature, and releasing endorphins just makes you feel good.
And just to prove that what I’m pontificating about isn’t utter bullshit. Here’s a study that shows frequent walks that are as short as 5 minutes. Can increase your levels of energy and vigour.
4. Walking Can Improve Your Relationships
If you choose to make daily walks a habit especially with a friend or loved one/ ones. Then this can be an extra hour or so each day where you talk to one another.
This might not seem like much but when you’re walking with others there are no distractions. Just you and another human being and hopefully some stimulating conversation.
Humans are sociable beings. And just committing to a few walks per week with friends or loved ones. Is the perfect foundation to build upon and bolster your relationships.
Walking costs nothing. And anyone can experience the benefits of walking NOW.
5. Walking Doesn’t Drain Much Of Your Recovery Abilities
If you want to gain strength and muscle while losing weight. Or in general. Walking is the perfect cardio.
The reason is simple. Walking is very easy to recover from and it’s even a good method of active recovery.
But cardio such as running and high-intensity interval training. Drains your recovery abilities much more.
Walking Is The Best Way To Increase Your Non- Exercise, Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
NEAT is the amount of calories you and I expend. For everything that we do. That isn’t sports-like exercise, eating or sleeping.
For example, everyday activities that count towards NEAT are:
- Working, e.g. typing, cooking, manual labour, housework etc.
- Undertaking agricultural tasks.
5 Ways To Increase Your NEAT
1. Walking for an hour every day (this way you burn an extra 2100 calories through NEAT per week).
2. Walk to work and the shops ( On top of an hour walk every day, you’ll burn even more calories and increase your NEAT).
3. Use the stairs, If you work in an office block where you regularly use the elevator. Use the stairs instead, by doing this you can dramatically increase your Weekly NEAT.
4. Have a daily steps target, If you aim to hit 10,000 steps a day, your weekly NEAT will be dramatically higher. Compared to if you just sat on your ass.
5. Commit to doing more housework or take up gardening. This way you’ll have a tidier house. And you’ll cultivate a beautiful garden while increasing your NEAT.
Should You Eat Back The Calories You Burn From Walking?
The short answer is no. Pedometers like fit bit’s are great for tracking your steps. But when it says you’ve burned x amount of calories. They’re super inaccurate.
Introducing Cardio Into Your Weight Loss Plan , Allows More Room For Error With Your Nutrition
You should always aim to hit your calories and macronutrients for weight loss to the best of your ability. But there will be times when you’ve eaten more calories than you think you have.
But increasing your calorie expenditure through walking ( and other types of cardio). Can offset this. Making it more likely that you’ll maintain your calorie deficit.
The Bottom Line On Is Walking Good For Weight Loss?
1. Walking is amazing for weight loss, considering you’re in a calorie deficit. If you commit to daily walks you’ll reach your weight loss goal faster.
2. Walking has many benefits that go deeper than just losing weight.
3. Walking is the best way to increase your NEAT and walking just an hour every day can help you burn up to 2100 calories or more per week.
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