How Does Walking Help You Lose Weight?

Overview

Walking helps you lose weight by providing a cardiovascular exercise that tones your legs and glutes. It helps lower your bad cholesterol and raise your good cholesterol while also lowering your blood pressure. Walking helps to improve your mood as well, which makes you less likely to indulge in depression or boredom eating. Best of all, walking is low-impact, can be done by anybody, and needs no special training or equipment.

Burning Calories

Walking is a calorie-burning exercise; you are utilizing your muscles and keeping your heart active, ultimately helping you lose weight. If you weigh 150 pounds, you could burn approximately 120 calories during a moderate-speed, 30-minute walk–approximately three miles per hour. The faster you walk, the more calories you burn. Alternately, you can increase your calorie burn by walking up hills and other varying terrain. If you don’t have time for a full 30-minute walk, you could do three 10-minute walks throughout the day and achieve similar results.

Aerobic Effects

Walking is a great cardiovascular exercise; it keeps your heart pumping and blood flowing. Also, as you increase your walking speed, it becomes even more of an aerobic workout. If you walk faster than 3.1 miles per hour, each stride becomes longer, which exerts more energy and forces your body to adjust by requiring more arm and torso movement as well as more torso and hip rotation. All of this extra work and compensation turn into extra calories that you are burning.

Little Tricks

Some slight modifications can throw some extra walking into your daily routine. Parking farther away from your workplace or the mall forces you to walk a longer distance to your destination as well as back to your car. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator also helps increase distance walked and becomes more of an aerobic workout as you climb each stair.

Set Goals

Setting a goal for walking will help achieve weight loss goals by challenging you to accomplish an objective. Once you can easily accomplish your goal, you can reset the goal to something slightly more difficult, ultimately increasing your performance. Perhaps your original goal is to walk a mile; once you can walk a mile, you might change that goal to a mile and a half, which would help your endurance, or you might change that goal to walking a mile in under 15 minutes, which would help your speed and stamina.

Stay Motivated

Keep your motivation up by walking in an area that makes you happy–perhaps in a park or by a lake. Continue by varying your route, which alleviates boredom and helps you find new nice places to walk. You can also stay motivated by inviting a friend or two to walk with you; this will make you more likely to walk because you will have company, but it will also provide you an opportunity for quality social time. When you are more comfortable with walking for fitness, you can also keep your motivation going by participating in charity walks and events.

About this Author

Katie Strzeszewski began writing professionally in 2003. Her articles have appeared in “The York Dispatch,” “The Morning Call,” and the Lehigh Valley edition of “Metromix.” Strzeszewski holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and English secondary education from York College of Pennsylvania. She also currently works for Best Buy’s Geek Squad.