When it comes to losing weight, not only our appearance and weight loss are at stake, but also our health: being overweight and obesity are risk factors in many serious diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular problems or cancer, among others.
That is why many of us strive to find an affordable method, easy to incorporate into our daily lives and effective to lose a few kilos of body fat.
Could walking be that method? Is it possible to lose weight incorporating a simple activity such as walking and without the need to diet? The answer is somewhat more complex than a yes or no. Walking is indeed one of the best ways to incorporate exercise into your everyday life, but by itself, it is unlikely to help you lose weight.
Walking burns calories
Let’s start by explaining that to lose weight , your body needs to burn more calories than it consumes . Calories are the energy that the body needs to carry out all its functions, which allow you to move, breathe and think.
However, each person uses a different number of calories . The total depends on your age, gender, genetics, and your daily level of physical activity.
In our current lifestyle, mostly sedentary, incorporating physical activity into our habits is in many cases a conscious effort. Walking more can help you get there,
Depending on your weight, gender and age , walking at a leisurely pace 1.5 kilometers burns about 100 calories . A study concluded that people not used to exercising who walk about 5 kilometers an hour (a light pace), burn about 270 calories an hour.
To increase the calories burned, it is worth speeding up the pace or walking in areas with slopes.
Walking burns belly fat
Storing a lot of body fat around the waist is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. In fact, a waist circumference greater than 102 centimeters in men and 88 centimeters in women is called abdominal obesity .
One of the most effective ways to reduce belly fat is to do regular aerobic exercise , such as walking. A small study found that obese women who walked between 50 and 70 minutes three times a week for 12 weeks had an average waist reduction of 2.8 centimeters and lost 1.5% of their body fat.
Another study found that people on a calorie-controlled diet who walked for an hour five times a week for 12 weeks lost 3.7 inches from their waists and 1.3% more body fat than people who only followed the diet to lose weight .
Walking helps maintain the new weight
Many people who lose weight later have trouble maintaining the new weight. To achieve this, exercising regularly is crucial, something that can be achieved precisely by walking: walking not only increases daily activity, but also helps to build more muscle, which in turn helps burn more calories even when resting.
According to some studies , to maintain a stable weight, it is best to walk about 150 minutes a week . However, if you have lost a lot of weight, you may need a little more , about 200 minutes a week to avoid regaining it.
How far do you have to walk, and at what pace, to lose weight?
If you want to incorporate this activity into your day to day to lose weight, think that going for a walk with your dog around the block is fine if your previous level of activity was zero ( a little is always better than nothing ), but that That is not enough and that you will have to increase the time and intensity of the walk if you really want to notice its effects.
The ideal way to lose weight is to walk at least 150 minutes a week , for a total of 2 and a half hours. Try to walk almost every day, and don’t skip more than one in a row . If you want to lose weight, being consistent in your new habits is the most important thing. Again, ideally each session should last at least 30 minutes .
The reason is that during the first 20-30 minutes of exercise, your body uses the sugars in the blood as fuel, and it is from that moment when it uses body fat to continue maintaining its activity level.
When it comes to pace, try to find a speed that will keep you between 60-70% of your maximum heart rate . Normally that means walking at a light pace, between 5 and 6 kilometers per hour (between 3,000 and 4,500 steps every 30 minutes), but it can vary depending on your usual level of physical activity.
Does walking without diet lose weight?
We regret to tell you that, in all likelihood, no. While exercising and staying active is essential to stay healthy and a great help when it comes to losing weight, diet is the protagonist and the most effective way to achieve it .
As we have already said, losing weight depends on the balance between the calories you eat and those you burn : the former should be less than the latter. It’s what we call a caloric deficit, and it’s the one true secret to burning body fat.
This means that neither walking, nor running nor any type of physical activity will help you lose weight if your diet does not take into account your caloric intake and places it below your daily caloric needs. This deficit does not have to be very pronounced: it must be large enough so that its effects are noticeable, even little by little, but not so much that you starve or your body cannot function.
Bottom line: walking is an affordable and convenient form of exercise that can help you both lose weight and keep it off afterward. To achieve this, practice it for about 150 minutes a week at a good pace, and try not to skip more than one day in a row. Of course, if you want to lose weight, you will necessarily have to take into account your diet as well .
Images | Unsplash In Engadget Science | With these miracle diets you will lose weight, but in exchange for losing weight there are a lot of additional effects on your body