Walking is one of the easiest ways to lose weight. A brisk stroll for just 45 minutes a day, four times a week, could help you lose two pounds a month - that adds up to 24 pounds over a year! Sound appealing? Try out our 10,000 steps challenge now...
Apart from the slimming benefits, walking strengthens the heart and lungs, improves bone density and boosts your mood by increasing the production of the feel-good endorphins in the body. But, best of all, it helps suppress appetite, so you lose weight.
How can walking help me lose weight?
How much would you actually need to walk to start seeing a difference in your shape then? According to experts, 10,000 steps a day does the trick, which should take about an hour. That may sound a lot, but walking the kids to school, playing with them in the park and even running up and down the stairs, will add up to that magic total in no time. Doing 10,000 steps should mean you burn off around 500 calories, which is a brilliant number and can really help with weight loss.
According to research from George Washington University, people who walked for 15 minutes after each meal had better blood-sugar control than those who walked for 45 minutes at any other point in the day. If you’ve got better control over your blood sugar levels, you’re better able to control your craving for sugary snacks or carby meals to give you a boost of energy – which in turn will mean managing your weight loss is a whole lot easier.
So it seems that both getting the extra exercise in via walking, and using walking to help us manage what we eat, is the magic combination for walking for weight loss.
How should we be walking then in order to help boost our weight loss? With our simple eight-point plan, you’re guaranteed to slim and tone up in just four weeks.
Walking for weight loss – eight point plan for maximising 10,000 steps a day:
- Fast, short steps will help you reach your daily step quota faster, so try to change the way you walk to reflect this.
- Stride out with your head and shoulders relaxed, and pump your arms to work your heart and burn more calories.
- Walk fast enough to work up a sweat, but not so fast that you haven’t got enough breath to hold a conversation.
- Walk on different kinds of surfaces. Uneven surfaces, such as woodland or fields, will use different muscles, so you’ll tone up faster. And if you walk up or downhill, you’ll also burn flab faster.
- Once you start to feel fitter, use small bottles of water as hand weights while you walk, these will help you burn an extra 200 calories per 30-minute session. It will also tone your arms, shoulders and back muscles.
- Change one thing a day to ensure you stick to your walking routine. For instance, park the car three roads away from school when you pick up the kids, or walk up the stairs in the car park with the shopping instead of taking the lift.
- Buy a pedometer to count the number of steps you take each day. Boots sell them from as little as £6.99.
- Walking is every bit as aerobic as running or a conventional gym class, so make sure you warm up and cool down with some gentle stretches with each session. Take deep breaths to bring down your heart rate, and bend from the waist to ease out your spine.
Our top tips to help you reach your 10,000 steps challenge goal
Though critics argue that there is no real scientific evidence or basis for the 10,000 steps challenge, it certainly can’t hurt to do so, and having a number to work towards can be a real motivator for some. So if you’re looking for tips to help you smash it, look no further…
- Take up the challenge with a friend – you could go for a long walk while catching up and having a chat Always use the stairs. You’ll be surprised how many steps you clock up by avoiding lifts and escalators
- If you get the bus to work get off at the stop before you usually get off and walk the extra distance Get up a few minutes early.
- You can’t clock up the steps by sleeping so get up early to give yourself more time to get ready and fit some walking in Walk while you talk.
- If you spend a lot of the time on the phone, make it a habit to pace up and down the room while you’re chatting, rather than sit in front of the TV
- Walk the kids to school, it’ll be great for them to get some walking in too
- Park the car in the furthest spot of the carpark