Walking is a severely underrated and underused form of exercise by most trying to improve their fitness. Regardless of your age, fitness level a consistent walking regimen is vitally important to a weight loss program. To help you reach your goals you’ll need to make sure you’re progressively adding steps, at the right intensity and making sure you’re eating properly.
How far and long should you walk?
This is going to vary per person because everyone has different levels of activity throughout their day. For example, I’m already on my feet 5-7 hours per day training clients and others sit at a desk all day. So that’s a huge disparity in steps taken. I already take about 10-12 thousand steps with my day, another person may barely get 1 thousand. Therefore, the suggested dose may be different but best plan is the one you can stick to.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), individuals should aim to participate in a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day or 150 minutes per week. While this can help you get on track in terms of cardiovascular fitness and combating other health conditions, if you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll probably want to do a little more.
For individuals who are obese and trying to lose weight, or anyone looking to keep the weight off, the ACSM recommends bumping this number up to 200–300 minutes per week (3.3–5 hours). Breaking this down, a one-hour walk 4–5 days per week will be sufficient to achieve your weight-loss goals. Any additional time you spend exercising on top of this adds to your overall calorie burn and fitness level
In terms of walking intensity, all is not equal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), moderate-
Which is better running or walking?
I think both are good for a general long term weight loss plan. Like I said earlier the best plan is the one you can do daily or close to daily. Walking provides many of the same benefits as running but just takes longer to achieve the goal. Generally speaking, a 40 min walk is equivalent to a 20 minute run depending on run intensity.
According to the American Council of Exercise (ACE), a 150-pound (68kg) runner burns 340 calories on a three-mile (5k) run when averaging a 10-minute mile (for a 30-minute run). This averages out to about 11.3 calories per minute. On the other hand, a 150-pound (68kg) walker exercising at a moderate pace of three miles per hour burns 224 calories during a three-mile (5k) walk (60-minutes total). This averages out to 3.7 calories per minute.
How to track your progress?
I like to use my iPhone step counter as a source although I don’t have it on me all day but when I go for walks I use it to track my steps. Another way is use time or distance. There are several apps that help you track distance. I use https://apps.apple.com/us/
I find that to be a good one for walks, they also have running and biking one as well.
Bottom line just move more! It’s not rocket science so don’t make it that way. Start by walking to a plan you can enjoy and stick too. Maybe 30-45 minutes then try to improve distance and time over time. Too much too soon can cause it to feel like a chore, no bueno. Set some small goals, achieve them then track and see how you can make it better. If you are consistent and continue to make progress with your walking, coupled with good nutrition weight loss will be inevitable.