Free Women's Fitness Newsletter

Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Shape Up
Win Free Supplements and Other Great Prizes
Stay Informed, Stay Motivated and Win Free Stuff, Join Today!

Sign up free by sending an e-mail
Click Here For Free Weekly Women's Fitness Tips

Is There Really a Simple Walking Weight Loss Program?

By: Donovan Baldwin

It's a fact that walking for weight loss has to be one of the most effective, and healthiest ways to lose weight.

While all kinds of exercises produce all kinds of different, yet positive, health benefits, walking is a natural form of exercise which stands out from all the rest.

A walking weight loss program is simple to start, easy to keep going, and can be incredibly effective. While no single exercise is perfect, and many can provide a range of health benefits similar to walking, it is very hard to find a weight loss program of more value when taken as a whole.

No exercise is perfect, and walking is no exception.

It does not build much muscle, does not directly increase flexibility to any great degree, nor does it necessarily prepare someone for any specific activity other than...well...walking.

However, this last point is not necessarily a bad thing. Many who simply start out walking for weight loss or to improve their health have moved on to a wide range of other activities such as hiking or running marathons. However, it was getting up and moving, getting fit, losing weight, improving health, increasing energy, and creating a better self image through an initial walking weight loss program that got them started.

Some more great things about walking is that it needs little in the way of equipment, other than a good pair of shoes; requiring very little in terms of space and no real training in the activity. Additionally, walking is a natural function of our lives, and most of us can find ways to simply incorporate more walking in our lives without creating some formal workout routine.

In fact, I came up with the bare bones of this article while lying in bed this morning. Later, while watching CNN, I saw a story by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, in which he focused on a woman who had lost 40 lbs and was able to stop taking her blood pressure medication simply because she started riding the train into Atlanta and walking several blocks from the station to her office instead of driving in and parking nearby!

However, many people are just not sure of what to do, or what to expect, and want what my wife refers to as a "recipe". They want to be told how often to walk, how far and how fast to walk, and what they can expect from following that recipe. A failure or breakdown in any of these aspects often leads to the individual dropping out of their walking weight loss program or not starting in the first place because it all seems too complicated or too difficult.

Any exercise program, and walking is no exception, is often at risk with people new to exercise simply because of expectations being to high, and knowledge on the part of the exerciser being too low.

Let's cover the expectations and knowledge part up front before we get to the subject of establishing a personal walking weight loss program.

While researchers in a lab environment can establish averages and baselines for weight loss, burning fat, and the use of calories, these figures are based on data obtained from several different participants. This data in its final form can only represent an overall average of these many different subjects performing specifically in the parameters of the trial.

You are one individual whose sidewalk may be different from the research facility's track and whose parents are different from those of the subjects in the study. Not only is your genetic makeup different, but what you had for breakfast and how long ago you had it is different, as is your personal level of health and fitness.

Do you see my point?

You should not directly compare the benefits and results of your chosen activity to those obtained in other studies.

On the other hand, the data DO definitely show that regular walking can help you lose weight and increase your health. Just because you cannot duplicate the results of a study exactly, or even perform the program followed by the participants exactly, does not mean that you should give up on the idea of creating your own walking weight loss program.

Also, many similar studies have come up with much the same results using slightly varied exercise programs, so it is probably not completely necessary to follow any particular walking program to the exclusion of all other. To put it another way, your personally developed and adjusted walking weight loss program has just as much chance as being appropriate for you as theirs do!

How much weight will you lose and how fast will you lose it?

That is going to depend on many factors as well.

For example, your age, sex, weight, physical condition, and diet will be just a few of the factors which will come into play. How often you exercise, how intensely you exercise, and your long term commitment (extending over many months or even years) to your walking weight loss program will all have an impact on your final results.

Is walking the only exercise you need to lose weight?

Not necessarily. While many people can lose all the "weight" they need to lose through walking, using resistance exercises to build muscle tissue can cause you to lose weight more effectively and during periods when you are not specifically exercising. Walking will build a small amount of muscle tissue if you are not in shape at first, but once built, that's all you're going to get and you will have to walk farther, faster, or more often in order to burn more calories.

In fact, some people will only be able to burn fat or calories to a certain level, and may find themselves at a new, though healthier, level of weight and fitness without having reached their goals.

This is why you see many people who walk a lot who are still overweight.

In most cases, they will not have modified eating habits, will not have added resistance training to their primary exercise activity, or will not have challenged themselves within their walking program by attempting to go farther, faster, or over more difficult terrain.

The good news is, however, that if, like the lady in Atlanta, you simply begin by finding a way to add some additional walking to your daily lifestyle, it will not be immediately necessary to take on the demands of a formal fitness program. Keep finding ways to add more walking to your daily activities, however, and you will see a definite loss of weight and improvement in many health areas.

If you have hesitated to get started because of issues with time, equipment, and/or because you think you must have some particular goal or structured process to guide, you, get over it. You just need a few minutes somewhere in your day, a good pair of shoes, and an area to walk in, and you can start your own highly effective walking weight loss program.

Donovan Baldwin is a freelance writer currently living in a small town in Texas. He is also a University of West Florida alumnus (BA Accounting '73), a long time member of Mensa, and is retired from the U. S. Army after 21 years of service. He has published many of his articles on diet and weightloss at http://nodiet4me.com/articledirectory and blogs regularly on related subjects.

Free Women's Fitness Newsletter

Lose Fat, Gain Muscle, Shape Up
Win Free Supplements and Other Great Prizes
Stay Informed, Stay Motivated and Win Free Stuff, Join Today!

Sign up free by sending an e-mail
Click Here For Free Weekly Women's Fitness Tips

© 2000-2016 WomensFitnessOnline.com