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Is Walking Enough to Lose Weight?

Obesity is rising in the Western world, and this is bad news for health; being overweight increases the risk of developing various conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Walking has been touted as an effective way to keep the weight down. Keep reading to learn whether it is really possible to lose weight by walking.

Is Walking Enough to Lose Weight?

Yes

Adding 30 minutes of brisk walking to a daily routine will burn around 150 more calories. Safe weight loss is considered to be one or two pounds per week, and to do this, it is necessary to eliminate around 500 calories per day, depending on your weight and activeness.

The average person walks 4,000 steps per day, and in order to burn 440 calories, 10,000 steps are needed. This means a person would only have to increase their step count by one and a half times in order to lose weight. As walking is such a flexible activity, these extra steps should not be hard to find.

Walking is the easiest activity to fit into a daily routine, making it especially useful for busy lifestyles. Walking to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and replacing television-watching time with going for a short walk can be ways of easing activity into a sedentary lifestyle. Once the person gets used to the exercise and gradually starts increasing it, this can be a great springboard into a more active lifestyle.

No

Some professionals would argue that walking is not enough - in order to lose weight by walking, a person would have to walk at a speed of 3.5 mph (5.6 kph), which would be very hard to sustain for two hours on a daily basis. It would therefore be easier to find other activities that increase the heart rate and are a little more intense, such as aerobics or dancing. A half-hour aerobics class will burn around 240 calories, meaning you save time and effort by combining walking with other forms of exercise.

Although walking is an excellent complement to a weight loss program, research has shown that simply eating fewer calories seems to promote weight loss more effectively than exercise. This means that changing your diet as well as increasing physical activity will help you lose weight more quickly than simply by walking.

When you are gently strolling, it is easy to think you are doing more for your body than you actually are. Unfortunately, a gentle stroll is not enough, and this is the trap that many people fall into when they use try and lose weight by walking.

Walking is a very useful component of any weight loss program, and allows people to easily fit exercise into their busy lives, but most of the time it is not enough to lose weight simply by walking - dietary changes need to be made, too. The best weight loss program combines eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains with a varied and active lifestyle.

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Sources:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Getting Started with Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight. Retrieved August 22, 2014, from http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/physical_activity/getting_started.html
  • National Health Service UK. (2012). The 10,000 steps challenge. Retrieved August 22, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/loseweight/pages/10000stepschallenge.aspx
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture. (2011). How many calories does physical activity use? Retrieved August 22, 2014, from http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/physicalactivity_calories_used_table.html