Can Walking More Help You Lose Weight?

If all you had to was walk more to lose weight, would you do it?

What if you could walk your way to fat loss?

There’s a chance you can.

Before we get into how walking can help you, let’s talk about the basics of weight loss.

To lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume. That is fundamental.

If you aren’t in a calorific deficit, weight loss isn’t going to happen.

You can achieve this calorie deficit by eating less, moving more or a combination of both. The latter is preferable.

Is losing weight as simple as moving more and eating less? Yes and no.

If it was that easy everyone would likely be in great shape. There are other factors such as motivation, habits, accountability and your environment that we can address.

That said, for the scope of this post, we are just going to cover creating a calorie deficit.

Back to how walking can help you lose weight….

watering-wave-ocean

(Photo via Visualhunt)

Enter NEAT

There’s this thing called NEAT (non exercise activity thermogenesis). NEAT is the total amount of daily activity you do that isn’t what you’d class as exercise. Things like:

  • Walking
  • Doing household chores
  • Standing up and sitting down again
  • Fidgeting

Anything you’d class as not “exercising” but still involves moving will help increase your NEAT.

In modern society most people spend the majority of their time sat down behind a desk or in front of a TV. This means in the past several years the amount the average person moves throughout the day has decreased at an alarming rate.

The result? A decrease in NEAT and an increase in obesity.

Now, a decrease in NEAT is not the sole cause of obesity but there is a link between increased NEAT and weight loss.

A study performed on overweight adults found that they averaged only 7000 steps per day. This meant they were pretty inactive.

The researchers wanted them to increase their steps to 10,000 per day over a period of time. Everything else was to remain the same. No changes to their diet were made.

What happened?

“The results show that a minimal intervention consisting of a pedometer and a 10,000 steps per day goal can produce weight loss in sedentary, overweight adults.”

In 6 months the average adult lost 4.5kg, improved their cholesterol levels and lost several inches from their waist.

All they did was walk more. That’t it. No special diet. No super intense workout routine. Just getting into the habit of walking more.

10,000 steps per day.

That seems to be a good marker to aim for if weight loss is your goal.

What To Do Now

  • Start tracking the number of steps you are taking – you can use a phone app or pedometer for this
  • Start increasing the number of steps you take daily
  • Got an hour lunch break at work? Eat and then go for a walk
  • “Bored” in the evening? Go for a 20 minute stroll
  • Buy a dog (this makes walking way more fun)

Any opportunity you get to walk, do so.

Any opportunity you get to take the stairs rather than the escalator, do it.

Any opportunity you get to get up and move, do it.

All these little additions can make a big difference over time. This is a simple addition that everyone can introduce into their daily schedule.

Start walking more, start losing more weight.

Categories : Fitness, Habits, Lifestyle
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