Walk your way to weight loss...at any age

BlackDoctor.org | 8/30/2017, 11:51 a.m.
Walking to lose weight but don’t know where to start? Here’s what you need to know to stroll your way ...

Walking to lose weight but don’t know where to start? Here’s what you need to know to stroll your way to weight loss, at any age.

According to researchers from the University of Virginia, intensity is key. In fact, women who power walked three times weekly for a short period – in addition to two longer, moderate speed walks – lost 5 times more belly fat than those who simply strolled at a moderate pace 5 days a week. Both groups burned the exact same number of calories, about 400 per workout. However, those who picked up the pace also dropped more than 2 inches from around their waistlines, trimmed about 3 times more fat from their thighs, shed 4 times more total body fat, and lost almost 8 pounds over 16 weeks – all without dieting.

The best part? “Nearly everyone can do it. It takes only some shoes and you can do it anywhere and in any season,” Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FAND, Associate Clinical Professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, tells BlackDoctor.org.

How Much Walking Do You Need to Do to Lose Weight?

In order to gauge how walking may impact your weight loss goals, Dr. Ayoob provides this example: “2000 steps is about a mile, and for a 150-lb person that burns up about 95-100 calories. If you burn about 3500 calories, it’s a pound of body fat.”

Keep in mind, that the amount you shed is based upon body weight. “Smaller people will burn less, larger people and those with a lower fitness level will burn more calories,” he said.

As for the age old question ‘can you walk off 10 pounds,’ Dr. Ayoob confirms “Sure! 35 miles would be about 10 pounds.” But, “be patient,” he adds. “Technology trains us to get everything instantly. Bodies are different and always have worked more slowly than technology. Accept that as normal.”

Walking for Weight Loss Best Practices

While no fitness plan is foolproof, one key to success is overcoming challenges. “Everything changes with age. You might have to forego walking up hills or trim the time you walk back a little,” said Dr. Ayoob, adding that there are simple tips one can follow to achieve their goal.

  1. COMMIT! Make it a daily thing. Or, at least 5 days per week. Walk different routes when you walk outside to keep boredom away.
  2. BRISK walking — not strolling — is the way to make this work. What’s brisk walking? Walking as though you have to get someplace on time. No dilly-dallying.
  3. Walk after a meal. It helps prevent blood sugar from spiking as much and you can burn some of the meal calories before they get deposited into fat tissue. “Walking after eating can also help reduce reflux symptoms, because the movement of walking helps release air you may have swallowed during eating,” said Dr. Ayoob.
  4. Aim for 60 minutes daily, but build to it if you’re out of shape.
  5. Do what you can, when you can. It doesn’t have to be an hour straight. Short walks count towards the 60 minutes, and they help keep your metabolism from slowing down. Taking those stairs, walking to the corner for a newspaper, it all helps, especially if you walk briskly.

Moderate exercise, like walking, also helps you to know when you’re hungry and when you’re really not. This can help reduce mindless eating and the pounds, says Dr. Ayoob.