According to the Food Research & Action Center more than 2/3 of Americans meet the requirements to be classified as either obese or overweight. With a long list of associated health risks including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis, most Americans are searching for a way to improve their health.
While some of you will sign up for gym memberships, or join a group fitness class, others will find these activities to be intimidating as they are starting their fitness journey. The benefits of walking have long been talked about, but just what do you have to do to lose weight by walking?
The good news is that weight loss by walking is possible! You can safely lose 1 pound per week depending on the amount of walking you are doing. This would mean that in just 5 short months you have the potential to shed 20 pounds simply by adding a walking routine into your schedule!
How Often Should You Be Walking?
The results are going to vary slightly for each person, taking into considering your level of fitness, your weight, the speed in which you are walking and other factors. This means that while we can calculate an average to get an idea, some may walk less and lose the same weight, while others may have to push themselves a little harder.
A break down of the average American provides us with an idea of what dedication would be necessary. One mile of walking is approximately 2000 steps, and would burn 100 calories. To lose one pound you would need to burn 3,500 calories. If you are doing the math that means that you would need to burn 500 calories each day in order to lose 1 pound each week, which breaks down to 10,000 steps each week.
The average American can lose 1 pound each week by walking 10,000 steps!
Don’t let that intimidate you! Going back to the first point we discussed, 2000 steps is equal to walking one mile. So, that’s a grand total of 5 miles each week!
To see the best results from your efforts it is important to pay attention to your walking style. Just as there is ‘proper form’ with other workouts and activities, the right form while walking will allow you to maximize your calorie burn. Stand up straight, holding your chin up. Make a conscious effort to tighten your abs and squeeze your glutes as you are walking. This will activate more muscles, increasing the effectiveness of your workout!
5 Tips to Increase Your Weekly Step Count
Are you one of the thousands of Americans currently wearing a pedometer? Whether it is a Fitbit, a Garmin, or a pedometer app on your phone, the American Medical Associate states that you are more likely to succeed when you can monitor and control your weight loss efforts.
Try wearing a pedometer for one week and look at just how many calories you are already burning in your daily activities! You are likely going to be surprised. Still not quite hitting your step goal? Try these tricks:
- When you are parking at the mall or the grocery store, choose the parking spot as far from the door as you can, forcing yourself to walk further to and from your vehicle.
- Challenge yourself at work – instead of heading to the nearest bathroom, water fountain or photocopier, take the extra steps to walk to the one that is furthest from your desk.
- Talk a walk on your lunch. Whether you ask a co-worker to join you, or head out on your own, it is a great way to break up the work day.
- Always choose the stairs. Elevators and escalators may be faster, but why waste the opportunity to get those extra steps in, moving yourself closer to your health goals?
- Set an alarm on your phone to go off every hour. This is your reminder to get up and walk around, just long enough to shake off the fact you have been sitting. Continue this not only at the office, but at home. Are you watching your favorite television show? Up the ante and get up to walk ever commercial!
Note: Before starting any new fitness routine it is important that you check with your doctor. If necessary, start with shorter walks, and allow yourself to work up to reaching your larger goals. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon!