- Diet & Weight Loss
Want To Lose Weight? Don't Walk! Exercise and Weight Loss Myths Exposed
Biggest Loser Results: 5 Before & After Shots
Biggest Loser: "Just Do It"
Why The Biggest Loser Works: Walking Doesn't Cut It For Significant Weight Loss
Walking has many health benefits. Unfortunately, aiding weight loss is not one of them.
In fact, if you want to lose a lot of weight, over 15 lbs., doctors have found that you need to exercise hard for 55 minutes at least 5 times a week in addition to cutting calories. That means you need to work out almost five hours a week if you really want to see weight loss, according to a study of overweight women by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh.
These findings help to explain why the contestants on The Biggest Loser are able to drop so many pounds so fast: in addition to a carefully controlled diet at The Ranch, their days during the contest pretty much consist of working out, and working out hard.
Exercising for 55 minutes a day 5 times a week is twice the amount that doctors recommend for general fitness. This underscores what anyone who has ever lost significant amounts of weight and kept off that weight already knows: losing weight requires a major time commitment. But with these studies, now at least people now know what they need to do if they are serious about losing weight and losing weight for good.
Low-Intensity Walking and Strolls Do NOT Improve Aerobic Fitness
Magazines and news stories tout the health benefits of adding light or moderate activity to people's daily lives. Considering the obesity epidemic in America and elsewhere, there is no question that there is a benefit to getting people up off the couch and moving. The push for people to incorporate at least 10,000 steps each day, and to use a pedometer to track those steps, is surely a positive thing overall.
Unfortunately, going for an easy walk may calm your nerves or feed your soul, but it won't get you more fit. A study has found that walking has to have some intensity to it to have real health benefits; those who went for low-intensity walks saw no cardiovascular improvements.
Aerobic fitness is a measure of the body's ability to use oxygen, and it turns out the heart rate must be elevated to achieve this. Study subjects who walked briskly, who got out of breath and/or broke a sweat, did see improved aerobic fitness and lower blood pressure.
You may want to consider investing in a heart rate monitor or a GPS watch to help keep track of your workout lengths and also of their intensity. Both a heart rate monitor and a Garmin GPS watch can sync with computer programs and give you so much moe insight about the quality of your workouts, in turn making them more effective and more fun. I own both, but am better about using the GPS watch than the heart rate monitor, though I know I am missing vital information by not using it!
Is There Any Good News About Walking? Yes!
While walking may not be the silver bullet solution for weight loss and heart health that many people have wished it to be, walking certainly is good for you. It is worth it to invest in a pedometer and strive to take 10,000 steps each day.
In fact, walking can give you a better brain. A study at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that when previously sedentary adults over the age of 59 started walking three times a week for more than 40 minutes at a stretch, their memories improved. Walking was decisively linked to better attention, better memory and better neural connections.
Seems that the brain gets active when the feet start moving.