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Walking To Lose Weight - The Many Benefits Of A Walking Workout

Updated on May 28, 2013

Walking Workout

Walking For Exercise

Walking is a great way to exercise. Apart from a good, comfortable pair of shoes you don't need any special equipment. You can fit it into your day to suit your schedule. You don't need to visit the gym - so there's no monthly membership fee - and the health benefits are great.

Walking is a low impact workout - but it is a load bearing exercise which exercises the lower body muscles - so it will increase bone density. In comparison with other physical activities or sports, it is virtually injury free. Almost anyone can do it.

Of course, if you have any medical conditions, such as coronary problems or high blood pressure, or if you haven't taken regular exercise for some time, then you would be well advised to seek your doctor's opinion before starting any new exercise regime. However, with a little common sense, you will probably find that walking will improve your physical health, give you more energy and generally help you to feel better and enjoy life to the full.

Some of the many benefits of taking regular walking exercise are:

  • Reduced weight and body fat.
  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Reduced probability of heart disease and stroke.
  • Improved mental well being - walking reduces anxiety and depression.
  • Reduced risk of certain types of cancers.
  • Greater energy - you will feel less tired.
  • Helps you to sleep better.
  • Improved efficiency of both heart and lungs.

That's an impressive list of benefits from an exercise that is free, can be done by almost anybody, can be fitted into your daily schedule relatively easily and can be very enjoyable. Neither does your walking workout have to be very strenuous. Walking for as little as 30 minutes a day on a regular basis can have rapid and long lasting benefits

How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking?

This is a commonly asked question and the answer is - it depends.

It depends upon your weight, the temperature, the terrain that you're walking on - rough, smooth, uphill, downhill, etc. All else being equal, the most important thing, if you are interested in counting calories, is probably the distance that you walk.

A gentle stroll for five miles will burn off approximately the same number of calories as a fast walk, or even a jog, over the same distance. There may be advantages for you in upping your speed - if you want to raise your heart rate and get extra cardiovascular benefits for example. However, if you don't want to do that, or if you can't for due to injury or medical reasons, then you can still get plenty of benefits from a more leisurely walking pace as long as you go the distance and do it on a regular basis.

Five miles is the equivalent of around about 10,000 steps for the average person. If you can do that most days then you will soon feel the benefits - reduced weight, reduced size and generally feeling better.

It's much better to start off slowly and build up than it is to do nothing at all. There are plenty of opportunities for you. Leave the car and walk to the shops. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Take a short walk at lunch time. You really will be surprised at just how much better you feel after a relatively short period of getting regular light exercise.

Exercise Shoes

All you really need for a good walking workout is a good comfortable pair of shoes. You don't want to be getting blisters or feeling any discomfort - this will spoil your enjoyment.

However, there are now a number of different exercise shoes which are available and which claim to increase the efficiency of your walking exercise regime.

Fitflops exercise shoes, Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT) shoes and Skechers Shape Ups all claim to increase the amount of work done by the lower body muscles during normal activity and to thereby increase exercise effectiveness. The latest edition to this stable is Reeboks Easy Tones.

Fitflops are relatively affordable and look nothing like exercise shoes. There's a good range of MBTs on offer, some of which do look like exercise shoes, others which could be worn to the office quite easily. Skechers and Reebok offer conventional exercise shoe styles.

Apart from the increased exercise efficiency, these shoes also claim to reduce shock to the joints and jarring during walking.

Scientific testing does seem to back up these claims - and anecdotal evidence from users not only supports these claims but suggest that other benefits, such as improved posture, may also be available.

Other Possible Accessories For Your Walking Workout

One thing you might think about as a potential aid to your exercise regime would be an mp3 player. Again, this is something that you don't need for walking - but you may find it beneficial.

If you find it difficult to motivate yourself to walk, or if you find it boring, then you will probably find that the time, and the miles, fly by very much faster when your stepping out listening to your favorite tunes.

Alternatively, you could play some motivational recordings. Whatever works best for you.



Walking With Leslie Sansone

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