Article
Can Walking for 45 Minutes a Day Really Boost My Weight Loss?

Looking to slim down, tone up, gain muscle and get healthier and fitter? Guess what – all you have to do is walk for 45 minutes per day. And that’s it. Don’t believe us? Give it a go!

Lose Baby Weight believe that walking is one of the best all-round exercises that you can ever do – it’s highly advocated by doctors and will not only burn off the calories, but it will also improve your health. Research studies have shown that walking can improve your cardiovascular health, reducing your risk of health problems such as high blood pressure and associated problems such as kidney disease and heart disease. Walking supports your bones, meaning that it can slow down or even prevent the onset of osteoporosis, and it also releases “happy hormones” within the brain, meaning that walking every day is a sure-fire way to make you feel happier and healthier.

Gentle On Your Body

We recommend walking for everyone that can do it – it’s as simple as that. If you’re able to walk, you can take it up as a daily exercise. Walking is actually a very gentle exercise – a little like swimming – in that it bears your weight. If you’re heavy or if you have problems with your joints, walking will not only make you feel slimmer, but it will also make you feel stronger – walking supports your weight, meaning that it doesn’t cause excessive strain on your joints. We also recommend it for everyone because literally everyone can get involved. If you’ve got a new baby, you can still walk – just push your baby in their push-chair. If you’ve got a dog, use them as an excuse to get in two or three walks a day! You can get your partner involved too. Another benefit of walking? It’s free – and all you need is a pair of walking shoes.

Fight Against Weight Loss

Because walking is such an easy exercise to do, it’s been the focus of many, many research studies. One of the most recent studies has shown that walking can be an excellent tool in the fight against weight loss. The University of Pittsburgh studied a number of overweight individuals. Some of them walked for between 30-60 minutes per day at a moderate pace, while others did not change their diet or exercise regime in any way. The group that added the walking into their routine lost a substantial amount of weight, while the control group’s weight remained exactly the same. This shows that walking – and walking alone – can help you to shed the pounds. This is simple due to the calorie deficit that walking creates.

Burn Off The Calories

Walking for 45 minutes per day at a moderate pace means you’ll be walking for 4 kilometres. And 4 kilometres every day can burn off a substantial amount of calories – up to 250 per day. Keep that up for a week and you can burn off 1750 calories. To lose a quarter of a kilo of fat, you need to burn off 3500 calories – so if you walk for 45 minutes a day, and create a calorie deficit through your diet, you can easily lose 0.5 to 1 kilo per week without it being too difficult – we promise!

Challenge Yourself

Walking is a great exercise, but it is also fairly easy to make your walks even more of a workout – thus losing more weight, gaining more muscle and becoming fitter. Make your walks more challenging by adding inclines – they can help you to burn off loads more calories. Rough terrain such as sand and gravel will also help you to burn off more calories, while adding ankle or wrist weights to your walk and swinging your arms while you go will burn off even more. Walking is super customisable, so you can make your workouts as challenging as you like.

When you’re out pounding the pavements, make sure that you always keep a moderate pace for optimum calorie burn and cardiovascular benefit. Walking at any pace is better than sitting on the sofa, but the more intense your walk, the more calories you’ll burn off.

Forget the gym: Why a brisk walk is a really great workout

This activity will melt away the pounds, tone your flabby bits and leave you on an emotional high. Yet the form of exercise destined to become the fitness trend of 2007 does not require gym membership or a personal trainer. All you need to do is walk.

“Walking is a refreshing alternative to complicated aerobic routines and overpriced gym memberships,” says personal trainer Lucy Knight, author of a new book on the exercise.

“It is free, enjoyable and already a part of everyday life. All you need to do is correct your technique, walk faster and for longer and you will lose weight.”

There is much evidence of the benefits of walking. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh recently revealed that overweight people who walked briskly for 30 to 60 minutes a day lost weight even if they didn’t change any other lifestyle habits.

Another American study found that people who walked for at least four hours a week gained less weight (an average nine pounds less) than couch potatoes as they got older. Last year, researchers at the University of Colorado found that regular walking helped to prevent peripheral artery disease (which impairs blood flow in the legs and causes leg pain in one-fifth of elderly people).

Walking can even prevent colds and more

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts medical school found that people who walked every day had 25 percent fewer colds than those who were sedentary.

Because walking is a weight-bearing exercise, it can also help prevent the bone disease osteoporosis.

“Bones are like muscles in the way that they get stronger and denser the more demands you place on them,” Knight says. “The pull of a muscle against a bone, together with the force of gravity when you walk, will stress the bone — which responds by stimulating tissue growth and renewal.”

Best of all, walking makes you feel good about yourself. “For people suffering from depression, walking three to four times a week for 30 minutes has been shown to enhance their mood,” says Knight.

Even if a 20 minute power walk at lunchtime is all you manage, after six weeks it could be comparable to a course of psychotherapy, psychologists at the University of Illinois found. Here’s how to walk your way to weight loss and wellness:

How much, how often?

Health experts recommend that we should walk 10,000 steps a day (about five miles) to stay healthy, yet most Britons walk only 4,500 steps. You would probably need to tot up at least 16,000 steps a day to lose weight.

Knight suggests the following workout plans, depending on your level of fitness. With each, you should aim to progress by increasing the duration of your walk by five minutes every two weeks, and the intensity by walking faster. “In just three months, the results should speak for themselves,” says Knight.

Beginners

  • Monday to Saturday: Walk ten minutes at a moderate pace.
  • Sunday: Walk slowly for 20 minutes.

Intermediates

  • Monday: Rest
  • Tuesday to Friday: Walk for 25 minutes at a moderate pace one day, 30 minutes the next.
  • Saturday: Walk 20 minutes fast.
  • Sunday: Walk 45 minutes at a moderate pace.

Advanced

  • Monday: Rest.
  • Tuesday to Friday: Walk 45 minutes at a moderate pace one day and 50 minutes the next day.
  • Saturday: Walk 50 minutes at a fast pace.
  • Sunday: Walk 60 minutes at a moderate pace.

Perfect your technique

To burn fat quickly and effectively, you should master power-walking. “Without it you will struggle to increase your pace and your weight loss will plateau,” says Knight. Stand tall with your arms by your sides and pull your navel towards your spine so that your core muscles are working.

Focus your eyes five to six meters ahead and keep your shoulders relaxed. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle and cup your hands lightly, rather than clenching your fists.

Leading with the heel, take a step forward with your right foot and move your arms in opposition (i.e. as your left arm moves forward, your right moves back). Transfer your weight through the heel of your right foot.

“It is very easy, once you start concentrating on the movement, to forget about breathing,” says Knight. “Try to get into a pattern, counting the number of steps to each in-and-out breath, making it the same each time.”

Vary the terrain

Adding hills to your route will speed up calorie burning. “On really steep inclines, it’s not unusual for even a fit person’s heart rate to increase by about 20 percent,” says Knight. Going downhill, you have to contract your leg muscles to work against gravity and slow your descent.

Walking on softer surfaces such as mud, sand or grass also uses more energy than walking on concrete. Every time your foot hits the ground, it creates a small depression so that the leg muscles must work harder to push upwards and forwards for the next step. Walking on cobblestones or rocky ground may have even more benefits.

Physiologists at the Oregon Research Institute have found cobblestone walking lowers blood pressure and improves balance. The uneven surfaces may stimulate acupressure points on the soles of the feet, regulating blood pressure. Because it is challenging, it will also burn more calories.

Walking styles

Think walking is boring? Then try these alternatives:

  • Nordic walking — Nordic walking, which uses ski-like poles, has proven benefits. Professor John Pocari, an exercise physiologist at the University of Wisconsin, who has studied its effects, says using walking poles forces people to pick up their pace and work harder without realizing it.

    “Just the fact that you are using your arms through a greater range of motion than normal means you burn more calories,” says Pocari. On average, people use 20 percent more calories when they use poles. Participants in his studies increased their upper body strength by 40 percent and reduced impact on vulnerable hips, ankles and knees by 26 percent compared with running.

  • Mall walking — Called ‘mallercise’ in the U.S., this was originally devised by doctors, who encouraged cardiac patients to incorporate indoor walking in shopping malls to hasten their rehab.

    “It is a fantastic way to walk as you don’t breathe in toxic car fumes, shopping centers are usually open seven days a week and good weather is guaranteed,” says Knight.

  • Treadmills — Because they are sprung, treadmills offer softer and easier terrain than a hard road, placing less strain on your joints, says Knight. This makes them a good option for people with joint or back problems. The downside is that, on a flat setting, they don’t require the same level of exertion, so set them on a slight incline.

National Step-o-meter Program: This initiative by the British Heart Foundation and the Countryside Agency aims to get everyone walking. Through a GP, practice nurse or health visitor, all NHS patients who sign up to the scheme can borrow a pedometer free to help them keep track of how far they walk each day.

Walking For Weight-Loss by Lucy Knight is published by Kyle Cathie.

One of the most powerful ways to lose weight, stay healthy, and live longer is so shockingly simple, even a toddler can do it. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other… and then keep going, preferably for at least 30 minutes a day, says Melina B. Jampolis, M.D., author of The Doctor on Demand Diet. And whether you decide to lace up your sneakers and walk to work, pair up with a friend, or join a hiking club, walking can do everything from lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of chronic diseases to making your brain sharper and your heart happier.

“Walking is the number one exercise I recommend to most of my patients because it is very easy to do, requires nothing but a pair of tennis shoes, and has tremendous mental and physical benefits,” Dr. Jampolis says. Here’s what you can expect when you start walking for just a half hour every day—that’s less time than it takes to listen to one album on your ear buds!—most days of the week.

1. Walking will improve your mood.

A glass of wine or a square (or three) of dark chocolate can blunt the edge of a rough day—but going for a walk is a zero-calorie strategy that offers the same perk, says Dr. Jampolis.

“Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility,” she says, especially when you’re going for a stroll through some greenery or soaking in a bit of sunlight. This can be particularly helpful during the colder months, when seasonal depression spikes.

Finally, when you make your walks social—you stride with, say, your partner, a neighbor, or a good friend—that interaction helps you feel connected, says Dr. Jampolis, which can make you feel happier.

The Best Walking Shoes of 2020

New Balance 1165 Sneakers zappos.com $92.95 Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20 Sneakers zappos.com $129.95 Vionic Tokyo Sneakers vionicshoes.com $129.95 Allbirds Women’s Wool Runners allbirds.com $95.00

2. It will help you burn calories and lose weight.

This one may seem obvious, but it’s certainly a happy benefit for those who start walking regularly, says Dr. Jampolis. “As you continue to walk, you may notice your pants begin to fit more loosely around your midsection, even if the number on the scale isn’t moving much,” she says. “That’s because regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat.”

Ariel Iasevoli, a personal trainer at Crunch gyms in New York City, adds that walking every day is one of the most effective low-impact ways to mobilize fat and positively alter body composition. “Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss, which is particularly important as we get older,” says Iasevoli. The best part? You don’t have to slog it out on a treadmill at the gym to see these benefits. “One of my clients reduced her body fat by 2% in just one month by walking home from work each day, which was just under a mile,” she says.

“One of my clients reduced her body fat by 2% in just one month by walking home from work each day, which was just under a mile,” says one personal trainer.

The secret to walking off the weight: intervals, says Michele Staten, a walking coach and author of Prevention’s Walk Your Way to Better Health. “Interval walking really cranks up your after burn—the calories you burn long after your official walk is over,” Stanten says. To add intervals, warm up for 3 minutes. Then spend 25 minutes alternating between 1 minute of walking almost as fast as you can go and 1 minute of brisk walking (aiming for a 6 on an intensity scale of 1 to 10). Cool down for 2 minutes.

3. Walking can reduce your risk of chronic disease.

The statistics are impressive: The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Researchers at the University of Boulder Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that regular walking lowered blood pressure by as much as 11 points and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20 to 40%. One of the most cited studies on walking and health, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly.

“The physical benefits of walking are well documented,” says Scott Danberg, director of fitness at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa in Miami. For disease prevention, longer walks are key, says Stanten. Include one hour-long walk at least once or twice a week, she says.

4. It can even delay the onset of varicose veins.

As you age, your risk of unsightly varicose veins increases. However, walking is a proven way to prevent those unsightly lines from developing, says Luis Navarro, M.D., founder, and director of The Vein Treatment Center in New York City.

More Walking Tips

“The venous system includes a circulatory section known as ‘the second heart,’ which is formed by muscles, veins, and valves located in our calf and foot,” he explains. “This system works to push blood back up to the heart and lungs—and walking strengthens this secondary circulatory system by strengthening and preserving leg muscle, which boosts healthy blood flow.” If you already suffer from varicose veins, daily walking can help ease related swelling and restlessness in your legs, says Dr. Navarro. “Also, if you are genetically predisposed to have varicose and/or spider veins, walking daily can help delay the onset.”

5. Your digestion will improve by walking more.

If you currently praise coffee for keeping your digestive system going strong, get ready to start thanking your morning walk instead. That’s because a regular walking routine can greatly improve your bowel movements, says Tara Alaichamy, D.P.T., a physical therapist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. “One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk because it utilizes core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system,” she says.

6. And your other goals will start to seem more reachable.

When you become a regular walker, you will have established a regular routine—and when you have a routine, you are more likely to continue with the activity and take on new healthy behaviors. “I firmly believe that walking regularly can help you to accomplish other goals you set your mind to,” says Kim Evans, a personal trainer and daily walker.

7. Walking can help you feel more creative.

Whether you’re feeling stuck at work or you’ve been searching for a solution to a tricky problem, research shows it’s a good idea to get moving: According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,” says Dr. Jampolis.

Walking is even more fun when there’s a cute dog involved! monkeybusinessimagesGetty Images

8. And it can help alleviate joint pain.

Contrary to what you might think, pounding pavement can help improve your range of motion and mobility because walking increases blood flow to tense areas and helps strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints. In fact, research shows that walking for at least 10 minutes a day—or about an hour every week—can stave off disability and arthritis pain in older adults. An April 2019 study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine followed 1,564 adults older than 49 with lower-body joint pain. Participants were asked to to walk for an hour each week. Those who didn’t meet that goal reported that they were walking too slowly and had issues performing their morning routine, while participants who stuck with their walking routine had better mobility.

9. Walking more can boost your immunity.

It turns out that putting one foot in front of the other could help reduce your risk for disease and promote longevity. Research from Arthritis Research & Therapy suggests that high-intensity interval walk training can help improve immune function in older adults with rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disease that affects the joints. A recent study from Chronic Respiratory Disease also shows that walking may help patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) reduce their morbidity and mortality risk. Patients with COPD tend to be overweight or obese because they’re unable to exercise for longer periods of time and may find it hard to breathe during intense movements. But walking can help improve symptoms and lower their risk for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, among other things.

. Get the complete plan! Prevention hearstproducts.com

10. It can even help you live longer!

Ever wonder how people from Blue Zones are able to live to 100? Their secret to a longer and healthier life involves walking and getting outside. A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that adults between the ages of 70 and 90 who left the house and were physically active lived longer than those who didn’t. Staying active also helps you stay connected to loved ones and friends who can provide emotional support, which is especially important as you age.

11. And last but not least, you’ll sleep better at night.

If you work out regularly, you know that you’ll sleep better at night. That’s because sleep naturally boosts the effects of melatonin, the sleep hormone. A 2019 study from Sleep found that postmenopausal women who do light to moderate intensity physical activity snooze better at night than those who are sedentary. Walking also helps reduce pain and stress, which can cause sleep disturbances.

Like what you just read? You’ll love our magazine! Go here to subscribe. Don’t miss a thing by downloading Apple News here and following Prevention. Oh, and we’re on Instagram too.

How to Get in Shape Just By Walking

Here is some good news for people who don’t like to work out. You’re doing it every time you walk. Nobody thinks of this aerobic activity as an exercise because more than 7 billion people do it daily and it’s not hard. So how could something so easy, low-impact, simple, accessible and, for the most part, enjoyable actually be good for us?

No amount of walking will help you get in shape unless you change your diet from junk to healthy food. Once you make that wise choice, the rest will follow. A study from the University of Utah basically proved that people are made to walk. Researchers had different athletes run in different styles while measuring their oxygen levels at all times. The result was that walking – not running – was most efficient way to stay in shape and lose weight while being easiest on your body.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. Mathematically, that’s 22 minutes a day or 30 minutes five days a week. This is the minimum amount of time you should brisk walk if your goal is to maintain your weight. The new minimum is 250 minutes a week if you want to lose a few extra pounds. Walk for half an hour a day for maximum effect. As is the case with every workout, your body will adapt. You will eventually need to increase the intensity or mileage to achieve the same or better results.

Walk Well

Losing about 10 pounds in one month by eating better and walking more is completely realistic, but you have to know how to “promenade” well. When you think of fitness walking, imagine standing tall. Good posture is where it all starts. Straight back, head forward and swinging arms. Heel-to-toe walking is most efficient. Use your abs and hip flexors to move the legs forward. The best speed is usually just a little slower than when you are about to break into a jog.

Speed

Start your walking routine at a moderate speed – about 140 steps a minute. Increase to a brisk pace after a couple of miles. Try speed walking, too. It’s a great aerobic workout that focuses on your legs and also boosts your cardiovascular strength. Finish a mile in 14 minutes or less. Don’t forget to swing your arms with each step.

Try a little more challenging program when you get comfortable with the speed. Do an interval walk. Complete 3.5 miles in 40 minutes by walking at an easy, quick, as-fast-as-you-can, and brisk speed a few minutes at a time. Walk at a steady pace if your goal is to build stamina. Finish three miles in about 45 minutes. For endurance, you should be able to finish four miles in no more than an hour at a speed of about 135 steps a minute. You’ll have to increase the tempo or the mileage as you become more fit.

Add weights

If you want to boost your metabolism, you must build muscle. That can only happen if you do resistance training. So grab a few light weights – 2.5-pound dumbbells, for example – and do bicep curls as you walk. You can also add some exercises for the triceps.

As you continue to make your walking workout more challenging, do something different after every lap on the treadmill or before every speed change. Good options include burpees, jumping jacks and squats.

Take the stairs

This easy trick cannot be stressed enough. Twenty minutes on a Stairmaster can equal more than half an hour on a treadmill. You should at least take the stairs going up to your floor at work. A quick walk up and down a few times, followed by 15-25 jumping jacks, is a great cardio drill to boost your health. Bonus: Your glutes are benefitting greatly.

Walking is an exercise; doing more of it will undoubtedly lead to soreness. Don’t forget to stretch. (No static stretching before working out!) This is the most neglected part of any workout routine but it’s also one of the most important ones. You just walked for an hour. Stretching for 10 minutes is not going to kill you.

More readings:

Why do you stop losing weight (and what to do then)

The Best Things to Do to Look Unbelievably Fit and Fabulous Over 50

17 Tricks to Quickly Chase the Blues Away

Walk More Than a Marathon in 30 Days

Walking is a great way to get in shape. It’s free, low-impact, simple to do, and doesn’t require any fancy equipment or gym space. You can follow this progressive plan on a treadmill or outdoors (or both) to reach your goal.

Below is your suggested training schedule, but be sure to listen to your body during your workouts. If a recommended workout is too intense, or too many miles, scale it back to meet your body’s needs. And, if you feel like you can do more, feel free to add mileage or extend your workout as needed. This entire program will have you logging more than 26.2 miles (that’s 50,000 steps!) by the end of your four-week plan. If you’re not sure how do figure out your mileage for your outdoor walks, check out Mapmyfitness.com’s ‘map a route’ option to find out exactly how many miles your planned path will take you.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5
Monday

Steady pace walk:

45 minutes

Steady pace walk:

45 minutes

Steady pace walk:

45 minutes

Steady pace walk:

45 minutes

Steady pace walk:

45 minutes

Tuesday

Cardio cross-training:

20 to 45 minutes

Cardio cross-training:

20 to 45 minutes

Cardio cross-training:

20 to 45 minutes

Cardio cross-training:

20 to 45 minutes

Cardio cross-training:

20 to 45 minutes

Wednesday

Power interval walk:

45 minutes

Power interval walk:

45 minutes

Power interval walk:

45 minutes

Power interval walk:

45 minutes

Thursday
Strength training Strength training Strength training Strength training
Friday
Core training Core training Core training Core training
Saturday

Endurance walk:

60 minutes

(aim to complete 4 to 5 miles)

Endurance walk:

60 minutes

(aim to complete 5 to 6 miles)

Endurance walk:

60 minutes

(aim to complete 5 to 6 miles)

Endurance walk:

60 minutes

(aim to complete 5 to 7 miles)

Sunday
Rest day Rest day Rest day Rest day

The Marathon Plan Breakdown:

Pace Recommendations: You can measure your pace during your walks in a couple of different ways: with a pedometer (counting steps per minute), with time (how long it takes you to walk a mile) or miles per hour (if you are using a treadmill). For this plan, we recommend using the following guidelines to determine your varying paces: “moderate pace” (130-135 steps per minute, 15-17 minute mile, 3.5-4 mph) and “brisk pace” (136-141 steps per minute, 13-14 minute mile, 4.1-4.6 mph).

Core Training: A strong core can help support your spine during your walks and may help improve your posture. Try this core training workout, or put together four or five moves of your own using our workout builder tool (using exercises from “tight abs” and “shapely back”).

Cardio Cross Train: Do 20-45 minutes of another form cardio exercise, other than walking. Cycling, swimming or dancing are all great options.

Power Interval Walk (45 Minutes, approx 3.5 miles): Follow a 45-minute, fat burning interval walking routine to help improve your speed and endurance. And, as you become more fit, aim to increase your mileage in the same amount of time.

Steady Pace Walk (45 Minutes, approx. 3 miles): The goal for this walk is to build stamina. After a five-minute warm up at an easy pace, maintain a moderate pace (130-135 steps per minute, 15-17 minute mile, 3.5-4 mph) and then complete your walk with a five minute cool down at an easy pace. And, as you become more fit, aim to increase your mileage in the same amount of time.

Endurance Walk (60 Minutes, approx 4 miles): The goal for this walk is stamina, and aerobic base building. After a five-minute warm up at an easy pace, try to keep a strong moderate (130-135 steps per minute, 15-17 minute mile, 3.5-4 mph) pace for the duration of this walk. Allow for a five-minute cool down, walking at an easy pace, to finish your walking session for the day. As you become more fit, aim to increase your mileage in the same amount of time.

Flexibility Recommendations: Walking all those miles are going to create some tightness in your body, so it’s more important than ever to stretch! Spend about 10-15 minutes stretching on most days of the week, ideally after you have completed a workout. You can follow this routine or create your own.

Rest Day: It’s important to take time off from training to allow your body to rest. So spend some time doing other types of movement you enjoy, such as taking an easy bike ride, a gentle yoga class, or simply resting.

Strength Training: It’s important to build total body strength. Aim to work your entire body, and as many muscle groups together at the same time during your sessions. Try this total body toning workout or create your own with our workout builder tool.

Can brisk walking get you in shape?

Not all physical activity is created equal. Highly strenuous workouts can affect the body’s stress response, causing cortisol to be released. But this doesn’t mean that you should refrain from getting fitter, healthier and stronger – it just means you should do it at a pace that’s right for you, especially if you’re relatively new to exercise.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by incorporating walking into your daily routine, slowly building intensity and duration as you go. You’ll be surprised at just how much brisk walking can help you get in shape.

Here are other daily activities that burn calories and keep you active without exercise.

What are the benefits of walking?

● Helps you maintain a healthy weight

● Tones your quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower leg and even upper body

● Fights dementia

● Cuts the risk of dying from cancer

● Improves heart health

● Naturally boosts your mood

● Increases vitamin D intake to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy

● Cuts the risk of early death by 15%, according toPublic Health England (PHE)

How much walking is needed to get in shape?

What strenuous means differs from person, so go gradually, especially if you’re starting your fitness routine from a completely sedentary lifestyle.

At the bare minimum, you should be walking for 150 minutes at a moderate-intense pace, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s two-and-a-half hours of walking a week, which you can break down into just 22 minutes per day, every day.

If you want to see noticeable weight loss and toning from your walking efforts, aim to be hitting around 150 to 250 minutes of walking every week. For significant fat-torching, increase your walk-time to 250 weekly minutes.

How to start walking more

There are plenty of ways you can sneak a daily walk into your routine. From simple swaps to gradually learning new habits, here are some of the most efficient tricks to supercharge your steps:

● Get off the bus a stop earlier on the way home from work

● Take the stairs whenever possible

● Go for a brisk lunch walk

● Actually walk over to talk to your co-workers rather than emailing them

● Park further away from your destination

● Hold standing meetings

If you find walking boring, take a dog out. Borrow your friends or sign up for a local dog-walking scheme. Hiking is another way to make walking fun – some of the most beautiful places in the world are hiking hotspots. Take the whole family!

Walking helps get you in shape without aggravating your joints or releasing the stress hormone cortisol in the same way running does. It also raises your heart-rate slowly (rather than sending it crashing through your chest) which makes it easier on the heart and helps your blood flow.

How to walk well

Maximise the benefits of walking by making sure you’re doing it properly. If you want to make walking a moderate-intense activity, you’ll find your brisk optimum pace at a point which is 10% slower than the pace you’d normally break into a jog. Here are a few other tips to walk well. Remember them next time you’re strolling:

1. Strike with your heel, then roll through the foot and push off with your toes. Keep the arch of your foot lifted while you do it.

2. Straighten out your spine, nice and tall.

3. Keep your pelvis stabilised.

4. Bend your arms at 90 degree angles and swing.

You can take your walking (or running) indoors and make the most of it at the Club. Join Holmes Place now.

How walking can change your body shape

By “walking well”, however, you power yourself around all day using muscles in your bottom, midriff and the backs of your thighs. This brings dramatic, sustainable results.

In the first session we look like something from Monty Python’s Ministry of Funny Walks, but by the last we are striding around Champneys like Amazons.

Jill Warwick, an ex-police officer in her fifties who has done the London Marathon and Great North Run, joined Hall’s online ”walk active club” seven weeks ago: “I’ve dropped nearly two dress sizes and lost more pounds in seven weeks than I ever did with running. I didn’t lose weight or change shape half as quickly as I have with this.”

Several group members are overweight: one, in her sixties, is recovering from sciatica, another has arthritis in her knees, but all find they can ”walk well”. Hall offers a morale-boosting tale of a man in his seventies who came to a talk she gave on a cruise ship.

With a pronounced stoop and two walking sticks, he could only make it a quarter of the way around the deck. Fourteen days later, ”walking well”, he could do two laps of the promenade and barely needed sticks.

I live with a bouncy dog and three young children and consider myself fairly active despite my desk job. The pedometer informs me, however, that often I only walk about 5,000 steps a day. Like most of the British population I am thus officially “sedentary” and at increased risk of 20 known diseases including diabetes, cancer of the breast and colon, and osteoporosis.

Upping this to 7,500 steps or more involves small but conscious changes: a scoot around the block before morning coffee, the long route to school; 10 more minutes with the dog. And it seems to work. I have lost a pound in a week, my bottom and thighs ache and I feel energised. All that evangelical zeal suddenly makes sense.

  • Walk Off Weight weekends at Champneys start from £295 per person (08703 300300). See www.joannahall.com

How to walk well

  • Strike with the heel, roll through the foot and push off with the toes, keeping the foot arch lifted. This takes practice
  • Stabilise the pelvis: imagine a glass of Pimm’s is resting on each hip
  • Bend the arms at 90 degrees and swing
  • Keep the spine tall
  • Find a brisk optimum pace – 10 per cent slower than the point at which you’d break into a jog

Walking for health


Exercise

Staying motivated

Make it a habit

The easiest way to walk more is to make walking a habit.

Think of ways to include walking in your daily routine.

Examples include:

  • walking part of your journey to work
  • walking to the shops
  • using the stairs instead of the lift
  • leaving the car behind for short journeys
  • walking the kids to school
  • doing a regular walk with a friend
  • going for a stroll with family or friends after dinner

If you live in a city, Walkit has an interactive walk planner to help you find the best walking route.

Each suggested route includes your journey time, calorie burn, step count and carbon saving.

Visorando uses a tool that can be used for planning both urban and non-urban walks.

Listen to music

Walking while listening to music or a podcast can take your mind off the effort.

It can also get you into a rhythm and help you walk faster.

You’ll be surprised at how fast the time goes when you’re walking to your favourite tunes.

Use the Active 10 app

Active 10 allows you to track how much and how fast you have walked.

To keep things interesting, it gives you goals to work towards and rewards your progress.

Mix it up

Add variety to your walks. You do not have to travel to the countryside to find a rewarding walk.

Towns and cities offer interesting walks, including parks, heritage trails, canal towpaths, riverside paths, commons, woodlands, heaths and nature reserves.

For inspiring walks, visit Walk Unlimited.

For wheelchair users, visit Walks with Wheelchairs, and for parents with buggies, visit Walks with Buggies.

Join a walking group

Walking in a group is a great way to start walking, make new friends and stay motivated.

Ramblers organises group walks for health, leisure and as a means of getting around for people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of fitness.

Its website has details of many locally organised walks in towns and cities, as well as the countryside.

The UK’s 15 national parks run free guided walks for the whole family during the holidays.

45 minutes of walking

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *