Walking has long been a valid strategy for weight loss, but not everyone is convinced of its effectiveness. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation regarding this powerful, low-impact form of exercise. Read on to get the facts about walking for weight loss and a plan of how to get started.

First of all, let’s debunk some walking myths.

Myth 1: Walking Is For People Who Can’t Run

This myth is pervasive and hurtful to people who choose to walk instead of run for weight loss. It implies that walking is always inferior, which isn’t the case. Regular walking can be a great workout in its own right. It has been shown to decrease the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and hypertension equal to or better than running.

Myth 2: Walking Isn’t Worth It For Weight Loss

Walking is effective for weight loss, especially if you have a larger amount of weight to lose. Studies have shown that adding walking to a routine helps heavier people lose weight more quickly. In fact, some women can lose as much as 20 pounds within eight weeks of beginning a walking regimen, and men can usually lose even more.

Myth 3: You Only Benefit While You’re Walking

It might seem logical to think that you only reap the benefits of a workout while engaged in that activity, but that isn’t true. Walking can improve your fitness, boost your balance and coordination, and strengthen your muscles and bones, providing benefits far after the walking is done.

Now let’s go through how you can get started with a walking plan.

Set A Step Count

You may have heard that 10,000 steps a day is the magic number, but you don’t need to walk that much right away. The most important thing is to start walking more than you do right now. Shoot for a reasonable step count and increase your goals gradually to help you stay motivated and avoid injury.

Use Intervals

Breaking up your walk into faster and slower sections keeps you from getting bored and boosts your fitness benefits. Studies have found that walkers who mix up their speed lose more weight overall than people who remain slow and steady. Research has also shown that interval walking is better than steady-state walking for managing type 2 diabetes.

Hike Up A Hill

If you’re ready for a little bit of a challenge, opt for a hilly walking route instead of a flat one. Walking uphill raises your heart rate and engages your quads, glutes, and calves. This higher heart rate and muscle engagement let you gain many of the same benefits as running without any additional strain on your knees.

There you have it! Walking is definitely worth it for weight loss. It’s easy to get started and doesn’t require any special equipment or a gym membership.  If you’d like additional advice on walking plans, weight loss, and nutrition, call MediPlan Diet Services today!