Walking for Weight Loss, Fitness and Wellness

Walking for Weight Loss

Fifty is the new thirty, and walking is the new running. Everyone seems to be lacing up their trendy athletic shoes and slipping into their coordinated workout gear. Everywhere you look, people are flashing Fitbits, Apple watches, and Garmins. We are hitting the roads in every part of the world; we walk to work, walk for fun, and walk the dog. To keep up with how far we go, we count our steps, measure our miles, and, most importantly, count our calories.

The million-dollar question: Does walking contribute to weight loss?

Walking with HeadphonesIn searching for information for this article about walking for weight loss, it was difficult to find any definitive study showing a direct correlation between walking and weight loss for any age, including seniors.I turned to a dietician who said studies show that exercise alone is not enough to lose weight or maintain weight. In fact, studies show diet is more important. There are so many benefits of walkingthat it seems wrong to pin down just one good reason to do so. Research shows that walking is an excellent weight-bearing exercise to decrease the risk of osteoporosis. It gets us moving, so our joints stay looser, and it gets the oxygen pumping, the blood circulating, and the mind-clearing.Social-emotional benefits abound with walking too. It can be a time to reflect or process, and modern technology allows us to use our walking time to listen to a book or music. It’s a great neutral zone for heart-to-heart talks with family or friends, or it’s a perfect way to meet your neighbors and see your community in a different way.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All.

Woman looking at fitness watchI am an avid exerciser. I walk, hike, run, play soccer, swim, AND I now wear an Apple watch to “keep track” of my workouts. I’d never given calories in vs. calories out much thought, but with my new technology, it was more “in my face” on a daily basis. What I’ve learned is that my 250-pound male friends can burn more calories walking across the room than I can by walking a mile. That’s a little frustrating when you are just looking at the numbers, and I think that would make anyone a little crazy, so you have to look at it logically. A small person does not require as much energy to move.Common sense tells us if we burn more calories than we take in, we’ll lose weight. That’s a pretty simple theory, and it’s one that we aren’t always diligent about. We need to step up on our basic thinking and keep in mind that we need to be vigilant with tracking our diets and exercise.We also need to find reasons for doing so. The benefits of walking are clear – walking does help with weight loss, and it can help keep you in shape. We just need to remember how walking for weight loss works according to basic science, including calories in and calories out. In oversimplified science terms, your body has to be deprived of glucose, which comes from all sugar sources. Once that happens, it will begin to seek fat cells for energy which will lead to weight loss.

Get Moving

Senior Couple JoggingVarying pace and distance change the way we burn calories too. Faster and farther will burn more calories, meaning the more you move and the harder you work, the more energy you use. Eventually, this will cause higher calorie expenditure and potential weight loss. With all of this, we need to keep in mind that losing weight seems simple theoretically. However, it is actually very complex when you begin to factor individual circumstances such as hormones, genetics, and other health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. Initial body mass plays a role too. The bottom line is that walking contributes to weight loss and staying in shape both directly and indirectly. Throw on your shoes, add a fitness app and grab a friend or your earphones, and hit the road on the journey to walking for weight loss and fitness.

Top Tools to Get Fit

Apple Watch Series 7 GPS
Apple Watch Series 7 GPS, $349
Sky Walk Running Shoe
Sky Walk Walking Shoe, $79.99
Fitbit Versa 3 Health and Fitness Smartwatch
Fitbit Versa 3, $192.40
Gaiam Hand Weights
Gaiam Hand Weights, $12.98
Foxelli Trekking Poles
Foxelli Collapsible Lightweight Hiking Poles, $39.97
Reflective Vest
Chiwo Reflective Vest (2 Pack), $12.89

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