I started walking to lose weight because I was seriously overweight. After a house move and change of doctor, I was horrified to be weighed as part of my registration appointment and completely mortified when I was told that I was obese with high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. I needed to get moving to shift those excess pounds and I needed a healthy eating plan. Pronto!
8 Reasons to Start Walking to Lose Weight
Because I was very overweight, I didn’t want to make things worse and injure myself with high impact aerobic exercise and I couldn’t afford an expensive gym membership or fancy workout gear.
Ok – I just didn’t want to be seen in gym kit – my body was not ready for lycra.
So I looked into about the health benefits of walking to lose weight. It’s free, low impact and I like fresh air! It was time to ditch the heels, put on the flatties and hit the road!
I chose walking as my ‘starter’ exercise because it has so many other health benefits.
1. Walking is good for your heart
According to The Stroke Association, a brisk 30 minute walk every day would help to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent.
2. Walking lowers the risk of other disease
Walking regularly was going to cut my risk of type 2 diabetes by about 60% and would slash my risk of developing cancer of the colon, breast and uterus by about 20%.
3. Walking is great for weight loss
A gentle walk for 30 minutes at 2 mph would burn 75 calories. If I stepped the pace up to 3 mph I’d burn 99 calories and 4 mph would burn 150 calories (about 2 chocolate digestives worth of flab and I’ve eaten a lot of those!).
4. Walking prevents dementia
I’m not an oldie yet, but it was good to know that walking at least six miles a week means older folk are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as the years pass by.
5. Walking tones up legs, bums and bellies
Now we’re talking! A good walk helps to define calves, quads and hamstrings while lifting your bum muscles! In good old Yorkshire where we have lots of hills, the muscle workout is even better.
6. Walking boosts vitamin D
Getting outdoors for fresh air and moderate exposure to sunshine (with sunscreen on!) is important to boost bone health and a healthy immune system. Really important in Yorkshire winters!
7. Walking gives you energy
Walking is a brilliant circulation booster. It increases the oxygen supply to every cell in your body, helping me to feel energised and clear-headed. I’ve a deal with myself to get out of the office at least 3 times a week to walk round the block twice. It makes me much more efficient in the afternoons.
8. Walking has the feel good factor
Exercise boosts your mood! Bupa UK’s Clinical Director for mental health, Pablo Vandenabeele says: “We know that physical exercise, such as going for a walk, can be good for your mental health in many ways. To name a few, it helps you to sleep better, fends off anxiety, boosts self-esteem and generally reduces levels of stress.”
All fired up with this information, I ditched the car for my daily commute and started to walk. It’s a brisk 15/20 minute walk to bus #1 then a 5 minute sprint through the city to catch my freebie shuttle bus to the office, then I repeat in the opposite direction on the way home. That’s about 45 minutes of exercise 5 days a week I just didn’t get before.
It’s free, it makes me feel good, my legs are in the best shape of my life and the pounds have been falling off. What’s not to like?