Can Walking Really Help You Lose Weight and Become Healthier?
You bet. Walking can promote weight loss and overall better health and it’s easy to start and there is little or no cost to begin a walking program. In fact, it’s as easy as walking in your neighborhood or going out for a walk on your lunch break.
What can you expect to lose using walking as your cardio program? It will depend on your metabolism, your height, weight and how many calories you consume in a day. The amount of calories you will burn when you walk will also depend on how long you walk and at what pace you walk. For example: A daily 10 minute walk probably won’t help you lose weight but walking for an hour, 5 days a week, at a quick pace (2-4 mph) will help you burn a lot of calories.
Not only can you expect to expend calories from a walking program, you will most likely will see an improvement in your overall health. You’ll feel better and have a lot more energy.
Everyday Activities That Burn Calories (Yes, they really can!)
According to Kimberly Lummus, MS, RD, Texas Dietetic Association media representative and public relations coordinator for the Austin Dietetic Association in Austin, Texas, in 30 minutes a person who weighs 150 pounds can burn the following number of calories: (everday Health)
Raking leaves = 147 calories
Gardening or weeding = 153 calories
Moving (packing and unpacking) = 191 calories
Vacuuming = 119 calories
Cleaning the house = 102 calories
Playing with the kids (moderate activity level) = 136 calories
Mowing the lawn = 205 calories
Strolling = 103 calories
Sitting and watching TV = 40 calories
Biking to work (on a flat surface) = 220 calories
Now, couple those everyday activities with some real exercise and you have a chance to burn calories, get healthy and improve your health numbers.
Setting a Realistic Exercise Plan
We know that adding exercise and physical activity to your life is one of the healthiest things you can do at any age. But some people fear that it might be too late to start exercising or
that they don't know how to get started with a workout plan.
First of all, Lighten Up Nashua recommends that you set realistic exercise goals for your level and experience. It's great to be enthusiastic about physical activity, but slowly build up to a solid workout plan, especially if you haven't been active for a long time. Even moderate activity can provide health benefits, but doing the wrong exercises or doing too much too soon, can cause injury or muscle soreness and cause you to quit exercising.
Here's what Lighten Up Nashua recommends:
Determine your individual goals.
Example: I'd like to do 30 minutes of walking a day in 4 weeks’ time. This is a realistic and attainable goal and easily measured. By recording your walking minutes every day, you can slowly increase minutes until you reach your 30 minute goal. By specifying that you’ll reach your goal in 4 weeks, you give a definite time-period to work with.
Break up your activity time:
You don't have to all of your 30 minutes of activity at once, you can break up your sessions into three 10-minute chunks, as long as they total 30 minutes by the end of the day.
Exercise already part of your daily routine?
If you’re already doing 30 to 45 minutes of physical activity most days, you might consider increasing your activity time, or intensify the level of your workout.
Bottom Line: Time to get moving!
Which Workout Is Right For You?
It is important to select types of exercise that you can physically handle and continue to maintain after you’ve lost those extra pounds. Weight management depends on you being regularly active and sticking with it for the long term.
Quick tips for choosing the right exercise for you
- Choose exercises that you enjoy or try one that might look interesting and fun to you.
- To prevent boredom from doing the same exercise routine each and every day, vary your exercise routine by choosing more than one type of workout.
- Alter the intensity of your exercise workout. For example: you might dance-your-heart out in a Zumba class one day and then the next day, take an extra-long walk.
- Set aside a designated time to exercise every day. If exercise becomes part of your routine, you are more likely to make it a permanent part of your life.
- Choose exercise options that are available to you. In other words; don’t choose to take a class at the gym that may conflict with your daily schedule. You will get discouraged and possibly quit before you really get started.
- If you like competitive workouts, join a sports team at your gym or in your area. You might look forward to the games and forget you are actually exercising.
- If the weather reduces your days outdoors, have an alternative exercise routine available. Make sure you have a couple of exercise DVD’s on hand for a rainy day or utilize the workout videos available here on this page.
It’s important to strengthen your core for everyday tasks as well to develop a flat stomach.
This video can help you make your core stronger.
Here’s A List Of Free Exercise Videos
- Workoutz - Ab exercise videos, arm, chest, triceps, back, total body, yoga, stretch and more that you can play online, download to an ipod or print.
- BodyBuilding – Free strength training instructional videos and workout plans.
- Watergym - Free water aerobics exercise chart and free online video water aerobic exercises.
- SparkPeople – Sign up for free and you’ll have access to; Bootcamp, core, ab, Pilates workouts and more. There’s even a 15-minute desk workout video you can do on your lunch hour! (They also have great recipes and food plans)
- Prevention – They provide you with a number of short “Dance It Off:videos that include HipHop, ballet, jazz and more!
- Eating before you exercise. According to experts at Mayo Clinic, you should fuel your workout by eating. So, if you exercise in the morning that means getting up early enough to eat breakfast or a snack before your workout. But, make sure you allow the appropriate time for your food to digest before you begin exercising. Here are some general rules to follow:
- Large meals. Eat these at least three to four hours before exercising.
- Small meals. Eat these two to three hours before exercising.
- Small snacks. Eat these an hour before exercising.
- Common barriers to exercising. Time, being too tired or thinking exercise is boring are all common barriers. Here are some suggestions to overcome these barriers.
- Too little time to workout? Stop making excuses and come up with simple solutions to add a little exercise to your day, like getting up a little earlier, going out for a brief walk at lunch or instead of sitting at the movies on a Saturday afternoon, go for a bike ride with friends and family.
- Exercise is boring. This is a very common problem and excuse for not exercising but changing up your exercise routine by:
- Dancing with friends instead of walking on the treadmill
- Learning how to strength train with weights
- Challenge yourself to walk or run a 5k race in your community
- Create an exercise group in your neighborhood or at work
- Self conscious about how you look exercising.
- If you're uncomfortable exercising around others, go solo at first. Try an exercise video. Or consider investing in a stationary bicycle or a treadmill.
- Remember that as you become fitter and more comfortable exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.
- Too tired or no energy to exercise? Without exercise, you have a tendency to feel drained but if you exercise it can increase your energy. Just get started!
- Setting exercise goals: Map out a walking or running route and set your goals to go a little farther every day. Check out our link to “Map Your Route”.
Below is a list of some fun activities you can try out as a beginner
or improve your skills if you are already familiar with them.
Advantages: Inexpensive to get started. All you need is a smooth, safe path to skate on. So, that means you probably can try out some new scenery practically every time you put them on, which will help keep things more fun and motivating. Make sure you wear protective gear as well as a helmet.
Calorie Burning Potential: A 150 pound person can burn 563 calories in 30 minutes!
Advantages: You get to stay cool while being active. Even beginners, who can’t “officially” swim strokes, can perform water activities that keep them fit. Many swimming pools/clubs offer water-aerobics that can tone your muscles as well as burn calories.
Calorie Burning Potential: A 150 pound person can burn 360 calories in 30 minutes!
Advantages: Great non-contact sport. Burn calories and stay fit while having fun with your friends. Ultimate Frisbee allows you to use some of your competitive juices and get you moving outside.
Calorie Burning Potential: A 150 pound person can burn 360 calories in 30 minutes!
Advantages: All you need is a bike. You can cycle most anywhere. It is an appropriate activity for beginners and you can continually advance with your workout. It’s a low impact workout. If you want a more competitive ride, you can join a bike club in your area and train for a bike race.
Calorie Burning Potential: A 150 pound person can burn 380 calories in 30 minutes!
Here’s an interval treadmill workout that will help you maximize your workout and get better results.
How to Burn Calories Faster
Now that you've made the commitment to lose weight and get healthier, we're here to help you burn those calories faster!
Did you know that people with more muscle and less fat generally have a faster metabolic rate, while people with more fat and less muscle generally have a slower metabolic rate? So, that means you have to increase your muscle to fat ratio in order to increase your metabolic rate. And, you guessed it, that means you have to exercise! But, before we talk about exercise, let's find out what "metabolism" means?
According to WebMd, "Metabolism" refers to your body's systems for using or converting energy.
This includes breathing, digestion, the building of muscle, and the storage of fat, circulation of blood -- anything that's part of your body's systems for converting energy into an activity you need to live."
Now we're ready to help you burn more calories, faster! Here are a number of ways to increase muscle in order to increase your metabolism to burn more calories:
- Build muscle with this FREE basic strength video - this video will not only increase your muscle but will sculpt your body as well!
Click here for this muscle building workout.
- Step-by-Step Weight Training Guide from Mayo Clinic that walks you through a multitude of strength-training exercises that will build muscle the right way.
Click here for this strength-training routine.
|Examples of various activities and how many calories they can burn:
(Calculated with180 pound person exercising for a duration of 30 minutes)
Basketball - calories burned: 245
Bicycling – calories burned: 145
Dancing – calories burned: 225
Pilates – calories burned: 245
Soccer – calories burned: 286
Swimming – calories burned: 245
Tennis – calories burned: 327
|Check out MapWalk. With this tool you can map out a course by putting in your starting point and clicking to add your route that you’d like to walk or run. This online program will figure out the distance of your course, calories that you will burn and you can email it to a friend.
Walk Whenever Possible
- Walk instead of drive, whenever you can
- Walk your children to school
- Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator
- Take a family walk after dinner
- Replace a Sunday drive with a Sunday walk
- Go for a half-hour walk instead of watching TV
- Get off the bus a stop early, and walk
- Park farther from the store and walk
- Make a Saturday morning walk a family habit
- Walk briskly in the mall
- Take the dog on longer walks
- Go up hills instead of around them
Click here for more physical activity tips.
Is Exercise Really Important For Weight-Loss?
Experts all agree that exercise is important to weight-loss. Sure, anyone can lose a lot of weight if you cut way back on calories without exercising, but physical activity is the key to maintaining your weight-loss. Because no one can sustain an extremely low-calorie diet forever, you are more likely to gain your weight back without exercising. Read more…
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