Many people do not know that walking is one of the best exercises we can do on a daily basis, as this simple routine can have many health benefits. Most adults do not walk at all and this figure is increasing as time goes by, as the development of technology has made chores easier but less healthy.
Walking is one of the best ways to start an exercise routine. Benefits such as exercising muscles and burning calories are more concentrated when we dedicate ourselves to walking and gradually increase the pace.
With the arrival of spring and good weather we are looking for the most effective way to lose weight. We can get there walking, but we must take into account some keys to make that path as straight and comfortable as possible.
In addition to aesthetics, we must maintain our muscle mass also for our health since they are closely related. Adequate levels of strength and muscle mass correlate with lower risk of metabolic diseases.
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Walk enough to create an energy deficit
We can walk 1,000 steps a day and lose weight, or walk 25,000 steps and not lose weight. It all depends on one of the laws of thermodynamics: energy is neither created nor destroyed, it is transformed.
That is why more than the number of daily steps, what matters is that at the end of the day, and in the weekly and monthly summary, we spend more energy than we ingest with food.
Therefore, the greater the number of daily steps, the greater the energy expenditure and the easier it will be to create this caloric deficit.
Replenish energy with a high-protein diet.
Protein-rich foods are highly satiating, which together with a high number of daily steps, helps us to consume fewer calories by being less hungry.
Protein is also the most important macronutrient for the maintenance of our muscle mass. It becomes even more important when we want to lose weight, since in stages of caloric deficit we must increase our protein intake to retain as much muscle mass as possible.
If we lose a lot of muscle mass in our weight loss stage, our scales will show us fewer kilos each week, but at an aesthetic level we may look “fat thin”. That is, we look thinner, but much of that weight has been due to a loss of muscle mass.
Combine walking with strength training
In addition to consuming an appropriate amount of protein and being in a slight caloric deficit, strength training will be our ally in achieving our goal of losing weight while retaining as much muscle mass as possible.
We have already mentioned how important it is to retain our muscle mass. Therefore, do not base your physical exercise on walking alone, but add at least three strength training sessions per week.
Walking will therefore be interesting to create that energy deficit, while strength training will be vital so that the weight we lose is as much fat as possible.
Set one day a week to walk in nature or rediscover your city.
If it has been a long time since you discovered new corners of your city, or if you have a natural park nearby, you can set a day of disconnection. This way you can walk for several hours at a time with extra motivation.
It happens for example when we travel and at the end of the day we look at our mobile or our smart watch and it tells us that we have walked 20km. And days later we see how day after day we have broken records of steps. But we walk several hours without even realizing it.
In our routine we can’t do that on a daily basis, but we can select a day of the week where we can walk through entire neighborhoods of our city, or escape to a nearby natural spot.
In this way we will add steps and kilometers to our weekly and monthly count, and that will help greatly to achieve weight loss in the medium and long term.
Use the pomodoro technique at work.
With an active job as a waiter, bricklayer or a harvesting job in the fields, the pomodoro technique is not necessary. But if we spend the eight hours of our work sitting in an office, a cab or any sedentary job, this technique will be vital to lose weight.
It is very simple and consists of establishing pomodoros or blocks of time according to our disposition and preference. An example can be to establish a pomodoro of one hour, in which 50 minutes will be of maximum concentration at work without moving from the chair, and ten minutes of active pause.
In those ten minutes you can walk up and down the stairs, go to a coffee shop to order a coffee to go, walk the dog, or any activity in which you are walking. That way, at the end of the eight-hour day, you will have done 80 minutes of activity (ten minutes per hour).
Shop several days a week and/or in several different stores.
Time constraints are a factor to consider when adding daily steps. Staying active with mandatory tasks such as grocery shopping will give us that extra motivation that we may miss out on if we just go for a walk without an associated purpose.
Because we have to take in fewer calories than we expend, our fridge and pantry should be occupied by perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables. Many processed foods and all the ultra-processed ones hold up for a long time in the pantry, but it is not advisable for them to be there.
That is why a key that combines a diet to lose weight, with the increase of steps would be to go out to buy fresh meat to the butcher, fresh fish to the fishmonger, fruit and vegetables to the greengrocer, etc.. It depends on our lifestyle whether we do it on the same day, or choose two or three days a week to go to each establishment.
Mix intermittent fasting with walking to attack that stubborn fat
Intermittent fasting is an interesting strategy for weight loss, but normal calorie restriction in the form of a regular diet is just as effective at this goal. However, if you are looking to lose that last layer of fat called stubborn fat it can be helpful to go for a walk on an empty stomach.
In the case of being quite overweight or obese we should not be so fine-tuned as it is not necessary. But in those cases in which we already have a low percentage of fat and we want to eliminate that stubborn fat, going for a walk on an empty stomach can be more effective than walking after eating.
It is due to a complex physiological mechanism of adrenergic receptors that act as disco bouncers and let the fat in or out of the cell depending on several factors, one of them is whether we are fasting or not.
It is not a prerequisite, but choosing an intermittent fasting that fits into our lifestyle, and taking advantage of that fasting to do our walk, can be interesting to attack that stubborn fat or last layer of fat.