Walking For Weight Loss

    Shahnaz Husain

Walking is a great exercise, not only for all round fitness, but also for burning calories and losing weight. In fact, it is more convenient than most other forms of exercising, as it does not need any special or elaborate equipment. All you may need are a comfortable pair of walking shoes. With walking, you also have the advantage of choosing the places where you walk. It may be your local park, or a quiet, picturesque area with less traffic. If you walk on a road that slopes up, you will get more exercise.
Walking is considered an aerobic exercise. It is also a good physical activity, as it exercises all the muscle groups. Walking is not as demanding as other aerobic exercises and therefore, it can be suited to older age groups. Research has also shown that exercises like walking also help in removing stress. This is of vital importance as many health problems are associated with stress. The same can be said of many beauty problems, like acne and hair loss, which can also be related to stress. Walking is one of the best exercises, because it is a low-impact exercise and does not damage the joints and bones.
Needless to say, before you begin any form of exercising, you should consult your doctor and get a “go-ahead.” It is also important to keep in mind that if there is any fatigue or breathlessness, you should stop. It is also recommended that you have a medical check-up and your doctor’s green signal before you resume walking. If you have any illness or medical condition, get your doctor’s clearance before taking up walking or any exercise.
The question always comes up – how long should one walk for results, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Always begin gradually and increase and increase your speed and distance, day by day, as your body gets used to it. Start by walking for 5 minutes, at a comfortable pace, swinging your arms,. Do this twice a day. Within two weeks, you will be able to increase the duration to 10 minutes, twice a day.
To walk “briskly” and really benefit from it, you need to walk for at least half an hour. So, the level you should aim at is a walking speed of 6 kms per hour, and walk for a duration of 30 minutes. You cannot achieve this on Day One. A brisk walk means 115 to 120 paces per minute. This should be your target. If you haven’t been walking at all, you can try to reach this level in 4 to 5 months’ time.
If you walk for 30 minutes at this brisk pace, you will be burning about 100 calories. Brisk walking is good for an efficient metabolism. In fact, we burn up calories not only when we are walking, but also for 20 minutes after we stop. A half-hour brisk walk is said to burn up about 300 calories. However, it must be mentioned here that for losing weight, the program should also include diet control, after consulting a doctor.  Walking also helps in many other medical conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, etc. It also reduces the risks of such diseases. However, the duration of walking should be decided in consultation with your doctor.
It is said that walking continuously at a brisk pace for 30 minutes, covering about 2 kms would help in burning stored fat. If you walk daily, you will derive the benefit of burning more calories and also improving your metabolism.
The ideal way of going about walking to lose weight is to start at a comfortable pace for 5 to 10 minutes. Then do some stretching exercises. Then resume your walk for 30 minutes at a brisk pace. Next, slow down the pace and walk for 5 minutes. End with a few light stretching exercises to cool down.
If you find that you cannot find 30 minutes or more for walking, in your personal schedule, you can walk for short periods, two or three times a day. Walk for 5 minutes at an easy pace and then for 10 minutes, at a brisk pace. Do this twice a day.
If you are walking for weight loss, you should be walking daily.