Are you trying to begin an exercise program for weight loss, but you’re just not sure where to start? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the wide variety of fitness options. Zumba, Pilates, Crossfit – it can be hard to keep track of them all! On top of that, finding the time to add a fitness class to your busy schedule can be a challenge. Luckily, there’s a simple exercise routine that you already know how to do.
Made for WalkingIt may seem too good to be true, but the simple act of walking is actually one of the best exercise options for weight loss. Research shows that walking has a host of weight-loss benefits that can keep your waistline trim and take care of your body in the process.
- Reduced Impact – Most intense workouts are high-impact. Running, weight-lifting, and other strenuous activities can put a lot of pressure on your muscles and joints. For people with disorders like arthritis, that can lead to increased pain. Walking, on the other hand, is relatively low-impact compared to other types of exercise. It also strengthens the muscles surrounding your joints, leading to decreased pain in those areas.
- Fewer Cravings – Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood. They can also curb your cravings for sugar and carbs. These foods make your brain release dopamine, known as the ‘happy’ chemical, but they also can contribute to weight gain. When you try walking to feel better, instead of reaching for that box of cookies, you can make your brain produce these feel-good chemicals without the added calories.
- Calorie Burn – Walking can burn approximately 120 calories per half hour of activity. Try walking at a faster pace for a higher amount of calories burned, or try intervals of changing speeds to facilitate your metabolism.
Perfect TimingThere are a few factors to consider when taking a stroll. One is the time at which you decide to exercise. While any physical activity at any time is much better than none at all, it may behoove you to take your walk later in the day. Studies have shown that afternoon and evening exercise can help you metabolize your last meals of the day more quickly, leading to a faster metabolism overall. A speedier metabolism will help your body burn fat more efficiently.
Diet MattersIt’s essential to remember your diet when engaging in a new fitness routine. When combined with a regular walking regimen, a low-carb diet can help you lose weight faster. This type of diet reduces your insulin levels, which in turn leads to an accelerated rate of weight loss.
Location, Location, LocationOne of the best things about walking? You can do it nearly anywhere. If the weather isn’t cooperating, walking on a treadmill is a great way to get your exercise in. If the sun is shining, even better; you can try going for a stroll around your neighborhood or go for a hike through one of Tucson’s nearby parks. Take in the natural beauty of Arizona at Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, or Madera Canyon. While you immerse yourself in nature, you can take deep breaths or engage in an active mindful meditation to reduce stress. Elevated levels of stress can lead to hormone fluctuations, which can wreak havoc on your diet. Walking in nature is a great way to destress your system and burn calories at the same time.
Enhancing Your WalkWalking is already a great workout, but as you start feeling more comfortable walking, you may want to start enhancing your workout with the right accessories and practices. Stretch bands or light weights can be a great accessory to help you build upper arm strength. If you want to focus on your core, you can alternate squeezing your gluteal muscles, upper abdomen, and lower abdomen during your walk to support these muscles and build a stronger core.
Losing weight is easier with a dedicated support system. At WildBerryMD in Tucson, AZ, our expert staff of medical weight loss doctors and coaches is committed to helping you achieve your weight loss goals. To schedule an appointment, call 520-762-1557 or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.