In a recent survey among urban Indians, walking was the most common physical activity and possibly the most favoured too, because it does not require extra equipment. You literally use only your body to exert yourself and build stamina.
So, we know that walking burns calories that are stored in the body as fat. Then why don’t all morning walkers lose fat? Some remain the same even after years of walking. In all frankness most people go for walks to stay healthy and fit, but the question is – Does walking really help in losing weight?
Walking is healthy for sure but its effectiveness depends on a lot of other factors. Read on to know how to make the most of your morning and evening walks:
- Duration of walking: If you get down to the actual numbers, an average person burns around 4-5 calories per minute during brisk walks. So, 15 minutes of brisk walking burns about 70 calories, which is fewer calories than a slice of bread! To really make a difference, you need to walk for at least 45-60 minutes at a stretch.
- Speed of walking: The faster you move, the more calories you burn per minute. Leisurely walks burn about 3 calories per minute; brisk walking burns almost 50% more. Similarly, jogging would burn another 50% and running even more so.
- Post-walk snacks: Most morning walkers have a habit of treating themselves to snacks like chai-samosa after morning walk, which essentially nullifies your walk. 45 minutes of brisk walking burns 200 calories, whereas a samosa and a cup of chai add back 200-250 calories or more! Better alternatives are fruits or your regular meal.
- Watch your diet: There are many people out there who work out rigorously but don’t lose nearly as much. That’s simply because their calorie intake is more than what they burn. Consider this: an hour of brisk walking burns 250 calories. In terms of food calories, that’s two slices of bread and an egg. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. So, keep your workout to 45-60 minutes and make sure that you eat healthy and in moderation.
Pair your walks
Our bodies adapt naturally to any routine. Sounds impressive, but it’s counter-productive if you’re trying to burn calories. Your body just gets adjusted to your walking pattern and ends up burning fewer calories for the same distance. Try a mix of other exercises like yoga, running, weights or sports. It keeps your body guessing, keeps your metabolic rate high and burns more calories! If need be, you can use a health app to track your diet, calorie intake and fitness progress.