If you are looking to make a change in your life and start your weight loss journey, it is helpful to know that it is possible to lose weight just by walking. It is low impact, low intensity, and easy to incorporate into your daily life. If you’re interested in getting fit for the first time, as many people are in January, walking is a fun and interesting way to do it.
Although some people recommend running as the best way to lose weight along with cardio, they often don’t take into account important details, such as the effect running has on the joints of heavier people.
For those just starting out, getting back into fitness after a long absence, or older exercisers looking for ways to stay healthy, walking offers a low-intensity, low-impact alternative to running. It can help new exercisers stay on track, which is the most challenging part of getting fit.
Not to mention, your walking experience can be enhanced with the right equipment, whether it’s a dedicated treadmill (check out one of the best under-desk treadmills or scroll down for more) or wearables like the best fitness trackers.
Studies have shown (Opens in a new tab) People who walk more tend to be thinner than those who walk less. Of course, people who walk more also lead a healthier lifestyle, in general, than those who don’t exercise, but it’s true that moving helps boost metabolism and improve cardiovascular performance, even if it’s just walking.
When we talk about walking as a weight loss tool, we’re not talking about a leisurely stroll, such as a brisk, varied walk at over 3 mph. This relatively fast pace challenges your cardiovascular system just the right amount—not as much as running, but more so than a casual walk.
Imagine that you are walking to a date that you are a little late for; Not so much that you need to rush, but late enough that you feel the need to walk at a faster pace. This is the speed you are aiming for. And although we mentioned 3 mph as a rule of thumb above, the pace of brisk walking may vary from individual to individual. Those with a large amount of body weight may find it difficult to maintain a slower pace, which in turn leads to an increased heart rate.
Track your heart rate directly with a fitness watch, such as the Garmin Forerunner 55
Wearing a running watch or fitness tracker with a built-in optical heart rate sensor can help you monitor the ebbs and flows of your cardiovascular system when you exercise. Most modern running watches, certainly Garmin’s best, have accelerometers and GPS chips to accurately track your movements indoors and outdoors. They can also record your workouts; Seeing your progress so far can be a great motivator to keep going.
Contrary to what you might think, running watches don’t have to be expensive either. The entry-level Garmin Forerunner 55 can do all of the above (like heart rate, GPS tracking, etc.), and it can also monitor sleep, stress, energy levels, and more. If you’re looking for something a little less intimidating, try the Fitbit Luxe; This fitness tracker can effectively monitor your fitness efforts without making it look like you’re trying too hard.
Don’t let the weather stop you from getting outside: Get a treadmill
It’s easy to find excuses for not exercising, and one of the most common is, “It’s raining outside; I can’t go for a walk right now!” Fortunately, there are ways around this problem, and they don’t cost much. Treadmills—sometimes called under-desk treadmills because they’re so often used with standing desks—provide an inexpensive alternative to full-size treadmills, with a small caveat that they can only be used for low-intensity workouts—exactly what we needed for!
Treadmills like the excellent Bluefin Fitness Task 2.0 can cost just over $250 / £250, and usually take up little enough space that you can shove them under your sofa or bed when not in use. These slim treadmills allow you to walk all year round without getting wet, helping you stay on track with your treadmill exercises and, in turn, your weight loss regimen.
Other ways to lose weight include paying attention to your metabolism with devices like Lumen, or checking your body composition with the best smart scales.