Updated: May 27, 2020
Over a year ago, I first published a blog post on why walking could actually be BETTER for your weight loss goals then running. This later lead me to expanding on the topic with THIS viral YouTube video. After I came out with the blog post and video, a ton of AENpeeps started asking me about the specifics on how you can actually implement walking for weight loss.
How long do you need to walk? Can you walk all at once or can you get in multiple small walks with the same benefits?
Today, I'm providing my top 3 strategies for how to implement walking into your routine in order to boost fat burning and achieve your weight loss goals!
But First... Why Walking??
I mean, SURELY running should be better than walking because it burns more calories, right?! Not necessarily. Yes, in the beginning, running can put you into a negative energy state that will cause you to lose weight. But as we know, this negative energy weight loss strategy isn't an effective long term tool. In fact, if you're running everyday and logging a huge amount of miles, this could SERIOUSLY HINDER your weight loss results.
As I discussed with THIS video, endurance runners/athletes have been found to have higher cortisol levels than non-endurance athletes. These high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can cause your body to start storing weight specifically around the belly. And this is regardless of if you're "burning more calories than you're eating".
(Psst - if you're wondering how calories aren't a great determiner of weight loss, check out THIS video.)
So what makes walking any different?
First of all, walking doesn't raise your heart rate as high as running. This means that you won't have elevated cortisol (stress hormone) levels and your body can more efficiently tap into fat burning mechanisms.
Second of all, because walking reduces stress levels, you're less likely to store weight around your belly. Like I mentioned, THIS video really dives into the physiology of why walking is so great for weight loss and I highly recommend you give it a watch for the full deets.
With this understanding, the question comes in of how we can properly implement walking into our schedules in order to achieve our weight loss goals.
1. Scale Up (But Be Realistic)
Unless you live in a city that emphasizes walking as a form of commuting, then you probably are only getting in a couple thousand steps per day at most. In regards to how many steps you should be getting per day, there is no "magic" number. Rather, simply continuing to increase your steps and boost your activity level throughout the day is the key.
Although I have shifted away from using my FitBit (for THESE reasons), having some form of step counter in the beginning of your weight loss journey can be extremely beneficial for helping you to see how active you currently are. Technically iPhones do have a step counter, however I have found these to be highly inaccurate when compared to a true step counter such as a FitBit.
Once you have established your baseline (ie 2500 steps per day), from here I recommend setting goals that change each week. And be realistic! If you're currently at 2500 steps, don't make your goal 10,000 steps. That's a huge jump and may seem daunting and make you less likely to stick with it. Instead, start by increasing your steps by 500-1000 per day. Then each week, you can start to increase this by an additional 500-1000 steps.
For example, if you're at that 2500 steps mark, during week 1 increase your steps to 3500. Then in week 2, bump it up to 4500. And so on.
This gradual introduction of steps will make your increased walking goal a simple and effortless process to implement.
2. Add Mini Walks Throughout Your Day
Having one long walk during the day is a fantastic way to boost activity. However, most of us are sitting in our desks ALL. DAY. LONG. You can easily add in additional steps toward your new step goal as well as decrease your risk of various chronic diseases (as well as obesity) that have been linked to a sedentary lifestyle.
Every 1-2 hours, take a 2-5 minute break from work to get up from your desk and stroll around the office (or even outside if you get the chance!). This can add up to a substantial amount of steps toward your goal without having to get in multiple long walks per day!
3. Pre-Workout Warm Up Walk
If you already have a strength training routine in place, adding in a 10-20 minute pre-workout walk is not only an excellent way to boost your steps, it also helps to warm up your muscles too! When I workout at the gym, I always start off with a 20-25 minute walk on the treadmill or outside before hitting the weights.
However you choose to boost your step count, the most important factor is that it fits your lifestyle. Some of my clients choose to have a long evening walk with their family or a lunchtime stroll around a nearby track if they work at a school. There are countless ways to boost your walking during the day and the strategies above are a fantastic place to get started!
PSSST: Are you looking for strategies to help you achieve your weight loss goal and feel AMAZING again? Head over HERE to get FREE information every week, including the deets on Intermittent Fasting, fat burning recipes, weight loss and SO.MUCH.MORE. Welcome to the AENpeeps! 🤓
Autumn Elle Nutrition