walking for weight loss

Walking for weight loss


It’s obvious that moving more is good for you, and you can’t get more basic than going for a good ol’ fashioned walk. What’s not to love? It’s free, you can do it with no equipment, it’s accessible to most and it’s rather good for you – and walking is pretty good for weight loss.

But why is it good for you? How does it contribute to your weight loss goals? What’s the best way to do it for maximum efficiency? And how do you stop it from being so boring? Put your walking shoes on and let’s find out…

Why is walking good for us?

Walking is an underrated way of getting active as it can be easy going. But it is a fantastic way of getting active and improving your fitness. Regular walking is good for your heart. It can help to prevent heart disease and high blood pressure.

It can also strengthen your bones, improve your balance and may even boost your mood. It’s a great low-impact exercise that doesn’t put stress on your joints.

Walking for weight loss

If you’re walking to help you achieve your weight loss goals, a gentle stroll won’t have much of an impact. Instead, you need to make sure that you walk fast enough and long enough to have an effect.

 
Aim for a brisk walk at a moderate intensity. This means walking fast enough that your heart rate goes up. You should struggle to sing at this level, although you should still be able to talk.
 
The NHS recommends that we aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. Brisk walking contributes to this, and it also helps us to reduce the time we spend sitting or lying down.
 
As your fitness improves, you might find that this isn’t enough for you. If this is you, you can work on increasing your intensity, duration or distance.
 
A 30-minute walk can burn up to 200 calories. But this depends on many factors, including your weight and the intensity of your walk.

What do I need to start walking?

Not much. The main thing is to get some good trainers.

Figure out where you’re going and take a bottle of water, especially when it’s hot out. You should also slap on the sun cream if it’s hot, because burnt to a crisp is not a good look.

You mean you want me to walk when I’m not even going anywhere?!

If you think aimless walking to get your steps in sounds like no fun, I get you. For all its virtues, walking as a form of exercise can be a bit boring, unless you’re lucky enough to live near a particularly scenic route. Luckily there are ways of making it a bit more fun…

Geocaching

Perfect for a weekend walk, geocaching adds a bit of excitement to what would otherwise be your run of the mill walk.

Geocaching is a real-life treasure hunt. People hide ‘geocaches’ for people to find and it’s down to you to find them.
 
To play, all you need is a GPS-enabled device (so, your phone) to act as a treasure map and an account on geocaching.com. Search for geocaches near you, put the coordinates into Google Maps and off you go.
 
You won’t find gold hidden in these treasure chests, but it can be fun to see what you can find.
You’ll typically find a logbook to sign and you’re encouraged to log your experience on the Geocaching website.
 
If there’s anything else in the container, it’s good etiquette to only take it if you can leave something of equal or greater value. You should replace it where you found it too, so others can enjoy it too.
Otherwise, it’s all about the thrill of hide and seek. It’s particularly exciting for kids, so if you want something to do with them that doesn’t involve hours on the Xbox, this might be a good shout.
 
Interested in learning more? This is a nice blog on the Geocaching website about why people love geocaching. 
walking for weight loss

Catch up on a good book

You definitely shouldn’t walk around with your nose in a paperback, unless you want to get up close and personal with a few lampposts.

But if you find it boring to walk around with only your thoughts for company, download an audiobook to listen to.
 
Stephen Fry credits walking with helping him to lose six stone in 2019, walking EIGHT MILES every morning.
He keeps motivated by listening to audiobooks and podcasts instead of music, saying on The Jonathan Ross Show that “music is fine, but you tend to, every ten yards or so, think ‘no, I don’t want to hear that’. You’re always adjusting your playlist”. That’s definitely something we can relate to as we hammer the skip button.

Audiobooks

In keeping with the spirit of how frugal walking is, there are plenty of places you can find free audiobooks.
 
Project Gutenberg has a vast collection of free ebooks and audiobooks (classics with expired copyright, which is why they’re free) in many different languages. LibriVox is similar but exclusively for audiobooks.
 
You should also check out your local library to see whether they provide access to audiobooks. Most libraries in the UK allow you to access a digital book service, with BorrowBox being one of the popular ones.
The downside to this is that, like real library books, you’re limited to whether someone is currently loaning a title.
 
You could try a 30 day trial for Audible, Amazon’s audiobook arm, especially if you want more recent books or instant access to bestsellers.
The obvious downside here is that it can be costly, but there are always discounts on offer if you’re willing to put a bit of time in looking for them.
Keep an eye on HotUKDeals or join a Facebook group where people post deals, like this Free Audible Audiobook Giveaways group.
Spotify is also your friend for more than music. It has a collection of audiobooks in this playlist. But audiobooks on Spotify tend to be well hidden, so the Spooks app is handy for finding them if you’re a fan of the Spotify interface.

Podcasts

Spotify is also host to a lot of podcasts, and if you don’t know where to start, look at their top charts to see what’s popular. We’re obviously going to recommend the MAN v FAT podcast, which you can find here for musings on weight loss, fitness and food, but other faves include Louis Theroux’s Grounded, The Adam Buxton Podcast, No Such Thing As A Fish (by the folks behind QI) and Shagged, Married, Annoyed.
 
Other popular podcast hosts include Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts and PodBean.

Finding a good route

One of the reasons walking is a good option is because you can do it anywhere. But because you can doesn’t mean that you want to.  A walk through the industrial part of town is not quite as appealing as a traipse through the lush countryside.

Luckily, there are many free tools online that will help you find a nice route near you. The National Trust has an interactive map of walking trails here, as do The Ramblers and Walking Britain.
Your local council will have details of local walking routes too – Google your council’s name + public rights of way, or council name + walking routes.

Even if you think walking is too gentle for you (check you out!), every little helps when it comes to upping your activity, so lace up your trainers and get out there.


About the Author /

jones@manvfat.com

MAN v FAT editor, writer, Pepsi Max addict.

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