When it comes to fat loss, walking really is the easiest and most sustainable way to shed that unwanted flab.
However, walking every day may be the perfect remedy.
Another study, published in Lancet, examined the differences in groups of people that walked varying amounts of steps every day.
- Quartile 1: 3,553 steps per day
- Quartile 2: 5,801 steps per day
- Quartile 3: 7,842 steps per day
- Quartile 4: 10,901 steps per day
The results were astounding.
- 5,800 steps per day reduces one’s risk of death by 40%
- 7,800 steps reduces risk by 45%
- 11,000 steps per day reduces risk by 53% compared to 3,500 steps per day
Another study, “Daily Step Count and All-Cause Mortality: A Dose-Response Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies” found that if you simply increase your step count by 1000 steps (from the current number), then you will lower your risk of mortality by 12%. After 17,000, there is a line of diminishing return.
- General Benefits of Walking
- Video: 5 Reasons Why Walking is the King of Fat Loss
- Walking Utilises More Fat as a Percentage of Fuel
- Walking is a Great Way to Preserve Muscle (Whilst Burning Fat)
- Walking is a Non-concussive Exercise
- Walking is a Great Activity for Incorporating Other Important Factors of Fitness Into your Life
- Walking Improves Many Muscles
General Benefits of Walking
Walking is a simple and accessible form of exercise that offers numerous health benefits. Here are some of the key advantages of incorporating walking into your daily routine:
Cardiovascular Health: Walking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health. It can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve circulation. Regular walking can also increase your levels of “good” HDL cholesterol while lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Weight Management: Walking can be an effective tool for weight management. It burns calories, and when combined with a healthy diet, it can help with weight loss and weight maintenance. The number of calories burned depends on factors like your walking speed and distance.
Improved Mood: Physical activity like walking triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. It can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and enhance overall mental well-being.
Related: 7 Ideal Calorie Deficit Foods
Stress Reduction: Walking in natural settings, such as parks or nature trails, has been shown to reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being. The combination of physical activity and exposure to green spaces can have a calming effect.
Joint Health: Walking is a low-impact exercise, making it easier on your joints compared to high-impact activities like running. It can help improve joint flexibility and reduce the risk of arthritis and osteoporosis.
Improved Posture and Balance: Regular walking can strengthen the muscles that support your spine and help with posture and balance. This can be particularly beneficial for older adults in reducing the risk of falls.
Enhanced Digestion: Walking can aid in digestion by promoting the movement of food through the digestive tract. A post-meal walk can help prevent indigestion and bloating.
Boosted Immune Function: Regular moderate-intensity walking may enhance the immune system’s ability to fight off infections and illnesses.
Better Sleep: Engaging in physical activity, including walking, can improve the quality of your sleep. It helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle and may reduce the risk of insomnia.
Longevity: Several studies have shown that regular walking is associated with a longer lifespan. It can reduce the risk of premature death from various causes, including heart disease and certain cancers.
Social Interaction: Walking can be a social activity. Walking with friends, family, or in group settings can provide social interaction, which is essential for mental and emotional well-being.
Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases: Regular walking can lower the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, stroke, and some forms of cancer.
Video: 5 Reasons Why Walking is the King of Fat Loss
So why specifically is walking the king of fat loss?
In the video below, Thomas DeLauer breaks down the 5 reasons.
Thomas DeLauer has built his name around helping the busiest people in all corners of the world find the time to make small, easy changes within their diets and their lifestyles to not only become healthier, but to become top performers within their respective areas.
Walking Utilises More Fat as a Percentage of Fuel
Walking at a moderate pace is often cited as an exercise that primarily burns fat as a percentage of fuel compared to more intense forms of exercise like running. This phenomenon can be explained by several factors:
Exercise Intensity: When you engage in lower-intensity exercises like walking, your body primarily relies on fat as a source of energy. This is because fat is an efficient, slow-burning fuel source that’s readily available for your body to use during low-intensity activities.
Aerobic Metabolism: Walking is an aerobic exercise, meaning it relies on oxygen to generate energy. During aerobic activities, your body has sufficient oxygen to support the breakdown of fatty acids (from stored body fat) to produce energy. This makes fat the predominant fuel source during walking, particularly at moderate intensities.
Duration: People often walk for longer durations compared to high-intensity exercises. Since fat is a more sustainable energy source than carbohydrates (glycogen), it becomes the primary source of fuel over extended periods of low-intensity activity.
Efficiency: Your body tends to preserve its glycogen stores during low-intensity exercise to have them available for more intense, high-intensity activities when oxygen may not be as readily available. Walking allows your body to conserve glycogen while relying on fat for energy, making it an efficient choice for fat burning.
Individual Variability: It’s important to note that individual variability exists in how your body uses different energy sources during exercise. Some people may naturally burn a higher percentage of fat during exercise, while others may rely more on carbohydrates. Factors such as genetics, fitness level, and diet can influence this variability.
It’s essential to understand that while walking primarily burns fat as a percentage of fuel, it may not burn as many total calories compared to higher-intensity exercises. To maximize fat loss, it’s often recommended to combine walking with a balanced diet and possibly include some higher-intensity workouts to increase overall calorie expenditure and promote weight loss.
Ultimately, the most effective exercise routine for fat loss and overall health will depend on your individual goals, fitness level, and preferences. It’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare or fitness professional to create a personalized plan that suits your specific needs.
Walking is a Great Way to Preserve Muscle (Whilst Burning Fat)
Walking is an excellent way to burn fat and maintain your muscle mass at the same time. It is a simple way to improve angiogenesis.
Angiogenesis is the process by which new blood vessels form from pre-existing blood vessels. This physiological process is critical for various normal functions in the body and plays a significant role in both health and disease. Here are some key points about angiogenesis:
Formation of New Blood Vessels: Angiogenesis involves the growth and development of new blood vessels from existing ones. These new vessels can be capillaries, which are tiny, thin-walled vessels that facilitate the exchange of nutrients and oxygen between the blood and surrounding tissues, or larger blood vessels.
Role in Health: In a healthy context, angiogenesis is involved in various essential processes, including embryonic development, wound healing, and tissue repair. It is also vital for the growth and maintenance of tissues and organs. For example, during exercise, angiogenesis can occur to deliver more blood and oxygen to muscles.
Regulation: The process of angiogenesis is tightly regulated by a balance between pro-angiogenic factors (stimulating the formation of new blood vessels) and anti-angiogenic factors (inhibiting angiogenesis). This balance ensures that angiogenesis occurs when needed and ceases when not required.
Factors Involved: Various growth factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF), play a crucial role in promoting angiogenesis. These factors stimulate the proliferation and migration of endothelial cells, which line blood vessels. On the other hand, factors like thrombospondin and endostatin have anti-angiogenic properties.
Walking is a Non-concussive Exercise
Walking is an excellent non-concussive exercise, which means it doesn’t involve high-impact movements that jolt or jar the body, making it a gentle and low-impact activity.
Walking is gentle on the joints, making it suitable for individuals with joint problems, arthritis, or those recovering from injuries. It places minimal stress on the knees, hips, and ankles compared to high-impact activities like running.
This also leads to a reduced risk of injury. Because it’s a low-impact exercise, the risk of injury, such as sprains, strains, or stress fractures, is significantly lower than with higher-impact activities. This makes it a safe choice for people of various fitness levels and ages.
Walking is a Great Activity for Incorporating Other Important Factors of Fitness Into your Life
Vitamin D, sun exposure, low light gazing affects our brain and our neurochemistry, and are vitally important for a healthy life.
Vitamin D and sun exposure are vital for humans because they play essential roles in maintaining overall health and well-being. Here are some of the key reasons why they are crucial:
Vitamin D Synthesis: Sun exposure is the primary natural source of vitamin D for humans. When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun, it triggers the synthesis of vitamin D in your skin. Vitamin D is essential for the body to function properly.
Bone Health: Vitamin D is critical for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestines. These minerals are necessary for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Without adequate vitamin D, the body cannot effectively utilize dietary calcium, which can lead to weakened bones and conditions like rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.
Immune System Support: Vitamin D plays a role in supporting the immune system. It helps the body fight off infections and illnesses by modulating the immune response. Insufficient vitamin D levels have been associated with an increased risk of infections and autoimmune diseases.
Mood and Mental Health: There is evidence to suggest that vitamin D may have an impact on mood and mental health. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to conditions such as depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Adequate vitamin D may help improve mood and reduce the risk of these conditions.
Cardiovascular Health: Some studies suggest that adequate vitamin D levels may be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, heart disease, and stroke. However, more research is needed to establish the exact mechanisms involved.
Cancer Prevention: Research has indicated that sufficient vitamin D levels may play a role in reducing the risk of certain cancers, such as breast, prostate, and colon cancer. However, the relationship between vitamin D and cancer is complex and not fully understood.
Muscle Function: Vitamin D is important for muscle health and function. It can help improve muscle strength and reduce the risk of muscle weakness and falls, particularly in older adults.
Metabolism and Weight Management: There is evidence to suggest that vitamin D may play a role in regulating metabolism and body weight. Some studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to obesity and related metabolic disorders.
Hormone Regulation: Vitamin D is involved in regulating various hormones in the body, including insulin and parathyroid hormone, which helps control calcium levels in the blood.
While sun exposure is a natural and efficient way to obtain vitamin D, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential risks of excessive sun exposure, including the risk of skin cancer and sunburn. Therefore, it’s often recommended to balance sun exposure with sunscreen use and to consider other sources of vitamin D, such as dietary sources (e.g., fatty fish, fortified dairy products) and supplements if necessary. The optimal amount of sun exposure can vary depending on factors like skin type, geographic location, and the time of year. Consulting with a healthcare provider can help determine your specific vitamin D needs and sun exposure recommendations.
Walking Improves Many Muscles
Walking is a whole-body exercise that engages numerous muscles and muscle groups. While it may not target specific muscles as intensively as some other forms of exercise, it provides a balanced workout for various muscle groups. Here are the primary muscles that walking helps to improve:
- Quadriceps: Walking engages the quadriceps in the front of your thighs. These muscles are responsible for extending your knee with each step.
- Hamstrings: The hamstrings, located on the back of your thighs, help to flex your knee and extend your hip as you push off with each step.
- Calves: The calf muscles, including the gastrocnemius and soleus, are heavily involved in the push-off phase of walking and help you propel yourself forward.
- Hip Flexors: The hip flexor muscles, such as the iliopsoas, are involved in lifting your leg at the beginning of each step, allowing your knee to flex.
- Gluteus Maximus: This is the largest muscle in your buttocks and plays a crucial role in hip extension and propelling your body forward during walking.
- Gluteus Medius: This muscle, located on the outer side of your hips, helps stabilize your pelvis and maintain balance while walking.
- The muscles of the core, including the abdominal muscles, obliques, and lower back muscles, help stabilize your torso and maintain good posture during walking.
- Lower Back (Erector Spinae): The erector spinae muscles in your lower back help support your spine and maintain an upright posture while walking.
Arms and Shoulders: While not the primary focus of walking, your arm muscles, including the biceps and triceps, are engaged as your arms naturally swing with each stride. This swinging action helps with balance and overall rhythm.
Chest and Upper Back: The muscles of the chest and upper back contribute to maintaining an upright posture and a balanced gait while walking.
Ankle and Foot Muscles: The smaller muscles in your feet and ankles play a crucial role in maintaining balance, absorbing shock, and providing stability as you take each step.
Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be adapted to various fitness levels and needs. While it may not be as targeted as some strength-training exercises, it’s an excellent way to improve overall muscle tone, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness. Additionally, walking can serve as a foundation for more intensive strength and resistance training programs by building a base level of fitness and muscle strength.
- Add 1,000 steps to your daily walking count, even if it is low.
- After this step feels natural and fits easily into your routine, add another 1,000 steps.
- Repeat this process over months (and years) and build your daily count up to 10,000 steps.