Many people walk weight off. If you're going to do anything to lose weight, walking is by far your best bang for your buck. It is so simple to do. Even just 20 to 30 minutes a few times a week will do you wonders. Many people aim to get an hour in every day if they can.
What if you don't have the time or energy to go walking for 30 minutes to an hour? The good news is that small bouts of walking add up. A few minutes here. A few minutes there. It all counts. So if you can't get out for those longer periods of time, don't despair. Do whatever you can. (Incidentally, this goes for other forms of exercise, like running, biking, working out, etc. Brief periods still count.)
We're built for walking. We can cover long distances and not even work up much of a sweat. If we ran the same distance, we'd be dripping.
Also, if you want to walk weight off, it costs nothing and can be done almost anywhere. It's like we're designed to do it, like it's one of our natural states to be in - in the act of walking.
The Amish walk about 10 to 12 km every day. Present-day hunter-gatherers walk about the same distance - about 12 to 14 km. And you may have heard health experts recommending to us that we get 10,000 steps in every day, which works out to about 10 km, depending on your stride length.
We're built for walking. They say that in the old days, people wouldn't think twice about going for a good, long 15 km walk or hike through the woods. Now today people get awards for participating in a 5 km walk/run event. Not to put those events down. For some people walking 5 km is a huge ordeal and that shouldn't be taken lightly. But for many walking longer than that is something that can be done more often.
As a matter of fact, people are now saying that people are designed to walk even farther than 10 km or so. Maybe not every day, but quite far. Persistence hunting. Modern hunter-gatherers still do it. Humans are very good at covering long distances, primarily due to sweating. Many other animals can only pant, which isn't as effective at cooling the body.
So these hunter-gatherers, like their ancestors for millennia before them, simply outwalk these creatures, who can only pant, until they die of heat exhaustion. Persistence hunting. They walk, run, take breaks, sit down, but slowly and surely (and persistently) they stalk the animals for hours and cover distances up to 50 km sometimes. Sounds like a marathon, doesn't it?
Well, you'd be right. The marathon of 42.2 km. Now the thing about marathons is that they can be hard on people. Notice I said the persistent hunters "take breaks" and "sit down" earlier? If you incorporate some walking breaks into any long-distance run you choose to do, your body will thank you. This is precisely what a lot of people recommend to runners.
Jeff Galloway, an expert runner, began the "run-walk-run" method. His books spell out the right length and frequency for walking breaks to be incorporated into people's runs. It's easier on your joints, your muscles, your tendons and ligaments, and even your mind.
Now for people who are serious about their race times, walking breaks might not be for them, because they can slow you down a little. But many runners who know what they're doing use this method so that they don't hurt as much after a run and so they don't get injured as much. This way they increase their chances of being able to run in their senior years, something many people hope they can do.
So there. There's a case for why you might consider to walk weight off. But like I said, even if you don't want to do the long distance thing, by walking for 20 minutes a few times a week, your body will thank you. Even a few minutes here and there adds up.
If you walk weight off, it is one of the best things you can do for your body. Maybe you're not the gym type. Maybe you don't want to lift weights or do push-ups. Maybe running isn't your thing. Walking can do wonders for you. Getting to your ideal weight should be on the list of things to do for so many people. Billions of people are overweight.
If you can get to your ideal weight, you are already crossing off scores of possible health problems that would have been waiting for you down the road. If you can head out the door whenever you can, whether it's 5 minutes or 15, please do. It may not seem like much, but it will burn a few calories and improve your mood. Every little bit helps. Do what you can.
"Born to Walk: The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act" by Dan Rubinstein.
Dan Rubinstein makes a case for how powerful the experience of walking can be. He also gives us a simple rule for walking much in the same vein as diet guru Michael Pollan's rule for food. Michael Pollan's rule is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
Dan Rubinstein's rule is "Walk more. Anywhere."
"It would be too simple, too unreal, to suggest that reclaiming walking is at the heart of solving modern civilizations woe's. But Rubinstein gets close - very close - to doing so. It is a necessary, convincing book." - Jennifer Keesmaat, chief planner, City of Toronto, Canada
"A captivating read on the simple yet complex act of walking. A reflection on the lifelong benefits of putting one foot in front of the other and learning to celebrate each day." - John Stanton, CEO and founder, The Running Room