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Your 2018 Weight Loss Guide Step 4: The Only Weight Loss Exercise You’ll Ever Really Need

Timothy Boyer Ph.D.'s picture
Walking for weight loss

In the 4th installment of this 10-part series, we will take a look at some sound advice on what should be the only weight loss exercise you’ll ever really need toward a healthier and leaner body.


Here’s a recap of what’s been covered thus far: In step 1 you saw the importance of getting a wellness check or physical to get a baseline of where you are at physically and to institute preventive treatment should you be in need of controlling your blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure levels. In Step 2, you learned about the single most important change that is the easiest to make toward a healthier and thinner body. And, in Step 3 you found out how to turn your diet into a non-diet for easier weight loss.

Following a sensible progression, now is the time to start thinking about the best way to begin exercising to supplement the healthy eating you have now committed to toward better health. While the aforementioned steps 2 and 3 will result in a healthier body and weight loss, adding some exercise to your lifestyle changes will improve your overall health even more and lead to losing weight faster.

The good news is that the only weight loss exercise you’ll ever really need is just as simple as the lifestyle changes made in steps 2 and 3—walking.

Walking for exercise is the easiest and least expensive type of exercise available that actually works toward weight loss and improving physiological health and is supported by both popular fitness advice and scientific studies. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women between the ages of 18 and 30 who walked at least four hours a week were discovered to be 44 percent more likely to lose weight in comparison to women who did not walk at all—regardless of what other type of exercise they did.

The average American adult walks about 5,000 steps a day; The more-slovenly among us a mere 1,500 to 2,000 steps a day. On the high-side of estimates, the Amish reach a step count of about 18,500 steps a day. So, what number should we be focused on? Health experts contend that 10,000 steps a day, which is roughly equivalent to 5 miles, is a healthy goal that should be manageable for most people and just enough to result in some health benefits such as better digestion, improved muscle tone, increased metabolism and stress reduction.

While taking a walk outdoors is the best-recommended method, using a treadmill at home, at work or at the gym will do.

7 Tips for Avoiding Treadmill Injury While Losing Weight

Another popular way of getting those daily steps done without having to go outdoors or invest in a treadmill is to walk in-place to the pace of some free online exercise videos such as the popular “1 Mile In Home Walk! Walking Workout” video series like the sample video shown below.

Tips for Beginning Walkers

Sure, we all know how to walk. Maybe even some of us can walk and chew gum at the same time. But even with exercise as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, there’s a right way and wrong way of doing it.

Here’s a summary of tips for beginning walkers by thewalkingsite.com that will help you put your best foot forward as a beginner:

Start out easy. For most people this means heading out the door, walk for 10 minutes, and walk back. Do this every day for a week. If this was easy for you, add five minutes to your walks next week, and then keep adding 5 minutes each week until you are walking as long as desired.

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Start out slow. If you're new to walking, start off with slow, short sessions and build your way up gradually. Do not worry at all about speed in the beginning. After you have been walking for several weeks you can slowly start picking up your pace. You should walk fast enough to elevate your heart rate, but you should not be gasping for air.

Watch your posture. Hold your head up and eyes forward. Your shoulders should be down, back and relaxed. Tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks and fall into a natural stride.

Increase both mileage and pace slowly to prevent injury.

Incorporate a warm up, cool down into your routine. Start your walk at a slow warm up pace, stop and then do a few warm up/flexibility stretches. Then continue your walk and finish it with a slower cool down pace and stretching session.

Drink plenty of water before, during, and after walking.

Make your walking a daily habit. If you are walking for general health benefits try to walk a minimum of 30 minutes a day, most days of the week, at a "talking" pace. If you are walking to improve cardiovascular fitness you should walk 3 to 4 days a week, 20 to 30 minutes at a pace where you are breathing harder but not gasping for air. If you are walking for weight loss you will probably need to a minimum 45 to 60 minutes five days a week at a moderate to brisk pace. Walking faster will burn more calories in the same amount of time.

And finally…

In the 5th installment of this 10-part series, we will take a look at some sound advice on how to make building a healthier and leaner body fun.

Your 2018 Weight Loss Guide Step 1: First Things First

Your 2018 Weight Loss Guide Step 2: The Most Important Change is the Easiest

Your 2018 Weight Loss Guide Step 3: Clean Up Your Plate

Reference: The Walking Site “Beginning a Fitness Walking Program”

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