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It is a generally well accepted fact that exercise burns calories and can improve the overall health of both the body and the mind. Most of us also recognize that walking is one of the simplest and most effective exercises for losing weight and improving health. What many people don’t realize is that they may not be getting the most effective returns from their efforts. It actually only requires a small adjustment from a simple walking program to be most effective as a weight loss program.

Many experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of sustained physical activity every day for health. However, walking 30 minutes a day, while initially causing a welcome and valuable weight loss for an overweight person, will often not be the final answer. The initial results of weight loss will probably not be sustained as the body makes adjustments and learns to accept the new demands placed on it.

Rest assured that walking (or participating in other activities) for a sustained 30 minutes daily WILL RESULT in better health, increased energy and well-being, as well as SOME weight loss. However, anyone who is severely overweight will likely not achieve the sustained, permanent weight loss they seek in just 30 minutes a day.

It’s a matter of time.

Due to the way the body extracts stored fat vs. Other Stored Energy Reserves, the first and most valuable step, once you’ve got into the habit of walking, will be to increase the amount of time you do the activity. Forty-five minutes is better than 30 and 60 is better than 45 minutes.

It is true that walking an hour a day, six or seven times a week, can be difficult for some people to fit into their schedules. However, simply increasing the time to 45 to 60 minutes of activity two or three times a week will produce more weight loss than keeping all walks to 30 minutes.

Another technique is to increase the speed with which you walk on days that you do not walk for more than 30 minutes. This also has the benefit of conditioning the body in a slightly different way than longer, slower-paced walks. Remember, no walk should present extreme shortness of breath. A general rule of thumb is that if you can’t talk and walk, you’re trying to go too fast or too far. Always slowly increase to new levels of effort.

You may also consider adding resistance training, such as with free weights, or equipment like Bowflex or Total Gym, or similar exercise equipment. This builds muscle tissue that will burn more calories even in a resting state. Also, walking exercises only certain muscles and muscle groups. A resistance training program can be used to train muscle groups that are not generally included in walking.

While long 45- and 60-minute walks will be somewhat more effective at the same time, two 30-minute walks in one day will be more beneficial for fitness and weight loss than just one. In fact, many experts recommend getting a pedometer and just trying to make sure you’re taking 10,000 steps every day.

I’d like to take a moment to address walking vs. functioning as a weight loss program.

Certainly, if you train to the point where you can run certain distances at certain times, you will almost certainly experience significant weight loss if that is what your body needs. However, you can get fit as a runner by walking with much less danger of injury. In particular, a beginning runner is more likely to feel less discomfort during and after a period of exercise than a beginning runner.

Once you have built your muscles and stamina, you may want to move on to a running program. Also, at the beginning of any exercise program, whether to lose weight or to stay in shape, extreme demands on the body and one’s physical, mental and motivational resources can result in cancellation of the program. It is generally easier to slip into a permanent walking program from a sedentary lifestyle than into a running program.

One final argument for at least starting a walking program is that you can enter a walking program without any special equipment or preparation, and no one but you needs to know that the shopping trip to the mall was actually your secret walk from the mall. day. . My mother is turning 90 this year. You often drive to a nearby store and shop for a while, putting things in your basket as you walk through the store. Then walk around the store a little more and put everything away. That way, you get into the hike, the cart stabilizes you, and you have to stretch, get up, and bend in a safe, comfortable, and air-conditioned environment. It’s an added bonus that my son-in-law is one of the managers of that store.

There is an old saying that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step … so does a successful weight loss program.

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