The fascinating thing about walking is that it is great for getting rid of excess belly fat. And it is almost free. In fact, all you need is a pair of good walking shoes.
Studies on Walking and Belly Fat
First, let’s see what research says about walking’s ability to help you be free of that excess belly fat. Indeed, a 2008 University of Virginia study looked at the effects of walking on belly fat. Notably, one group of women did 30 minutes of fast-paced walks three times a week and slower walks twice a week. Meanwhile, another group of women walked more slowly five days a week. And the study reported that women in the first group lost four times more body fat and six times more belly fat than women in the second group.
Next, a study in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry showed that walking helps burn fat and reduces waist circumference in obese women. Now, these women walked between 50 to 70 minutes 3 days a week for 12 weeks. And, the study found that the women lost an average of 1.5 percent body fat as well as 1.1 inches around their waist.
Burn More Calories with a Body Vest
Next, a study was done to see how much more fat is lost by wearing a body vest. So, some of the participants in the study walked 2.5 miles in an hour on a flat surface with a vest that weighed 15 percent of their body weight. And, those participants wearing a weighted vest burned 12 percent more calories than those who did not.
Meanwhile, a person wearing a vest weighing 10 percent of their body weight and walking at the same pace on a 5 to 10 percent gradient burned an average of 13 percent more calories.
By the way, walking with either ankle or wrist weights or carrying weights in your hands is not a good idea because they can lead to muscle imbalance and injury.
Incidentally, regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat. Also, daily walking increases the body’s metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss.
Long or Short Walks
By the way, you don’t have to do only long walks to burn belly fat. In fact, a few short walks may be more convenient to fit into your schedule. Moreover, a study looked at inactive people 60 years and older, walking for 15 minutes, three times a day after meals. And the study found that these short walks can help control blood sugar levels better than one long walk. By the way, people 60 years and older see a decline in their lung’s aerobic capacity. So, they need short periods of low intensity exercises.
By the way, the current American Heart Association/American College of Sports Medicine have recommendations for walking. In fact, they recommend able-bodied adults do moderate-intensity exercises like brisk walking for at least 30 minutes on five days each week.
Now, a study reported that non-athletes walking at a brisk pace of 3.2 miles in one hour expended 90 calories for each mile. On the other hand, those who ran at a pace of 6 miles in one hour burned 113 calories for each mile. Which means that running at 6 miles per hour, you burn 23 more calories in each mile than if you were brisk walking at a pace of 3.2 miles per hour.
Consequently, brisk walking is an effective way to burn calories. Also, because walkers always have one foot on the ground, walking doesn’t create the high impact stress that is associated with jogging or running. Besides, pounding the pavement, when you are jogging or running puts tremendous stress on your joints. Regrettably, this pounding may take a toll and cause serious issues later in life.
How to do Your Walk
First and foremost, don’t start the walk at a brisk pace. Instead, walk at a comfortable pace for the first ten minutes so that you are at the lower end of your target heart rate. By doing this, your body uses up blood sugar and other ready energy stores in your muscles.
Most of all, by walking at his pace, the body gets ready to start burning stored fat. On the other hand, if you simply start at the fastest pace, your body doesn’t get the signal to start burning the stored fat.
Next, after the first ten minutes, walk as briskly as you can. And, to get the most out of your walk, walk for at least 45 minutes. Because, walking for 45 minutes gets you into the fat burning zone.
Now, if you are just getting into walking to help burn fat and lose weight, start with 15 minutes of walking a day. And do these 15-minute walks five days a week. Next, gradually increase the time in five-minute segments from one week to the next.
Now Some Downsides
First, if you are not used to brisk walking, your feet may start to hurt. Or, you may sprain your foot, especially if you walked on a trail. Or, you walked too much, so your feet hurt. Fortunately, there are ways to relieve your feet and be ready to get back to your regimen.
Also, the weather can impact your decision to go walking or not. For example, on hot days or very cold days, walking might be hard. Finally, for many reasons, it may not be possible for you to walk in the vicinity of your house.