With obesity and disease increasing dramatically, many fitness experts are recommending walking for weight loss and fitness. Some are even going so far as saying that walking is the best way to burn fat and lose weight. I will talk about why it is not.
With obesity and disease increasing dramatically, many fitness experts are recommending walking for weight loss and fitness. Some are even going so far as saying that walking is the best way to burn fat and lose weight. I strongly disagree with this and am going to show you why walking is not effective at burning off body fat.
Yes, you read that correctly. Walking is not effective at burning body fat and if your goal is fat loss you might be wasting your time. I am not saying that walking is not beneficial, I am saying that if fat loss is the primary goal, there are far better choices that will deliver far better results.
Click Image To Enlarge. Walking Is Not Effective At Burning Body Fat.
The primary benefits of walking are increased blood flow and circulation, improved recovery, and a strengthened immune system. There are several reasons why walking is not the best choice when it comes to fat loss. Here are just a few.
The lower the intensity of the activity or exercise the smaller the number of calories burned per unit of time. For example, you can burn more calories in 15 minutes of bicycling at a high intensity level than you can in 45 minutes of easy walking.
Walking Doesn't Result In A Large Metabolism Increase
Another downside to walking is that because it's generally low intensity it results in only a small increase in metabolism that will only last approximately 1-2 hours after the walk. On the other hand, metabolism increases are larger and last longer (4-24 hrs or more) when you perform high intensity cardio workouts.
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Walking Doesn't Deplete Muscle Glycogen
Low intensity exercise like walking does not deplete muscle glycogen levels and therefore, later that day if you have excess calories they will likely be stored as body fat whereas if you deplete the glycogen the excess calories will primarily be stored in the muscles.
Muscle cell glycogen appears to function as an immediate reserve source of available glucose for muscle cells. Other cells that contain small amounts use it locally as well.
Muscle cells lack glucose-6-phosphatase enzyme, so they lack the ability to pass glucose into the blood, so the glycogen they store internally is destined for internal use and is not shared with other cells.
Why Is It Recommended?
So why then do so many fitness and health experts recommend walking for weight loss? One reason is that people don't want to hear that they have to work hard so they figure some activity is better than none. Another reason is that the body burns more fat for fuel when exercising at an easy pace, however, the total amount of energy used is so small that you end up burning off little body fat. That's also why when you choose the "fat burning" program on your treadmill or bike it has you exercise at an easy level. Yes, you're burning fat, but so little that you'd have to exercise at that easy pace for hours and hours each day.
Click Image To Enlarge. When You Chose The Fat Burning Program On Your Treadmill Of Bike It Has You Exercise At An Easy Level.
High intensity cardiovascular/aerobic exercise is much more effective in burning off the excess body fat. In fact, several studies have been done to prove this. In one study they compared one group who did moderate level aerobics for 45 minutes with another group who performed high intensity workouts for 15 minutes. They did before and after fitness testing including body fat analysis and found that the group who performed the high intensity aerobics lost nine times as much body fat!
Compare the bodies of a walker, marathon runner, and sprinter. If you are not familiar with what a sprinters body looks like, it is very muscular and has little body fat while on the other hand the body of a walker will likely have the opposite, little muscle and more fat. The sprinter does little or no low intensity exercise and does primarily short hard bursts of work while the marathoner overtrains so much they burn off both the body fat and the muscle and that's why they tend to look almost sickly thin.
Perform some form of high intensity cardio 2-4 times per week
Stabilize blood sugar to minimize the storage of new fat
I know some of you by now are saying "I can't do high intensity exercise, I have a bad knee" and don't worry, I have a solution for you. The good news is that high intensity is all relative to you and your current fitness level. For example, fast walking up and down hills may be high intensity for you... it all depends. So don't think that you have to start running or something like that. Just slowly start to increase the intensity of your cardio workouts while also maybe decreasing the time because you can either work hard or you can work long.
Which Form Of High Intensity Cardio Do You Prefer?
Make Any Activity High-Intensity
Increase your speed
Use an incline or hills
Perform intervals (the most effective method)
Obviously, some exercises/activities or better suited than others but the point is if you want to burn more fat and make your workouts as productive as possible you need to increase the intensity.
I think it can be argued that even though walking is not as intense as a HIIT, but I've seen people lose size over time merely by walking everyday. High intensity exercises can be dangerous for people suffering from high blood pressure etc., hence walking is advised to those patients
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