If you want to stay fit and healthy, it is important to exercise regularly. This is because physical exercise reduces your risk of health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer ( 1 , 2). Except that it can help you to live longer and healthier, exercise is also conducive to (permanent) weight loss ( 3 , 4 ). Fortunately, walking is a good form of exercise that is free, has few risks and is accessible to most people ( 5 ). It is not only good for you, it is one of the easiest forms of movement that you can fit into your daily life. This article explains how more walking can help you lose weight and lose belly fat.
Walking burns your calories
Your body needs energy (in the form of calories) for all the complex chemical reactions that cause you to move, breathe, think and function normally. The daily calorie requirement varies per person and is influenced by things like your weight, gender, genes and how much you move. It is well known that you have to burn more calories than you get to lose weight ( 6 ). People who exercise more burn more calories (5, 7)). Modern life and the working environment often cause you to spend a large part of the day sitting, especially if you have an office job. This sitting lifestyle does not only contribute to weight gain, but it can also increase your risk of health problems ( 8 ). By trying to exercise more and walking more often, you can burn more calories and reduce the risks ( 9 ). A walk of 1.6 kilometres burns about 100 kilocalories, depending on your gender and weight ( 10 ). In one study, the number of calories burned was measured by people walking at a fast pace of 5 km / h or running 9 km per hour. It was shown that those who walked hard on average burned 90 calories per 1.5 km (7 ). Although significantly more calories are burned when running, on average it is only 23 calories more per 1.5 km, which means that both forms of exercise ensure good calorie burning. To increase the intensity of your walk and burn more calories, try trails with hills or gentle slopes ( 11 ).
In short: With walking, you burn calories, which can help you to lose weight (permanently). You already burn about 100 kilocalories with a 1.5-kilometre walk.
It helps you maintain lean muscle mass
When people delete calories and lose weight, they usually lose some muscle in addition to fat. This can be counter-productive since muscles are more metabolically active than fat. That means that it helps you burn more calories every day. Exercise, such as walking, can prevent muscle loss by maintaining lean muscle mass when you lose weight. This can counteract the decline in metabolism, which is usually accompanied by weight loss, so your results can be permanent (12, 13, 14, 15 ). In addition, the loss of muscle due to age can be prevented, so that you can maintain your muscle strength and its proper functioning ( 16 ).
In short: Walking can help prevent you from losing muscle mass when you are losing weight. This can help reduce the metabolism, making it easier to keep the kilograms away.
Walking burns belly fat
The storage of a lot of fat around your stomach is linked to an increased risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease ( 17 ). Men with a waist circumference of more than 102 cm and women with a waist circumference of more than 88 cm suffer from abdominal obesity, which poses a risk to health. One of the most effective ways to reduce abdominal fat is through aerobic movements, such as walking (18, 19 ). In a small study, obese women who walked 50-70 minutes three times a week for 12 weeks lost 2.8 cm on the hip circumference and 1.5% of the body weight ( 20%).). Another study showed that people on a low-calorie diet who walked an hour for five hours per week gained 3.7 cm more of their hip size and 1.3 per cent more body fat for 12 weeks compared to following a diet alone ( 21 ). Other studies that examined the effects of walking for 30-60 minutes each day came with similar results ( 22 ).
In short: Regular exercise at an average pace such as walking can help you burn belly fat.
It improves your mood
Exercise is good for your mood. Not only can it improve your mood, but it can also reduce stress, depression and anxiety (23, 24 ). This is because your brain becomes more sensitive to the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine. These hormones relieve depressive feelings and stimulate the release of the lucky substances endorphins ( 25 ). This is a big advantage in itself. By getting a better mood during the walk, it is easier to keep this habit going. Some studies have shown that when you enjoy physical exertion it is more likely that you will continue to do so (26, 27, 28).). People move less when they do not enjoy it, which may be due to the fact that the physical form is physically too heavy ( 27 ). This makes walking an excellent option since you can do it at your own pace. This can motivate you to walk more, instead of giving it up.
In short: If you regularly exercise and enjoy it, it can improve your mood and motivate you to keep it going.
Walking can help you stay on weight
Many people who lose weight often get the kilos back ( 29 ). However, regular exercise is an important factor in allowing weight loss to last ( 30 ). Regular exercise such as walking not only helps you burn more energy, it also helps you to grow more lean muscle mass so that you burn more calories, even when at rest. Furthermore, it can improve your mood, making you more likely to persevere in the long term. A recent review estimated that in order to maintain a stable weight you would have to walk 150 minutes a week ( 31). However, if you have lost a lot of weight, you may have to move for more than 200 minutes to prevent you from coming back ( 32 , 33 ). Studies have shown that people who move the most are often the most successful to stay on weight, while people who move the least can more easily arrive ( 34 ). When you walk daily, it can increase your amount of exercise and contribute to your daily exercise goals.
In short: Staying active and exercising more by walking a lot every day can help you stay on weight.
How you fit more exercise into your lifestyle every day A lot of exercises brings along many health benefits, including a better condition and a better mood, a reduced risk of illness and a better chance of living longer and healthier. Therefore, it is recommended to move at least 150 minutes a week at a moderate pace. This means that you walk around 2.5 hours a week (at least ten minutes at a time) at a strong pace. Everything you do extra brings additional health benefits and reduces your risk of illness even more. There are many ways to take more steps and achieve your goals. Here are a few ideas:
- Use a fitness tracker and follow your steps to motivate yourself to move more ( 35 ).
- Make it a habit to take a brisk walk during the lunch break or after dinner.
- Ask a friend to come along for an evening walk.
- Go with your dog every day or walk with a friend who is exhausting the dog.
- Do meetings with a colleague walking instead of at a desk.
- Walk to school with the children or walk your groceries.
- Walk to your work. If this is too far away, park your car further away or get out of the bus before you can walk for a bit.
- Try out new and challenging routes to keep your walks varied.
- Join a walking group.
- Every bit helps, so start small and slowly try to increase your daily steps.
In short : By walking more every day you can burn more calories and lose weight.
Walking is a form of movement at a moderate pace that you can easily fit into your daily life. Simply walking more often can help you lose weight and belly fat and offers other great health benefits, such as a lower risk of illness and a better mood. With a walk of just 1.6 kilometres you burn about 100 calories. If you want to lose weight you will get the best results through a combination of more exercise and healthy diet changes (with permission translated ).