What if you could lose weight by adding a brisk walk to your routine? Science shows that there might be a connection.
The connection between brisk walks and your waistline
Researchers at the London School of Economics studied seven years worth of data in the Health Survey for England, connecting physical activity with waist circumference and body mass index (BMI).
They learned that:
- People who did the most activity of any type had the lowest BMI and lowest waist measurements.
- For women, brisk walking was the biggest indicator even when compared to other sports and exercises. Those who walked briskly for 30 minutes five days a week had 4.3 cm smaller waist measurement than those who did not.
- The effect is stronger in women, particularly those over the age of 50.
- For men, sports and exercises showed a stronger link to lower waist measurements and BMI, but only slightly higher than walking briskly.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Just be sure to remember the brisk in brisk walking. Researchers define brisk walking as walking that is intense enough for you elevate your heart rate and work up a sweat. You can’t just plod along at a leisurely pace and expect results.
More reasons to take brisk walks
Beyond the waistline, there are other great reasons to include brisk walks in your daily routine.
- Anyone can do it. Taking a walk can be done anywhere, by anyone (unless you have a debilitating injury). Walk your neighborhood. Walk a shopping center. On vacation you can walk to explore a new city. Walking is scenic, meditative and refreshing. You really have no excuse for not walking.
- It’s free. You don’t need to spend any money to enjoy a walk. It’s absolutely free. No money, no excuses. No matter what, you can always go outside and get those legs moving and blood pumping. If you live in the city you can walk to work and save money on transport or parking fees.
- Walking can help build better relationships. Grab a buddy and catch up while you get in some exercise. We are so caught up in technology today, we often forget the real relationships in our lives. Use a walking break at work to spend some actual face time with a co-worker or go on a walk with your significant other in the evening and share your day.
- Enhance your cognitive ability. The faster you can walk, the stronger your memory will be as you age. According to a 2013 study, there was a strong correlation with reduced cerebral gray matter volume in the brain when subjects performed poorly in the test. The quicker subjects walked, the more positive correlation in brain function.
Don’t ditch your regular workouts
Why is brisk walking so effective? It is all about intensity. As mentioned earlier, the brisk in brisk walking means that you are elevating your heart rate and working up a sweat. In general, upping the intensity is a good thing. Researchers have linked the intensity of exercise with significant decreases in abdominal body fat, as well as total body fat percentage.
While brisk walking may be effective for weight loss (and maintaining a healthy weight), adding HIIT workouts, sports, and other forms of exercise will help you improve your strength, balance and agility. You can’t walk your way to a push-up or pull-up. You have to train to do these. This is where 8fit comes in. Our workouts are designed to be high-intensity, mostly using bodyweight exercises to help you improve your body composition. Depending on your goals, we can help you lose fat, get fit, or gain muscle mass.
We’ll leave you with a few actionable tips for including brisk walks into your daily habits:
- Add 30 minutes of brisk walking to speed up weight loss. If you already walk, speed up your stroll to reap the benefits.
- Adding walking to your daily routine can help maintain and even increase your brain power as you age.
- Walking can be social. Bringing a buddy along makes the walk more enjoyable and can help build stronger relationships.
- Remember to log and track your walking in the exercise section of the 8fit app. Tracking your progress helps you build habits and reach your goals even faster.
- Combine walking with 8fit workouts to achieve your goals faster than doing either alone.