Walking: Wonderful for Weight Loss

I’ve promoted walking for weight loss for decades, and some people seem to never quite believe me.  They think weight loss has to be achieved through suffering and activities that they normally wouldn’t do unless someone paid them. (I speak from experience, as someone once paid me to get me to run a long distance race)

I’ll never forget the day, when I was fifteen, when I first complained to my mom about my weight.  I’d stopped doing gymnastics and now took the bus to school, and my weight was creeping up steadily.  She told me the solution was simple: to lose weight, all I needed to do was walk more, to the tune of fifteen minutes a day.  I did, and the weight dropped off.  I’ve used this weight loss tool ever since: after a buffet-filled vacation, or after a summer of too little activity and too many barbecues.  Luckily, walking (and dancing) really work for me.

Will walking for weight loss work for you, too?  Yes!  It’s now official, according to a study published in March in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen actually told a group of men to stop walking.  They were instructed to reduce their daily steps by using elevators instead of stairs, and by riding in cars rather than walking or biking.  I’m guessing they were also told to drive around in circles until they found the closest possible parking spot to the entrance (sound familiar?).

The first observation was that their blood insulin levels went up, making them more likely to develop diabetes as a result of this decreased physical activity.  Second, they showed a significant increase in abdominal fat, while their lean body mass (muscle) decreased.

And all this happened in just two weeks.

So if you look down at yourself, right now, and see a bulging belly that you’d rather do without, we’ve now got a simple and potentially very effective solution. Take the stairs.  Park a little further away.  Go out for a walk instead of out for a drive.

I found this information today as I was researching a topic for my nutrition column in the Medical Post.  Dr. Arya Sharma, a world-renowned weight loss and obesity specialist, had read one of my earlier nutrition columns and had emailed me.  I clicked on the link to his blog,and was impressed by the quality and quantity of his content.  If you struggle with your weight and would like some top-notch cutting-edge info on the subject, click here to check out Dr. Sharma’s Website. This link is to the page for his patients, or for the general public – if you scroll down to the bottom you can click on some great articles.His blog is excellent, too, but it focuses more on research and seems to me to be written more for doctors.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Robert Kruse says:

    Regarding walking for weight loss and maintaining good physical health – in 2007, my wife and I were on a cruise. One of the entertainment acts included a 72 year old comedian who had unbelievable energy etc. I was able to ask him how he did it. He told me that he power walked 4 miles every day. It certainly worked for him

  2. John says:

    Walking is a pretty good form of exercise, but then again nothing goes past eating healthy. A wealth of low calorie diet recipes will also help you lose weight.

  3. Dr. Susan Biali says:

    I agree, John – if a person consistently eats more calories than they burn off, even if they’re walking regularly, they’ll still gain weight (albeit they’ll gain less weight than they would if they were sedentary). Healthy eating in combination with exercise is the world’s best “diet”. And it doesn’t need to be extreme, by any means. Living a way of life that is healthy AND enjoyable (meaning you enjoy your exercise, and also enjoy the healthy foods that you choose) is the best way to losing weight and keeping it off for the longterm.

  4. Shay says:

    I have been walking and line dancing a month and see a huge difference in my clothes. :grin Walking is certainly a great way to shed pounds but I also have to do another exercise in order for me not to get bored. So I line dance as well. Walking makes me feel better and though I have reduce my junk foods intake, I still have some a few times a week and have shed some pounds. #walker4life

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