The Most Underestimated Exercise For Weight Loss
We don’t know about you, but just the thought of running every day, or just burpees, makes me tired.
I've got some good news, to lose weight you don’t have to be pushing yourself at the gym every day. If you are a gym bunny then, you do you boo! But for the rest of us that want to do something that is quick, easy, convenient and isn’t a high risk of injury, I have just the solution for you… drumroll please…
Yes, that's right, walking!
Walking improves fitness, cardiac health, bone density, boosts mood, creates less stress on joints, reduces the risk for cancer and other chronic diseases, improves endurance, circulation, posture, and helps you live longer!
A study by Chudasama, Y.V et al (2019) found that moderate exercise (or ten minutes of brisk walking a day) was associated with a three year increase in life expectancy, while 22 minutes of brisk walking could increase life expectancy by as much as five years!
Not only does it improve all of the above, it’s also incredibly effective for weight loss.
When it comes to weight loss, calories in vs calories out is key. When in a calorie deficit, if you couple that with regular walking, you will be in a larger calorie deficit, which means more weight loss!
Now, I don’t mean leisure walking, I mean intentional brisk walking. I just ask you to walk fast enough to raise your heart rate, make yourself sweat a little, and be slightly breathless.
I recommend doing as much as you can, given your circumstances. If that’s 3 x 30 minutes walks a week, 1 x 2 hours walks a week, do whatever fits your lifestyle! The more the better, but don’t stress yourself just do what is realistic for you to stick to.
Another thing we need to mention is N.E.A.T.
N.E.A.T stands for Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, this includes the calories burned outside of planned exercise, eating and sleeping. This includes tasks such as walking around the house, climbing stairs, fidgeting, standing, cleaning the house etc. All these daily activities help us burn additional calories throughout the day which in turn can help with your weight loss goals.
N.E.A.T is a larger contributor to total daily energy expenditure (total calories burned) than calories burned through exercise. People who move more throughout the day are more likely to reach or maintain weight-loss goals versus those who are sedentary throughout the day but vigorously move via one exercise session. In other words, you may go to the gym but if your N.E.A.T level is low you can actually still be classified as sedentary.
N.E.A.T is an often neglected form of burning calories. High levels of N.E.A.T could help promote weight loss and could also serve as an important tool for weight maintenance! So get up and get moving!
Here are some tips to increase your N.E.A.T!
- Consider walking more instead of using public transport
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Don’t insist on parking in the closest possible space to store entrance
- Standing up and moving around at regular intervals if you work at a desk etc.
- Have a daily step target
- Play active games with your kids
- After washing the dishes put one dish away at a time
- When folding the clothes put one piece away at a time
- Walk around the house between ad breaks or play an active game such as charades
- Go for a post dinner family walk around the block
- Make an effort to walk to the tap to get a glass of water throughout your day
- Set an alarm to get up and walk around every 30 minutes while at work
- Move your bin away from your desk so you need to move away from your desk regularly
- Waiting for something to cook in the microwave? Do squats and lunges while you wait!
We hope that helps, comment below with any of your N.E.A.T tips.
Chudasama, Y.V., Khunti, K.K., Zaccardi, F. et al. Physical activity, multimorbidity, and life expectancy: a UK Biobank longitudinal study. BMC Med 17, 108 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-019-1339-0