There are several connections between walking and weight loss. In order to lose weight, more calories need to be burned than are taken in by eating. When combined with a reduced-calorie diet, walking as exercise can help people lose more weight than diet alone. There is some evidence that even without dietary changes, walking can help people lose small amounts of weight very gradually. Walking and weight loss also are connected after the weight has been lost, because it is a way to keep the weight off.
Walking is a very popular form of exercise among adults, for a variety of reasons. Walking does not require any special equipment, just a good pair of sneakers. Walking is an ideal exercise for people who are just starting to exercise after a long period of a sedentary lifestyle, which is a common situation when people want to lose weight. It is an exercise that is easy to start at a slow pace and then gradually work up to a more intense pace. This helps reduce the risk of injury and lowers the chance of someone who is new to exercise giving up because it's too hard.
The most effective weight-loss programs combine a reduced-calorie diet with increased physical activity. Walking and weight loss go together perfectly in this instance, because it's such an easy exercise to start doing. The ease of walking can be particularly helpful, allowing the dieter to focus more of his or her willpower on making better food choices and reducing the amount of calories taken in through the consumption of food. As fitness increases, either the walking speed can be increased or the distance walked can be increased to provide a more intense workout and burn more calories. This in turn will allow for increased weight loss.
Walking and weight loss are connected even when no dietary changes are made. Assuming that diet and other lifestyle factors remain the same, just adding a daily walk can result in very gradual weight loss. To burn off one pound (0.45 kg) of fat, a person needs to burn 3,500 calories more than they consume. A 15- to 30-minute walk at a pace of about 4 miles (6.4 km) per hour will burn about 100 to 200 calories, adding up to about 700 to 1,400 calories burned per week. That means that it could take as long as five weeks just to lose one pound (0.45 kg), but over the course of a year, that can add up to a weight loss of at least 10 pounds (4.53 kg) just by walking.
Finally, walking and weight loss have a strong connection in the area of maintaining weight loss. After weight has been lost and the goal weight has been reached, many dieters increase their calories taken in by eating more again. Regular exercise by walking can help maintain weight loss by helping to burn off the increased calories that are consumed.