Walking - A Key to Achieving your Fitness Goal

Man walking a dog

Whether you’re trying cut weight or simply maintain your current weight, walking can be the secret to success. Everyone knows getting in shape requires sticking to a disciplined exercise and diet plan. But sometimes even when you’re doing everything right, hitting the gym every day and cutting out excess calories, you still hit a wall with your progress. So how do you overcome this hurdle? Sure you can eat less and exercise more, but you can also supplement your day with a healthy dose of walking to achieve your goal.

With the growing popularity of pedometers of all types, we’re more conscious than ever of how much we move around in a given day. Many of us know pretty much down to the step. If you use a pedometer, you’ve probably realized some days the steps rack up without you even noticing. On an average weekday, I walk around 22,000 steps. Roughly 5000 of these steps come from my daily run. However, many weekend days, even when I get a run and a trip to the gym in, my steps are closer to 12,000.

So, what’s my point? What this tells me is, while my daily run certainly contributes to my daily caloric expenditure (and of course has other benefits), what is really helping me stay in shape is walking around throughout the day. The good news is that if you’re the type of person that hates cardio, there is hope. Don’t get me wrong, cardio should still be part of your overall routine if you’re trying to cut weight. But if you’re not meeting your goals, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to eat less or do more cardio.

By just making an effort throughout the day to walk more here and there, you can make a huge difference in your daily caloric expenditure. This can be parking a little farther away from work or the store, taking the stairs, and just taking a couple 5-10 minute breaks to go for a brisk walk. 5-10 minutes here and there can easily add up to several miles throughout the day. It’s a lot easier to add 3 or 4 miles walking throughout the day than to add 3 or 4 miles to your daily cardio.  

For many of us, the idea of just going for a walk to get in shape may seem a little ridiculous. We envision ourselves lifting or doing cardio to get in shape, not strolling through the neighborhood. But once you get over that image, going for a walk in the evening can be a great, and enjoyable, way to supplement your workout plan. It can be a great time to think, relax, or explore the neighborhood, and also something to do to help stave off evening food cravings. Most importantly, those few extra hundred calories you burn may make all the difference in hitting your goal.