Do you want to improve body composition, lose fat, and keep your hard-earned muscle? Then you better get walking.
I know many people reading this may be thinking, “Really? One of his first blog posts is about walking?”, but walking can be one of the most influential things you can add to your training program. Adding walking into your program can be beneficial for complete beginners or the most advanced trainees. Some people want to get in better shape and lose a little weight but have no idea where to start. Walking is the perfect activity to add to your program to start building good habits and start changing your body.
Walking is a low intensity exercise which means it burns fat and spares muscle tissue. Walking for only a few minutes at a time won’t help much, but programming 20-60 minutes of walking 3-5 times a week will help you with your body composition goals. Walking is more efficient than medium intensity cardio (running, jogging) when trying to burn fat and spare muscle. Medium intensity cardio will increase your cortisol (stress hormone) and burn up the glucose in your body. If you are on a diet (cutting calories) to lose fat, then that means that you may not have enough glucose in your body to support the medium intensity cardio and the cortisol response from running or jogging will convert amino acids (proteins) in your body into glucose for fuel. This means that the cortisol response could be eating at your muscle tissue instead of your body fat, which is the last thing you want when trying to get the “toned” or “lean” look you desire. On the other hand, low intensity walking balances out your cortisol response and will actually decrease stress, helping your body burn the right fuel needed to reach your body composition goals.
TIP: Beginners just starting a training program- Try to go for a walk a few times a week for 20 minutes. As you get more used to these walks, begin to increase either the duration of the walks or the frequency of the walks gradually. Eventually, hope to get 3-5 days a week up to 60 minutes a walk. Intermediate/Advances trainees- wake up in the morning before you eat breakfast and go for a 20-60 minute walk a few times a week. Otherwise, just get some walks in whenever you can and prioritize this type of cardio over jogging, running, cycling, etc.