Health Topic: Walking for Weight Loss

Friends walking for weight loss

By: Laura Wenger, PT, DPT, OCS

Walking is one of the easiest and most accessible fitness activities that you can do. For people who have joint pain, general weakness, or other issues, walking is also oftentimes one of the more tolerable fitness activities. Well, there is good news for all you walkers out there! A recent research group out of Ohio State University has found that simply varying your walking speed is a surefire way to make sure you are getting an increased calorie burn.1 More specifically, the researchers found that “changing your pace could burn up to 20 percent more calories than maintaining a steady stride.”1 This easy adjustment to your walking program is especially important if walking is your main form of activity and, even more so if you are using it to help with weight loss or maintenance.

The main idea behind the results of this study is that you are affecting your energy systems to burn more calories when you are stopping and starting, or varying your speed, as we more naturally tend to do on a daily basis when going about our daily activities.1 It is assumed that your legs and body have to work harder when having to adapt to various speeds.1 So, if you are looking for a way to get more out of your walking program, see if you can think about varying the speed and movements that you use during your recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day in order to increase the amount of calories burned.1

To learn more about this, please call us to schedule an initial evaluation with one of our specialized physical therapists. Also, if you are unsure if physical therapy would be beneficial to you, please call us to schedule a free 15-minute injury screening to learn more about your condition and what you would benefit from.

1. Dallas M. For a Better Calorie Burn, Adjust Your Speed While Walking. Medline Plus. 13 Oct 2015. Available at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_155127.html. Accessed 24 Oct 2015.