Is Walking Really Enough for Fat Loss?

Is Walking Really Enough for Fat Loss?

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Many of the most recognized health associations in our country, such as the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association, recommend that individuals primarily increase their activity levels using walking as exercise. On the other hand, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) makes the following recommendations:

1) a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per day most days of the week, or

2) a minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity three days each week, plus

3) resistance, strength-building, and weight-bearing activities two days per week.

Who is right, and is it happening?

In terms of effectiveness, experience shows that the CDC is closest to the mark. The vast majority of exercisers who successfully lose body fat and improve their health consistently perform the recommendations provided by the CDC, at a minimum. In fact, in 2007 the American College of Sports Medicine stated that the general public would receive even greater health benefits by exceeding the recommended minimums.

So, is walking enough? Experience, the CDC, and the American College of Sports Medicine emphatically say no!

Walking is, by far, the best way to get started with an exercise program, but don''t be fooled into thinking that it is the ultimate solution which will allow you to achieve the fat loss goals you are seeking. When starting a program, walking is valuable for safely building strength in the ligaments and tendons that support our body. Once a duration of 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking has been achieved, however, it is time to kick it up a notch and increase the intensity.

Once that foundation has been laid, intervals with jogging and walking can be used by most as an excellent way to capture the CDC''s minimum 20 minutes of vigorous activity. A ratio of 1 minute fast jogging or running for every 2-3 minutes of walking is a great way to start the much more effective form of cardiovascular conditioning known as interval training.

The final question remains: is exercise even happening?

Around the country, the answer appears to be no. Obesity and obesity-related diseases and death rates are at an all-time high, even though the science and knowledge behind successful fat loss mechanisms are at their height. More research and real-world experience exist right now than ever before, and all of that information is widely available on the internet, often free of charge.

Yet, even the appropriate MINIMUM amount of exercise is not being accomplished, whether it is something as simple as walking or an activity that is much more vigorous and productive.

At the end of the day, it comes down to your choices regarding the use of the same 86,400 seconds we are all given, whether or not you are doing any activity at all, and whether you are doing a lot more than just walking.