I have heard two different stories about walking. Some say its just an okay workout, but it takes an extreme unrealistic amount to burn fat and others say it has almost all of the same benefits of jogging if you walk quickly enough, pump your arms, ect.
Has walking instead of jogging helped you lose weight? WHat benefits does it have? Is it a true cardio workout?
My take on walking: it's more effective than sitting on your butt on the couch. If you are just starting out, it's a great way to get your body used to moving again, and a heck of a lot easier on the joints than running. It's also cheaper than the gym! The calorie burn is NOT fantastic, but again, get over the "all-or-nothing" thinking, IT'S STILL BETTER THAN THE COUCH.
A brisk 30 minute walk 5 days a week (and I mean brisk, not strolling) is thought to be good for your cardiovascular health in general.
Down the road, a brisk walk will probably be what you'll do on your "off" day from exercise, but ya gotta start somewhere.
The thing is I am never going to jog, I hate the idea, but i will go for a walk, and from that perspective it is something sustainable, enjoyable and i think it definately helps maintain and lose weight.
walking's no efficient calorie-burning technique in my experience. however, speedwalking is quite effective at burning calories, and is like jogging. it's even as hard as jogging, in my opinion. you'll be sweating the same.
i used to walk for exercise, and it does burn calories, so that's not a question for me (it just takes much longer to burn 500 calories than running would). and if you're traveling and therefore walking hours and hours a day to get from site to site, you really are getting a workout.
My sister and I were just talking about walking during our after-Thanksgiving Dinner walk. We agreed that we always enjoy walking, whereas we don't always enjoy running or class, etc. Anything that you can really enjoy doing, you will keep up with, and it is definitely worth doing.
As for weight loss/calorie burn, I walk for 45 minutes, I started out with a 15 minute mile, and now I am down to a 14 minute mile. I burn ~300 calories for my weight with this activity. It seems to be working for me - I have lost 18lbs. However, I think that I can really tell the difference in my butt and legs. I didn't take measurements before, but all my pants are baggy on my now. I also have read that the lower intensity exercise (my HR is probably closer to the 60% of MHR than 80%) is a better fat burning rate. YMMV, but I find walking very effective and pleasurable.
If you burn 500 calories in the "fat-burning zone" doing low-impact aerobics and 2500 calories doing high-intensity interval training - which one do you think will have more of an impact on your weight loss? Sure, the low-impact will burn a greater percentage of fat - but 90% of 500 is 450 and 50% of 2500 is 1250.
That said - walking is how I started, and while it becomes neccessary to supplement your workout regime after a while with more vigorous forms of exercise that can be accomplished very easily. Put on a heavy backpack and find your nearest mountain. Walk up that. Repeat as desired.
Your body will adapt to d*mn near anything within 3-6 months, so you'll expend less calories for a given activity. Which means finding a way to make the activity harder on yourself or do something completely different for a while to keep the gains coming. But not being a long-term solution doesn't mean it's not a good place to start, eh?
I lost 55 lbs and went down 5 pant sizes by eating right and walking every day. I started walking around the block and it about killed me - but after the lbs melted away I could walk for hours and not get tired of it. I live in a hilly area so after walking steadily I had to start jogging a bit to get my heart rate going or walk really fast and find steeper hills.
I had to quit walking because of shinsplints and plantar fascitis and since switching to elliptical weights and a cardio class my weight loss hasn't been nearly as drastic. If all you can do is walk then do it - it is the best exercise for beginners - just invest in good shoes and hit the trails.
The secret, as someone else has already said, is that you can't simply "stroll" or even walk normally as you would when you just want to get from Point A to Point B. You have to push yourself to walk as fast as you possibly can for as long as you can (or have time for.) The best way I've seen to tell if you're doing it right: If you are able to comfortably speak in full sentences while walking, then you're not working hard enough.
As another person also mentioned, eventually your body will get used to the walking workout and you'll need to supplement with other activities or add some resistance to your walk by using hand weights, wearing a weighted vest, or wearing a backpack with a book or two in it to add weight.
Walking helped me melt off the pounds when I wasn't fit enough to do anything else, and it also helped me to *get* fit enough to do other things. Now, I can hop on a bike and ride fifteen miles, or go for a 3-mile run. I recommend walking to anyone - when done right, it's good, safe exercise, and the best thing is you can do it anywhere.