How Paced Walking Helps With Weight Loss

Any form of exercise boosts our physical health -- and can help with weight loss, to help prevent sleep apnea. 

Walking burns calories and helps you achieve your weight-loss goals without relying on a gym. When you up the walking pace, you can increase the health benefits, and this is where “paced walking” comes into its own.

What Is Paced Walking?

In the past decade, we have measured the benefits from walking by the number of steps taken -- aiming for 5,000, even 10,000 steps in a day’s time. 

By increasing the intensity or pace of your walk, even marginally, you can increase the health benefits of your walk.

This notion of “paced walking” has been adopted by Google Fit. You can use their app to listen to an audio beat while walking. The concept involves adapting your stride pattern to the beat for a faster paced walk -- compared to your natural walking pace -- providing higher intensity exercise.

Paced Walking In Everyday Life

Paced walking can also involve walking in place -- walking on the spot around the house or perhaps in the office.

You can walk in place while watching your favorite TV program or while you digest the day's TV news show -- maybe an hour, maybe more. Waiting for the coffee or folding the laundry -- these are also opportunities for paced walking. You’re burning additional calories by walking in place, and over time, the benefits add up.

You can up the pace to gain extra benefits of paced walking from the comfort of your own home or office.

How Best to Walk in Place

To ensure good support and reduce the chance of slipping, you should wear shoes when walking in place. The practice is really as simple as it sounds, and therein lies the attraction.

Once you have your shoes on, just start to walk at your natural pace. Try it in front of the TV. You will just be raising your knees without moving, but the calorie-burning benefits will be the same.

As you feel your fitness improve, you may increase the pace and intensity. A heart rate monitor can be useful to check you are within your target heart rate zone -- something you could consult on with your health care practitioner. 

Some people will find that setting a target of steps also helps, although you should set a realistic target at first and look to build up from this as your fitness allows.

Just as runners use interval training to improve fitness -- and break up the potential monotony of a single pace -- you can also alternate your walking pace. Simply increase your pace for one or two minutes, then return to a natural walking pace.

Staying Motivated

We have all been there. The best of intentions in getting fit, healthier or targeting weight loss. However, motivation can sometimes soon disappear. 

Walking in place is a good starter in maintaining motivation -- as you don’t need optimal weather or special exercise equipment. You just turn on your favorite TV program, then track your paced walking on a fitness app. 

Google’s addition of paced walking to their Google Fit app is a good motivational tool. There are plenty of health apps you can use to track progress and steps, aiding motivation to stay on course to hit any targets you have set.

To prevent monotony, you can introduce the occasional full body work-out to your walking. Adding in sets of push-ups, crunches and other exercises can help keep your routine interesting -- and give a boost to your all-round body strength.

The Benefits of Walking in Place

Walking in place is a no-cost exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime. It is not weather- or location-dependent, so you can benefit from exercise anytime you wish. 

People at all fitness levels can do this, building up the duration and pace of your walks as your fitness improves. Combining your walking with a healthy diet will help your weight loss and any other fitness goals.

By increasing the intensity of your walk, you will burn more calories. One study showed that just 30 minutes of walking can burn off 129 calories. This study suggests that paced walking during 30 minutes of an average one-hour TV show to walk can burn 148 calories.

Therefore, walking can be a good form of exercise for weight loss. Excess weight is linked to health complications including sleep disorders like sleep apnea, the most common form of which is obstructive sleep apnea. 

Final Thoughts

All forms of exercise improve your physical and mental health. However, not everyone has the means to work-out in gyms or go for a jog. 

Walking in place is an ideal solution, allowing you to exercise from the comfort of your own home. With paced walking you could achieve weight loss while watching your favorite TV shows -- and improve your sleep apnea, too!