Most people don’t need vast amounts of exercise to lose body fat. Leave that for the athletes and for those who enjoy it.
What most people of most ages and conditions can do, is walking. Walking, especially with good posture is a very underrated tool for those looking to lose a few pounds, without compromising their lean mass (so, not burning muscle or non-fatty lean tissue).
This is ideally what you want to achieve when you are losing weight, because the more muscle mass you have, the more calories are burned during your resting heart rate by your metabolism.
Here is the ideal scenario:
You wake up, get dressed into something comfortable, and go for a brisk outdoor walk, for anything from 30-60 minutes. Your eyes see the sun, which benefits your circadian rhythm (your body clock), which can help regulate your metabolism, moods and sleep patterns.
You are also engaging in a non-stressful, low risk form of fasted cardio. I call it non-stressful and low risk, because for a majority of women who still menstruate, fasted cardio can compromise hormonal balance (I mean…we already get enough upheaval in this department, thanks). It isn’t just women by the way, it extends to anyone who is under significant stress, either physiologically or psychologically (HPA dysfunction). For these populations, fasted walking in the morning, shortly followed by your usual breakfast should be absolutely safe.
So, what’s happening when you’re engaging in this fasted AM brisk walk?
You are burning through stored energy, glycogen. If you are burning through glycogen, then your body has less unused material to convert to body fat.
If you eat a clean, balanced diet, hit around 10k steps a day, and consistently go for AM fasted walks, watch what happens to the shape of your body as well. You can thank walking’s cortisol lowering effect for this, as well as the normal process of getting your blood circulation and lymphatic system moving, which helps get rid of inflammation and toxins (less bloating).
I mentioned 10k steps. Your morning walk will take up somewhere between 3500-5000 steps.
So here’s where you can utilise the rest of your step quota for further fat loss; very shortly after a meal. It doesn’t need to be your fastest walking pace, and it can be for 15-20 minutes. This helps lower your blood insulin level, which has gone up right after feeding yourself. High insulin levels signal for fat storage. You see, insulin sends signals to the muscles to store incoming glucose, as well as the conversion to fat. You don’t want that. So walking can help offset this signal.
Obviously, if walking outdoors is not available to you, hit up a treadmill, you’ll get a lot of the main benefits.
Remember to maintain good posture and breathing while you’re walking, and STRETCH. While this isn’t a rigorous exercise session, you are still using your muscles, which are probably tight from sitting down all day. Stretching reduces occurrence of injuries and tightness, and just makes you feel extra sexy and limber. The perfect way to compliment your new walking physique!
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