Doctors and dieticians across the globe advise individuals aiming to lose weight to integrate at least 20 to 30 minutes of walking every day. But before building a daily walking regime, one must be aware of the direct and indirect walking-related mistakes most commonly made by individuals. Not only will it help one correct their pre-existing flaws, but it will also help prevent the possible mistakes they might make down the line.
The most common walking mistakes usually occur due to improper postures, such as slouching, leaning forwards or backwards for more than 5 degrees, and deliberate arching of the pelvis and back. These often lead to fat stored in the lower abdominal region, making it much harder to burn off while walking.
Adding to this, improper sleeping habits, unhealthy diets and extreme anxiety often fiddle with one’s hormones and adrenaline levels which often inhibit efficient weight and fat loss.
These mistakes appear grave, however, correcting and preventing them is unbelievably simple. One must maintain a proper walking posture and be aware of mind and body coordination while walking.
Additionally, it is essential to be mindful of which muscles to engage in gaining the maximum weight loss results healthily. It is advisable for individuals who suffer from obesity to consult a doctor or dietician before trying out an intense walking routine or making sudden changes to their diets.
Common Walking Mistakes That Hamper Weight Loss
Before we look into ways to prevent and correct the commonly occurring walking mistakes we make that hinder our weight loss, it is vital to be aware of what causes them in the first place.
While most of these walking mistakes often result from mindless walking where individuals are often unaware of their posture and bodily clues, other external reasons are also responsible.
Some examples are uncomfortable clothing and footwear, unhealthy eating habits and an unhealthy sleeping and eating schedule often impede one’s walking efficiency and the results obtained from it.
Too much of anything is wrong; similarly, too much walking can be counterproductive instead of assisting good health and weight loss. When one overstrains themselves, it leads to muscle injuries such as cramps and muscle pulls, followed by joint problems.
Therefore, one must maintain moderation according to fitness levels and activity thresholds to prevent unnecessary straining. When one strains themselves, it sometimes leads to weight gain instead of weight loss as the body starts storing the excess calories in the form of fat instead of burning them up. It is to ensure the proper functioning of all the organs within our bodies.
Bad posture is another one of the most common walking mistakes individuals make while walking. Research shows that leaning forward excessively (anything more than 5 degrees) or arching your back backwards the whole time leads to many spinal cord-related issues later on.
In addition, constant arching or straining of the back leads to a fat cushion forming in one’s lower abdomen, which leads to a belly pooch even though you might be following an intense walking regime.
Unnecessarily Long Strides
In an attempt to increase their walking speeds, individuals often acquire the habit of taking unnecessarily long strides, which is also called overstriding.
Overstriding is bad for one’s walking posture and ankles and knee joints. It is important to note that when one overstrides, their core and thigh muscles are not activated properly, preventing the body from burning the fat in the targeted areas; it just makes you sweat.
Not only does it make one lean forward abruptly to maintain their balance during overstriding, but it also increases the risks of shin, ankle and knee injuries, as shown by studies. Injuries not only will put off your ongoing walking routine but will also reduce your efficiency and speed.
Using faulty footwear is probably the primary cause of most walking-related issues, especially in individuals who suffer from obesity. Not all the fancy footwear sold in the stores are suitable for walking.
The walking shoes one chooses should ensure that the body weight gets spread evenly across the feet, which reduces the chances of injuries and increases agility. It is essential to realise that gymming and running footwear differ considerably from the sports footwear needed for firm and brisk walking.
Additionally, wearing shoes either too big or too small also leads to muscle injuries due to undue strain. Therefore, one must change their footwear after every year or two to ensure maximum safety from any muscle injuries.
Research shows that lack of proper hydration leads to a drop in the electrolyte and blood sugar levels inside our bodies which often leads to drowsiness, fatigue and lightheadedness during a prolonged workout.
It reduces one’s stamina and hinders proper muscle functioning, leading to an ineffective workout. Lower blood sugar levels will only make the body store up the calories so it can continue functioning properly.
Improper Arm Movement
Weight loss does not only mean one needs to tone down and strengthen their core. One must also ensure proper strengthening and toning down of the arm muscles.
Free and appropriate arm movement during walking is vital to maintain balance and equilibrium with other body parts. Arm movements also help one in determining their gait and speed of motion.
If one moves their arms either too fast or too slow, it will naturally lead to the rest of our bodies trying to cope with either extreme, which leads to postural problems during walking such as slouching, bending, or leaning too far back.
Walking Mistakes for Weight Loss: Preventing and Correcting Them
It is unbelievably simple to prevent and correct most walking mistakes for weight loss.
All one needs is to be more mindful during walking and make fundamental changes in their daily walking routines and diet. One must be fully aware and in sync with all the cues and signals given by the body during their regular walking regime.
Mistake 1: Over-Straining
Like any other exercise, it is easy to overdo walking and strain one’s muscles in the intense exercise regime. Overstraining occurs when your body does not get enough time to heal and rebuild the muscles and bones, which leads to them wearing out quicker. Hence it is imperative to let our bodies rest for a sufficient amount of time and not try to push them too far beyond their limits.
Therefore, one must practice moderation and consistency in walking instead of overdoing it to achieve quick results. In this way, the body stores the good fat and uses it to burn out the unwanted fat much more efficiently than when it is overworked.
You can correct bad posture by practising walking in front of a full-length mirror for a few minutes every day. One must stand straight but with their shoulders relaxed.
The chin should be up and parallel to the ground, in a confident stance with proper engagement of the core muscles, where most fat accumulates. The back and the spinal cord should have a natural curve without external bending or arching.
Individuals with an anterior pelvic tilt can consult their general physicians to practice certain yoga and stretching poses which help correct unnatural back arching or slouching.
Not only will this help strengthen one’s core and lower tummy muscles, but it also burns a considerable amount of body fats, assisting weight loss.
Mistake 3: Unnecessarily Long Strides
While walking, it is vital to have one’s weight distributed evenly on both feet. Using the back leg to help propel our body forward is the best way to conserve energy and minimise injuries.
Getting a firm push with each step helps the body move forward in a more streamlined manner. If one wants to increase their walking speed, the focus must be on taking shorter but quicker steps rather than forcing one’s legs to go farther than their stepping span.
It helps engage one’s thigh and calf muscles more and leads to a loss in thigh fat and any help in toning them down leading to weight loss.
Mistake 4: Faulty Footwear
Different footwear brands might have different sizing charts. It is thus necessary to get your foot size measured at each store. There are shoes dedicated specifically for walking to provide maximum comfort and support.
So one must buy shoes of the correct size and fit, have enough cushion, and enable the natural flow of motion by evenly distributing the body’s weight.
In addition, the shoes must be lightweight, cushioned well, flexible, and changed yearly to ensure maximum feet safety. While footwear does not directly link to weight loss, it helps distribute one’s weight evenly across the feet while walking, making us more mobile.
Mistake 5: Dehydration
The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink water throughout the day at regular intervals. It is better to avoid caffeinated drinks before the walk as they often make dehydration worse. One might instead go for a basic salt sugar water-electrolyte drink at least two hours before going for their daily walk.
Research shows that this not only helps flush out toxins inside the body before the workout, which assists in weight loss but also ensures a stable glucose and electrolyte level in one’s body throughout the duration of the walk. In addition, it is crucial to carry a water bottle during the walk to make it easier to rehydrate when required.
Mistake 6: Improper Arm Movement
You can correct arm movements like body posture by practising in front of the mirror for a few minutes daily. Your arms must be parallel and move back and forth in a relaxed but structured manner. They should not converge or sway outwards as it leads to improper balance. Proper arm movement also helps regulate one’s walking speed properly and maintain synchronisation among mind and body while walking, which helps in reducing arm fat and toning down the arms.
Mistake 7: Unhealthy Eating Habits
One must make conscious and well-informed decisions on the type and quantity of food they consume to correct unhealthy eating habits. It is essential to avoid junk food, fast food, foods rich in artificial synthetics and preservatives, and sugary foods and drinks. Walking in itself will not help us lose weight. Thus, eating wholesome and healthy meals throughout the day will help nourish our bodies.
Consuming whole grains and pulses, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats such as tofu, olives, dates, mangoes, and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids support overall development of one’s body. It not only helps the muscles and bones to grow and heal quickly but also increases one’s stamina and energy.
The HealthifyMe Note:
A few common walking mistakes include improper arm movements, eating unhealthy foods, dehydration, faulty footwear, unnecessary long strides, bad posture, and over-straining. Correcting these mistakes will aid in weight loss.
Walking mistakes individuals make while aiming for weight loss are more common than one can imagine. Unfortunately, most individuals do not even realise some of the walking mistakes they make.
Most of these mistakes are due to improper postures, such as excessive slouching and leaning forward or excessive back arching. A few more gait and posture-related issues are improper arm movements and unnecessarily large steps.
There are some external factors such as not wearing shoes which fit well or shoes which are not suitable for walking, being dehydrated and parched, improper sleep schedules, and unhealthy eating habits. However, it is unbelievably easy to fix these common walking mistakes.
All one needs to do is be aware of their postures which you can do by using full-length mirrors for practice. Being more mindful of one’s gait and staying well hydrated and well-nourished ensure proper walking techniques and prevent fatigue and muscle and joint injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Why is walking not helping me lose weight?
A. Some reasons which prevent one from losing weight even after walking regularly might be lack of sleep, improper diet, not sipping on enough water, and overexerting oneself. All these reasons cause one’s metabolic rate to slow down and prevent calories from being burnt, leading to no apparent weight loss.
Q.What are the wrong ways of walking?
A. Some of the wrong ways of walking are overstriding, meaning that your strides are longer than your comfort limit, causing your posture to bend. Swinging your arms excessively and improper postures such as hunching or leaning too much are wrong.
Q. Can walking too much cause weight loss?
A. Studies show that just like any exercise, walking too much will lead you to gain weight instead of losing it because over-exercising messes up your hormones and adrenaline levels. In addition, the excess fatigue prevents your body from healing and growing properly and leads to the excess calories being stored inside for survival and natural bodily function.
Q. How soon will I see results from walking?
A. Within just a week of walking, one will feel visibly fitter and more agile as compared to their earlier state and will also find their endurance slowly building. However, for visible signs of fat loss and muscle definition, one might have to wait for at least 7 to 8 weeks.
Q. Does walking reduce the tummy?
A. According to various studies, it is recommended that one must integrate at least 20 to 30 minutes of walking per day to enable the body to properly work up all the muscles and joints and burn up the excess calories stored. It leads to a reduction in tummy fat. However, just walking is not sufficient; one must also keep track of their diet and calorie intake.
Q. Can I correct the way I walk?
A. It is pretty simple to correct how an individual walks even if they have potentially harmful walking postures. First, one can start by being aware of their gait by looking down while walking. Next is to walk in front of a full-length mirror which enables one to study their posture and fix them accordingly. And finally, one must take note of overstriding, which is often one of the leading causes of incorrect walking styles.
Q. Can you overdo walking?
A. It is possible to overdo walking just as with any other exercise. One must remember that every individual has a different tolerance to the number of steps they can walk per day without overstraining themselves. Excessive walking can increase the risk of joint injuries and muscle pulls and tears.
A. There is no specific ideal time to walk to aid weight loss. However, one must remember that early mornings are when the body is usually the most well-rested and alert, leading to a more mindful exercise that aids weight loss. Also, later during the day, fatigue slowly starts to set in, making it more difficult to put our minds entirely toward walking.
Q. Can walking reduce thigh fat?
A. Walking is one of the best ways to reduce thigh fat. It stretches out and works up all the muscles in the thigh and calf regions which in turn strengthen those muscles and help burn up all the excess fat in the thighs. One must integrate at least 20 to 30 minutes of walking every day.
Q. Why did I gain weight when I started walking?
A. Improper lifestyle habits can lead you to gain weight even after you start walking. For example, unhealthy sleeping habits, improper diet, intake of too many calories and excessive stress and anxiety problems often are the main reasons why individuals keep gaining weight even after they start walking.