Walking is one of the most effective, sustainable, and easy-to-start workouts you can choose. All you need is a pair of comfy shoes to start burning calories and reaping some mental benefits, too. John Morton, MD, weight-loss expert and chief of bariatric surgery at Stanford University, told POPSUGAR that you actually “meditate a little bit when you walk.”
So, our next question: What about walking in place? If you can’t get away from the desk, or it’s too cold to go outside and you’re short on space at home, is doing some in-place walking or marching going to help you burn calories, too?
Well, to some extent. “I like regular walking more, because you incorporate more body parts,” Dr. Morton said. That means it’s a better method for losing weight; more movement equals more calories burned. It’s also preferable “because you get more of a true gait, which includes pendulum swings from your arms. Walking in place is a little artificial, and can be repetitive on the joints.”
You also won’t get quite the same mental break and benefits that “regular” walking will give you: seeing those “horizons and vistas,” Dr. Morton said, “gives you a break from the stresses of everyday life.”
Still, Dr. Morton stressed that walking in place is better than nothing. It might be a good place to start if you’re just getting into your fitness journey; you can do it from anywhere, at your desk at work or in your bedroom at home. You can even try the popular Walk at Home workouts on YouTube and DVD, and check out Adrienne Walter’s 90-pound weight loss success story for proof that they really do work. Once you work up your confidence and fitness level, you can progress to short walks around your neighborhood, or on the treadmill.
All in all, the best way to reach your weight loss goals is to start from where you are and take a consistent, sustainable approach, Dr. Morton said. “Just find something that works for you.”