Is Walking The New Weight Loss Craze?

I like it.

Photo by Henry Xu on Unsplash

I’m not even talking about the trending treadmill workout on TikTok (stemming from Lauren Giraldo’s workout routine on YouTube) that is being referred to as 12 3 30 — where you set the treadmill to an incline of 12, speed at 3, and simply walk at that incline and pace for 30 minutes. As a quick and not too difficult way to burn a decent amount of calories, it is great for weight loss.

While that’s great if you have access to a treadmill, the title of this post is referring to good old fashion walking. I’ve recently seen an abundance of fitness influencers claiming that walking is the best form of cardio for people who hate to run. BUT, never mind influencers who spend hours in the gym, ‘regular people’ recommend it for weight loss as well. At the start of quarantine last spring, many Americans began simply going for daily walks. What probably started out of boredom for most, quickly became a weight loss insight for people to share on social media (mainly TikTok and Twitter).

Cambrie Schroder, a model and owner of a fitness brand called Fit With Cambrie, has been preaching walking for lean legs for years now — advice that I never really followed because I was looking at it as a benefit for only legs, not the entire body. Now, however, I’ve seen dozens of girls on TikTok claiming all they did to lose 10, 20, 30, 40+ pounds is walking. One girl even deemed it the #hotgirlwalk where she swears by walking 4 miles a day for fitness, as well as mental health.

I thought to myself, why hadn’t people thought of this before? When it hit me that people did — even if they didn’t realize it. American fitness culture has lately been intently focused on going to the gym and lifting heavy or HIIT workouts, making it is easy to forget that even a few years ago the gym didn’t have the hype it does now. At least not among women and social media the same way it does now. I recently saw an article about Japanese fitness culture by Kaki Okumura, where people rarely go to the gym and the majority of people “work out” once a month, if at all. The way they stay so fit, and the country maintains one of the lowest obesity rates among developed countries, is simply by walking — even if they don’t realize how much they move on a day-to-day basis. This caused me to think of my American mother, who I’ve seen, in my entire 20 years of life, visit a gym maybe a total of 50 times. As a petite, fit woman who maintains a healthy weight, I always wondered how she stayed the size she does. She doesn’t eat extremely healthy nor does she starve herself, although she does claim she eats junk food and sweets “in moderation”. The answer to how she stays fit is walking. As a lawyer, she is constantly on her feet going from court room to court room (pre-Covid when the courts were open at least), and I’ve recently noticed that even when she is on the phone she tends to aimlessly walk around and will stop when needed to write something down.

People with smart watches, like Fitbits or Apple Watches, know that the standard steps goal is 10,000 a day — which is no small feat. For the average person, this adds up to around five miles a day. Whether you grab your headphones and set out to reach a few miles walking around your block or you are able to stay moving on your feet throughout your day, simply taking more steps is a great way to increase your fitness without ever stepping in a gym. For some people, this might look like parking in the farthest spot in the parking lot from the grocery store, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking around while on the phone, or cleaning your living space a little more often — pretty much any way you can incorporate more steps into your everyday lives.

It almost seems as if Americans (myself included) forgot that they have the ability to simply move their bodies outside of doing an intense workout — which not only can help their fitness goals but can benefit their overall health as well.

Moral of the story, get your body moving more often when you can! Your overall health will thank you.

- A college athlete with a book obsession