I have deliberately chosen walking to be my ally in the fight against weight problems as it is part and parcel of our humanity, inscribed in our nature and our genes. Walking is one of the best ways of fighting against the artificiality of our way of life. By walking we do ourselves good, and as we gradually find pleasure in it, we end up needing to walk.
Once we learn how to walk, we walk as naturally as we breathe. Indeed, walking is so simple and automatic that it allows you to do almost anything else at the same time. When you are out walking, you can observe and enjoy your surroundings, think, plan your day, talk to your fellow walker, even make a phone call. Life does not come to a halt when you are out walking.
You can walk for hours without getting tired. The physical effort is spread widely over areas of bones and muscles. For a serious hike, you need proper walking shoes, but normal shoes, even shoes with a moderate heel, are fine for everyday walking to lose weight. Walking does not make you sweat to excess, and you can walk whenever there is an opportunity, wearing whatever you want. There is no need for any sports gear, showering, or change of clothes.
It is hard to imagine the muscular complexity of such a simple and spontaneous activity. What is more, the muscles most involved in walking are the body’s biggest load bearers -- that is, they burn up the most calories.
This may come as a surprise, but walking burns up as many calories as playing tennis and many other sports. Calorie burning is optimized because it is a constant and uninterrupted activity, whereas in a tennis match half your time is spent with breaks in play and waiting for the ball to return. And unlike tennis or other equipment-dependent sports, walking can be undertaken at a moment’s notice to fill in some spare time, anywhere, and at any hour of the day or night.
As the only activity that can be accepted as part of your core of new habits, and for all the reasons previously mentioned -- it is easy, natural, healthy, and free from danger of injury or cardiovascular risk -- walking is the activity that people will most easily agree to undertake regularly.