Will Walking Help Lose Weight?

Walking is regarded as one of the best ways to lose weight, but many people are skeptical about this claim. After all, how can you tell if walking is actually helping you shed those extra pounds?

Is Walkscore, an app that measures how physically active you are throughout the week by analyzing your daily walks, a valid tool for gauging the weight loss benefits of a walk?

We compared the weight loss results of several hundred people who were either walking regularly or sufficiently active throughout the week as measured by Walkscore, with a control group who were not active at all. We then followed up with all participants to see how they were doing six months later.

How Does Walkscore Work?

The Walkscore team created a smartphone app that utilizes GPS and your phone’s compass to track your daily steps and estimate your physical activity throughout the week. When you initially download the app, you are prompted to input your height and weight, which are then used to calculate your body mass index (BMI).

A BMI above 25 is considered overweight, and a BMI above 30 is considered obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), being overweight increases your risk of some diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Being obese even further increases your risk of these diseases. For example, obese people have a 68% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to people with a normal weight.

The app then generates a personalized weekly step plan that consists of seven days of goals and activities, as well as a map of where you have walked and how far. Each day’s plan includes a curated list of walks that you can select from, as well as other activities you can do, such as yoga or cycling.

You can also connect with friends and other members of the community who are walking with you through the app, resulting in a virtual walking group.

What Did We Learn From This Study?

Overall, we were able to confirm the weight loss benefits of regular walking. The average individual who was active throughout the week as measured by Walkscore lost 4.8 pounds, while the average inactive individual gained 4.3 pounds. This difference is statistically significant.

Additionally, in terms of the app’s efficacy as a weight loss tool, we found that people who were using it as intended were more likely to see positive results compared to individuals who were using it for fun or as a replacement for exercise. If you’re looking for an app that can help you lose weight and become more active, consider giving Walkscore a try.

What If I Don’t own a Smartphone? Can I Still Use This App?

Yes, you can still use the Walkscore app, but you will need to do some research in terms of what kind of phone you need to use for the GPS to work. We found that the GPS on the app worked best with newer iPhones that have a compass inside. This is because older iPhones sometimes have a difficult time keeping track of their location when the phone is inside a bus, truck, or other similar vehicles. We also found that if you use an older iPhone without a compass, the step counting sometimes didn’t work properly. This resulted in a lot of missed steps on our end, so it’s definitely better to have a compass.

Where Do I Go From Here?

The results of this study suggest that regular walking may help to shed those extra pounds, at least for a while. However, it’s not wise to think that this will be a quick and easy way to lose weight if you want to keep it off for good. Studies have shown that it can take months, if not years, of regular exercise to reverse the effects of obesity.

If you’re looking to make a lifestyle change and would like to incorporate more walks into your routine, consider setting a specific goal for how much you want to lose and then sticking to it. Setting a goal also helps you to stay motivated, and we all know that motivation is one of the most important elements of a successful weight loss regimen.

When you have a better understanding of how much weight you should lose and how much exercise you should be doing to achieve that goal, it’s easier to reach and maintain. Don’t expect this to be easy, because it’s not something that anyone was built for. It takes work and patience, and that’s what you should be shooting for.