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Walking for weight loss | Health Smart

Walking is great for overall health and experts say it could even cause you to lose weight, depending on your baseline.

YORK, Pa. — Walking can be great for your overall health and it's pretty easy these days to track how many steps you take in a day.

But can just walking help you lose weight, and if so, how many steps does it actually take?  

"In my honest opinion, everybody should be walking daily, multiple times a day," bariatric surgeon Dr. Jason Marone of Wellspan Health said. 

Devices to track our steps are everywhere, but can losing weight really be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other? The answer, we found, is yes and no.

Dr. Marone says while you could lose weight just by walking, it all depends on your base level. If you spend most of your time on the couch, it can make a big difference, if you're a triathlete? Probably not. 

"For every awake hour, we should be walking around ten minutes or moving around ten minutes," Dr. Marone said. 

On top of that, he says you should also be getting 20 to 30 minutes of exercise every day that increases and sustains your heart rate.

"It's a lifestyle change and the perception of what diet and exercise means," he said. "You have to do both, and you have to do them well." 

Walking for weight loss did work, however, for 48-year-old Ben Strunk of Manheim Township, Lancaster County. He said high blood pressure and a family history of heart problems made him realize he needed to get healthy. So on Jan. 7 of this year, he decided to bite the bullet and try walking.

He started walking three miles a day and sure enough, the weight started to come off. He lost 15 pounds in just the first 30 days, just by walking. His success propelled him even further, losing more than 50 pounds so far this year and putting some serious mileage in.  

"So right now, it's around 1,029 miles, in just under 300 days," Strunk said.

While walking for weight loss won't work for everyone, it could work for you. Just remember to take it slow, according to Dr. Marone. 

"Rome wasn't built in a day, and you don't have to lose weight in a day either," he said. "Stay moving and be realistic." 

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