Physical activityWalking

Healthy weight includes several aspects of lifestyle modifications such as eating healthy, being active with required physical activity, coping with stress, etc. (Losing Weight | Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity | CDC).

For a normal healthy person, the basic principle of weight management is the balance between energy intake and expenditure. There are different options to reduce energy intake as well as increase energy expenditure. Thus, you can manipulate your food intake and activities for the short or long term.

The physical activity levels (PALs) of an individual may vary. So, one needs to know his or her PALs. This would help him or her to determine daily energy requirements and expenditures. In addition, physical activity helps us burn the energy consumed or deposited energy in our body expressed or marked as overweight and obese.

Walking is one of the simple forms of physical activity. Let’s take the first motivation today as “Walk more, eat more! Enjoy your physical activity and food daily.” Here walking is taken as a symbolic or representative term of one’s physical activities. You may have an idea about your PAL if you use the table:

Table 1: Number of steps per day and corresponding physical activity level.

Physical activity level Steps per day
Sedentary or inactive lifestyle <5000
Low active 5000–7499
Somewhat active 7500–9999
Active 10,000–12,500
Highly active >12,500


(References: A34,35 Assessment of Physical Activity and Energy Expenditure: An Overview of Objective Measures – PMC (, Table – PMC (

Walking has several benefits which are summarized by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as follows:

“Walking is a great way to get the physical activity needed to obtain health benefits. Walking does not require any special skills. It also does not require a gym membership or expensive equipment. A single bout of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can improve sleep, memory, and the ability to think and learn. It also reduces anxiety symptoms.” (Reference: A36 Walking | Physical Activity | CDC).

If you are interested to learn more about the benefits of walking, please visit the following links:

Promoting walking and cycling (

Walking | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

5 surprising benefits of walking – Harvard Health

The simple summary message is to increase your energy expenditure by adding physical activity like walking at existing food or energy intake levels. This would create a gap or imbalance between daily energy intake and expenditure. As a result, you may include more food on your menu daily to balance your energy intake.

Think that you have one of the following conditions at present (daily):

Energy Intake=Energy Expenditure (Energy Balanced: Normal weight)

Energy Intake>Energy Expenditure (Energy imbalanced: Overweight/Obese)

If you start to walk more, you may have the following options in the future (daily):

Energy Intake<Existing Energy Expenditure + Energy for walking (Energy imbalanced)

Existing Energy Intake+ Added energy by more foods =Energy Expenditure (Energy Balanced)

Let’s increase your physical activity to create opportunities to enjoy your meals if you fail to reduce your food intake.

If you have any disease, please consult with your doctor, dietician, or nutritionist before adopting a new lifestyle modification by simple walking.  Then adjust according to their recommendations. You also need to be monitored regularly.

If you want to balance your physical activity and food intake levels, you may use the following tool developed by NIH (National Institute of Health), USA:

If you are more interested to know additional information regarding physical activity, the health benefits of walking, Physical activity level (PAL), requirements, and recommendations for energy, please visit the following links:

Move for health #1 (

Move for health #2 (

Human energy requirements (


*Codes are used to publish a separate list of references.

*Featured image credit goes to


By Md. Khurshidul Zahid, Ph.D.

Md. Khurshidul Zahid Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Science (INFS) of The University of Dhaka (DU) of Bangladesh. He has completed his Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech University (TTU), USA. He was a finalist in the Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Competition organized by the American Society of Nutrition (ASN), Experimental Biology (EB) meeting held in Boston in 2015. He was also awarded a gold medal by “Professor Dr. Quazi Salamatullah trust foundation” of INFS, DU in 2005.

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