How Much Should You Walk to Lose Weight?

Walking is the most natural movement of our body and doesn’t require any special skills or equipment. If you know how to do it properly, and how much to walk, it should definitely help you lose weight. Because most of us find it an enjoyable and safe way to exercise and burn calories it can be the easiest exercise to stick with. In fact, walking is a great exercise for healthy weight maintenance long term.

Walking is about as low impact exercise as you can find, but will absolutely burn calories. When you want to lose weight — raising your heart rate with exercise for 30 minutes to an hour 5 times a week is vital to the process. Walking is good for health and can do that without destroying joints while toning and strengthening muscles.

Is Walking A Good Exercise To Lose Weight?

When you want to lose weight, this gentle form of exercise is a great way to get started. In fact, if you haven’t been too active this could be the best place to start.

You can burn calories, lose fat, and tone your body as you do. It’s one of the most flexible workouts because you can walk in so many different places. Get your workouts on public walking tracks, through neighborhoods, in malls, on treadmills, at work, and many more places.

Young female with big belly exercising on treadmill, working hard to lose weight
Walking on a Treadmill is Good to Lose Weight

Unlike some workouts, this low impact form of exercise is low risk. Even though you may experience some sore muscles at first, you are unlikely to damage muscles or joints. It’s also something most people can do and have free access to, and it’s easy to incorporate into your life. In fact, many people with arthritis in their knees find they can walk for exercise on a regular basis.

Keep in mind that it’s not merely taking a stroll, though. After you get into a regular routine, you’ll need to pick up the distance and speed. (Keep reading – we talk about that too.)

Don’t let friends slow your walks or diet plans.

You can find a walking partner or go it alone with only your phone. Many people have a place to walk during their lunch hour at work and find it to be a safe place to exercise.

The only drawback to that is the temptation to take a daily stroll with friends instead of making the brisk pace it takes to burn calories.

Does Speed Matter?

In order to burn calories, you need to raise your heart rate and increase your rate of breathing. You won’t need to jog or power walk just set a brisk pace and try to work up to 3 miles an hour or more to see your excess weight melt away.

Where does fat go when you lose it? Some of the fat cells are excreted from your body through body waste and sweating, but most fat is converted to carbon dioxide and exhaled as you breathe.

That’s one of the reasons that getting the most from any form of exercise requires you to raise your heart rate and breath harder. Does this mean you need to be a speed walker?

Woman power walking in park for weight loss
The faster you walk, the more calories you will burn

No, it doesn’t. In fact, in the beginning, you don’t need to go very far or very fast to see the benefits. It’s more important to set a comfortable pace and then be systematic about adding distance and speed as you progress.

If you haven’t been taking advantage of regular exercise, you should probably start out at a fairly casual pace for the first week. That will help avoid sore and aching muscles.

You’ve practiced enough, it’s time to speed up the pace.

After a week or so, you will need to speed up your workout to at least a brisk pace. This means a pace of about 3 miles an hour. Depending on what shape you are in when you start, a brisk pace would allow you to talk, but not carry on a running conversation for the entire trip.

How Long to Walk Each Day for Weight Loss?

If you are just starting out, only walk a few minutes each day, especially if you are extremely overweight. Your body will need to make some adjustments and if you overdo it, you could damage muscles and joints.

In fact, if you are really heavy, and not been getting any exercise, try walking to the end of the driveway or around the yard. See how that works out, and then go a little farther each session.

When your body is accustomed to the new exercise routine, the minimum should be 30 minutes at a brisk pace.

What’s a brisk pace?

If you can laugh and play with a walking partner, you are strolling, and that won’t burn enough calories to do much good. The slowest pace for losing weight is marked by breathing heavier than normal, but still, be able to talk comfortably The best pace is when you can talk, but would rather not.

Use this calculator to see how many calories are used when you exercise. Then determine how far and how long you need to walk to get yourself into a caloric deficit to lose weight,

How Many Calories Does Walking Burn?

Depending on what your weight loss goals are, and your fitness level, walking is usually a great way to get your metabolism up and use excess fat for energy.

Even though there are other forms of cardio that burn more calories, walking can still be effective. You can generally figure on using from 80-100 calories a mile walked.

The key thing to take into consideration here is that to lose one pound of body fat — you will need to burn 3500 calories. From that, you can readily see, that it takes a change in diet as well as exercise to see results.

Without limiting your caloric intake as you workout most days of the week, you would need to burn 500 calories to lose a pound in a week. Otherwise, you would need to walk about 5 miles a day?

How To Increase Calorie Burn

Increasing the calorie burn is one way to turn on the effects of exercise to get rid of the weight faster.

Here are four ways to do this effectively when walking:

1. Increase in distance and time.

My “guess” is that by starting out with 3 days a week at a comfortable pace, after the first week, you should be ready to increase the distance you’re going. Even if the first week was only 15 minutes for 3 days, the second week should be 20-25 minutes.

Face it, if you are focused on weight loss goals, you should be goal-oriented here, and willing to do the work. The goal should be a pace just shy of jogging for 40-60 minutes 5 days a week for real results.

2. Turn up the speed.

Turning up the speed is where the real results come from. Remember, you want your heart rate and breathing to start increasing after the first 5 minutes or so.

Here are two ways to make this happen:

  1. Simply walk as fast as you can without jogging or running for the entire workout session.
  2. Incorporate HIIT protocols into your exercise. Here’s how: After 5 minutes or so to warm up muscles, walk as fast as you possibly can for about 1-2 minutes to start with. Now, slow down to your normal pace until you’re breathing comes back under control, and do it again. Do this for 15-20 minutes and call it a day.

3. Incorporating more body action.

It’s important to move your arms and shoulders as much as possible. Most people naturally swing their arms back and forth, but for even more effect, try bending your elbows and putting your hands in front of you as you walk.

Push and pull your arms back and forth in sync with your feet as you take each step for more calorie burn. This can help you increase your speed as the momentum naturally increases with more arm movement.

Instead of moving your body in a stiff manner, try loosening your hips and allowing them to swing and roll with each step for toning hips, butt, and waistline even more.

4. Change the terrain.

You can get a more productive workout and calorie burn by finding some hills to walk on. You may find it surprising how much more effort it takes to go up and down even slight inclines. And remember that all calorie burn calculators assume you are walking on level and flat ground.

By walking on grass, sand, or dirt roads and paths, you can dramatically increase the burn.

How To Lose Weight Walking?

1. Establish a realistic baseline to avoid injury.

Depending on your level of fitness, plan on starting at a slow pace and 2-3 times a week. It’s your weight goals and your exercise, so prompt yourself to add speed, distance, and sessions each week until you get to 45 minutes to an hour 5 days a week. Not only will you burn as much as 300 calories 5 days a week, but you will be converting fat to muscle which burns more calories at rest.

2. Find a suitable place to walk.

Depending on where you live, this shouldn’t be hard to do. Because walking is such a popular way to exercise, most communities have public walking tracks. Gyms have walking tracks, and treadmills to use. Many people find exercising on a treadmill in the privacy of their own home preferable for a number of reasons.

3. Timing yourself.

It’s much better to set a time you intend to walk before you start your routine. If you exercise alone, it’s easy to lose your incentive and start thinking of other things you could be doing. So, decide on how long you will walk before starting and time yourself.

Just deciding on the best time, setting the time to exercise, and getting motivated to start can be a challenge. Deciding to make exercise a regular part of your daily routine and sticking to it will aid your diet in many ways. Start slowly so there’s no chance of overwhelming your self and giving up.

Use this schedule as a guide to get started:

  • Week one: Walk for 10 minutes twice a day at least 3 days.
  • Week two: Walk for 30 minutes five days a week and add 10 minutes of resistance training to your routine.
  • Week three: 40 minutes five days per week and up the resistance training to 30 minutes 3 times a week.
  • Fourth week and thereafter: When you are walking 40 minutes a day, 5 times a week, it’s time to increase your pace. It’s not necessary to increase your time but better. But by this time you should definitely be able to walk much faster than when your started.

4. Use the discipline to walk for discipline to cut your calories

The truth about walking is that you can’t walk enough to lose weight without cutting calories. In fact, any dieting effort that’s not causing you to burn more calories than you are consuming is not a diet at all.

Changing your eating habits, including the quality of food you’re eating and the amount is not an easy task for overweight people. It requires a lot of motivation and discipline to change bad habits.

Exercising and incorporating intermittent fasting into your lifestyle is the best place I know of to start controlling your appetite and thinking about the food you are eating.

It won’t be long before you automatically think of your efforts to lose weight when you’re planning on your next meal if you put in the time walking.

Summary

Take your diet goals seriously and you will find the time and motivation to make exercise a regular part of your daily routine. Start off at the pace and distance that your body allows and slowly increase both until they become a part of your lifestyle. When that happens you will find it easy to plan your life around walking.

No matter how much you walk, if you do it regularly, you will start seeing the benefits. Not only will you lose weight, but you should also see a difference in your moods and energy levels pretty fast. This will produce the motivation to keep walking.

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