It may sound weird but it is proved that walking can give the same results as running. During experiments, it was found that you burn about 550 calories and 50% fat mass for a one hour run. If you spend the same time walking you can burn up to 350 calories and 65% fat. That means walking for weight loss is even more effective than running.
But it’s important to do it right. To get the results you have to train regularly and in the right mode.
What’s great is that walking for weight loss doesn’t have contraindications (except fast and uphill). According to doctors, this type of cardio training is completely safe and beneficial for your overall health.
But still keep in mind that intensive walking and walking with weights can be harmful in the following cases:
- if you have any heart issues;
- in case of respiratory failure;
- If there are kidney diseases;
- in case of diabetes.
If your health is ok, then go and start walking as soon as today! It’s a great activity that you can easily implement in your daily life.
How much should you walk to lose weight?
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They say the daily minimum of walking for weight loss is 10 000 steps (which is equal to 6-8 kilometers). Less is also good but to start the fat burning process you need to walk continuously for at least an hour.
When I started walking regularly for the first time it was my goal – to spend 1 hour doing it. It was not an easy task even though I have perfect circumstances for long walks. I just moved to Sydney and had lots of beautiful parks and promenades to go to. But I didn’t have a habit to walk. That’s why it was so challenging. So I encourage you to start with what you can do – even if it is just 30 minutes after your work. When you get used to walking it becomes easier and more pleasant.
It should be understood that a one-time walk will not bring results. To lose weight, you need to walk regularly, at least every other day, gradually accustoming yourself to daily sessions.
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How to walk for weight loss?
Another important thing to remember is that to lose weight you need to walk in the “fat burning ” zone of the pulse – it is 60-70% of your Maximum Heart Rate.
To figure out your MHR you need to use this simple formula: 220 – your age. For example, if you are 30 years old: 220-30 = 190 – this is the Maximum Heart Rate for you.
Knowing MHR you can calculate your fat burning zone (that is 60-70% of the maximum). For this example: 190 / 100 * 60 (70) = 114-133 beats per minute. So you have to keep this heart rate while walking in order to lose weight. Just calculate it for yourself and always keep that in mind.
Experts say that walking for weight loss has to be in moderate intensity. So 60-70% of MP is ideal. You don’t need to walk more intense as you will be burning more carbohydrates than fats.
To track your heart rate you can use heart rate monitors or fitness trackers. They are quite affordable and allow you to check your pulse as well as counting steps/calories.
And always keep in mind that you have to start your training gradually. The American heart Association recommends that beginners start with exercises that increase the pulse to 50% of the maximum heart rate, and then slowly, for several weeks, increase their intensity.
7 important tips on walking for weight loss
1.You have to walk for at least 1 hour.
You don’t burn fat immediately. First, the body uses the energy from glucose which comes as a result of digestion of carbohydrates. Then the energy is taken by glycogen (a source of glucose stored in the liver). And only after all the reserved energy is exhausted, the body takes it from fat. This moment comes after about 35 minutes of continuous walk.
2. Walk in the morning.
It’s better to walk for weight loss in the morning on an empty stomach (fasted) or after a light breakfast. This way the body starts to burn fat earlier. Another advantage of walking in the morning is the acceleration of metabolism for the whole day. Thus, during the day you will spend more calories than on a day without morning training.
3. Pick up comfortable clothes and shoes.
Of course, if you practice walking for weight loss only on the way to work and back home, it is enough to wear comfortable shoes. But if walking has become a full workout do not be lazy to choose comfortable loose clothing and sneakers with good cushioning. In some way it is a good motivation to train constantly. When you have beautiful stylish and comfortable fitness outfits it becomes more like a routine that you will like to follow every day.
4. Plan your route.
To make the most of walking for weight loss, practice in the parks, on beaches or in places away from roads with traffic. Ideally, lay your route over rough terrain, where you have to constantly overcome the ups and downs. It will make your training more challenging but interesting at the same time.
5. Don’t forget to warm up.
It’s important to prepare before your session especially if you walk in interval mode or use stairs. Fast pace and power load on an unheated body can lead to injuries. Therefore, start walking at a slow pace, and before you climb the stairs or hills, it is better to perform a series of warm-up and stretching exercises. The same applies to the end of training: walk 5 minutes at a slow pace to let the heartbeat calm down.
6. Watch your technique.
While walking, land from heel to toe, pushing hard for the next step. Increasing the speed, watch the step – it shouldn’t be too long. It is better to move with short frequent steps. The hand should be involved as well – be sure you actively use them to help yourself perform better. Bend your arms and move them from your waist to your chest.
7. Drink water.
The body loses a lot of fluid while performing any physical activity. That’s why drink a glass of water before and after walking. And if you walk more than half an hour you need to carry a bottle of pure water and to do a couple of sips from time to time in order to avoid dehydration.
Walking for weight loss + nutrition. How to double your results
I know it sounds boring but a proper balanced nutrition in crucial in any weight loss strategy. If you consume a lot of junk food and sweets every day and exceed the daily caloric intake you won’t lose any fat. But an unbalanced short-term diet is also useless as it gives temporary results. And your weight will return quickly that is not something you may want, right?
To start eating a healthier diet it is enough to reduce processed fat (especially from animal products), prepared products, pastries, sodas, sauces and manufactured sweets. If you can not imagine life without sweets then replace chocolate candies with a bitter chocolate bar, sweets and cookies with nuts and berries.
It is also important to understand that the less you move during the day, the more carefully you need to consume food. Let’s say to maintain your weight your daily calorie intake should be 1500 calories. If you walk 60 minutes (200-300 calories are burned) every day, but consume 1800 calories you won’t lose weight as you are not in a caloric deficit. To start losing weight you need to either increase the walking time by an hour or to reduce the number of calories by 300 units.
You can use this online calculator to figure out your recommended calorie intake to lose weight.
How many calories you burn while walking for weight loss
You can walk quickly, slowly, using stairs, sticks, or walking on the spot. In each case the amount of calories (and fat) you burn will be different. Let’s have a look at different types of walking for weight loss to figure out how much energy you can potentially spend.
- Long walk. This type of walking is recommended to absolutely everyone, including people with low level of training and those for whom another type of physical activity is contraindicated. If your speed is small (about 4-5 km an hour) you can spend about 200 calories per hour. Such training improves health, helps to tone leg muscles, and promotes slow but steady weight loss.
- Race walking. In this type of walking all muscle groups are involved as you actively use your hands. The steps are quite
short,but frequent. The arms are bent at the elbows and move from the waist to the chest. If your speed is 6-7 km/h you can burn up to 350 calories or more, depending on your current weight (the more your weight the more calories you burn).
- Walking up the stairs. This type of activity is designed for advanced athletes and is completely contraindicated for people with health problems. The number of burned calories can vary, but on average you can lose up to 500 kcal for
a hourclimbing and descending the stairs. Different ways of ascent and descent allow you to achieve different goals. For weight loss is better towalking up and down at an accelerated pace. At a calm paceyou will strengthen the muscles of the legs and buttocks.
- Nordic walking with sticks. This type has no contraindications and is suitable for people of any age. While walking with sticks in the work involved up to 90% of the muscles of the body. Accordingly, calories are burned faster than a normal walk. An hour of training can burn up to 400 calories.
- Interval walking. You can burn 10-15% more calories with the help of the interval system – you walk at a fast pace (6-8 km/h) and then walk at a moderate pace (4-5 km/h). The duration of each interval is selected individually. For example, 1 minute at a fast pace and 2-3 minutes at a slow pace. This interval system allows not only to burn more
calories,but also to melt fat for the whole day which contributes to a faster weight loss.
- Walking uphill or downhill on a treadmill. You can increase your calorie intake if you take a walk over rough terrain. Similar conditions can be created on the treadmill by increasing the angle of inclination. Walking uphill combines two types of loads – cardio and strength, so it is effective not only for weight
loss,but also to strengthen the muscles of the legs and buttocks.
- Walking in place. If there is no possibility or desire to go out, you can practice walking for weight loss at home. The effectiveness of such training is way lower, but it is still better than lying on the couch. As walking in place doesn’t involve horizontal movements, not all the muscles are engaged. So you have to use your hands to make the training more active. Besides, it is better to move pretty fast to create a cardio effect.
So as you can see walking for weight loss can burn from 200 to 500 calories per hour that creates an awesome caloric deficit. The amount of burned calories depends on your current weight and intensity of your training. That’s why it’s difficult to determine the numbers precisely. But it’s obvious that you have to do your best – the more active you are the better results you get.
Walking for weight loss. Actionable steps:
- Allocate 1 hour per day for walking
- Walk regularly (consistency is the king!)
- Calculate your MHR
- Walk in your “fat burning” mode (based on the calculation above)
- Be in a caloric deficit to see the results
- Follow 7 tips on how to walk for weight
loss Trydifferent types of walking to improve the results
As a wrap-up:
Walking for weight loss can be an effective and pleasant activity. But you should do it properly and follow the steps mentioned above to achieve your goals. I personally know a lot of people who walk regularly and have the best shape. It’s a strong motivation for me! Besides, I myself saw the positive effect of walking on my body. Those month that I spent walking on a daily basis I looked lean and fit even though I was consuming a lot of food (Australian breakfasts are so tempting!)
The researches also say that those people who walk regularly can lose about 5 kg a month.
I also like that walking is a way to solve many problems. Firstly, you do not need to go to the gym. Secondly, you do not need to buy any equipment. Thirdly, you can combine training with running errands or shopping. You just need to move more, because any activity is better than inaction.
I hope that this post about walking for weight loss inspires you to start walking more. Let me know your results and always feel free to ask question in the comments below.
Good luck with walking!