I know, I know … walking is not the sexiest form of exercise and doesn’t seem like some big fat loss secret or “magic” plan.
However, it can play a big role in your progress (and overall health) when used appropriately. Remember, there is no secret ... but there are ways to change your lifestyle to set yourself up for long-term results.
See, walking is a great way to exercise that offers many benefits for both beginners and advanced athletes alike.
Personally, I did not start walking daily and consistently until I was 8 years into my fitness journey, but it has been a game changer for me.
It’s a very easy, low-equipment method that almost everyone can incorporate into their daily routine.
Which brings up a good question ... will walking help you lose weight?
The answer depends on you — how long and fast are you walking on a consistent basis, and what does your daily nutrition plan look like?
That said, almost any form of physical activity can help with burning additional calories. Shoot, many of those options can help to build muscle and lose fat over time!
So, if you can pair walking with good nutrition and a solid workout, then you’re in business.
How Long Should You Walk?
This is a great question, and can depend on a person’s goal, job, and physical activity.
When speaking in terms of losing weight, I typically start by saying 30-60 minutes/day of intentional walking.
In today's society, a lot of people do not have physically active jobs, so incorporating this can help immensely.
Now, you may have heard before that we should be getting 10,000 steps daily...
This is a great starting point.
And while it can sound intimidating at first, think about it like this...
Walking for 30 minutes will average out to be about 3,000 of those steps! For some people, you may not have 30-45 minutes straight to walk.
Luckily, if this isn’t doable for you right now, you can walk for 5–20 minute increments multiple times a day to get the steps you need.
Another factor to keep in mind is the intensity of the walking.
This can dictate the level of calories you burn, and how effective you are being with your time.
There are a couple of ways to measure the level of effort you're putting into your walks.
Using a fitness tracker or watch are both great options!
In most cases, this will allow you to see how many steps you’ve taken, heart rate, and even the distance of your walks.
If you walk one day and burn an estimated 180 calories with X number of steps...
Then, the next walk is 150 calories with less steps, but the elapsed time was the same ... then that means you weren’t walking as fast, or with the same intent, as you were the first day.
Another "less-scientific" way to gauge an increased heart rate without using a tracker while walking to lose weight is this — your breathing should be heavier than normal, but you should be able to speak in full sentences, and you should NOT be able to sing.
Of course, incorporating walking into your daily routine doesn’t just need to be time set aside for walking — parking at the back of the parking lot or doing an extra lap around the grocery store can also add to your daily step count.
How many calories does walking burn?
Of course, how many calories you burn while walking will depend on the intensity of your walk, your sex, height, and weight, but the average person will burn between 150 and 300 calories per hour by walking.
One thing I want to mention is that the only limit to how long/hard you can walk are your own physical capabilities.
What I mean by this is ... you can walk every day, in moderation, without it causing much strain on your body.
So, whether it is 5 days a week, or all 7, I typically recommend the more walking the merrier for most people!
The Importance of a Good Diet
Like any exercise, walking isn’t a magic pill that will help you drop those pounds right away...
But when paired with a healthy diet, walking can certainly contribute to fat loss!
Remember, weight loss is mainly about calories in vs calories out.
So, ensuring that your workouts and nutrition plan are in alignment with creating a calorie deficit is key.
Side note: since walking is relatively low-intensity compared to resistance workouts, HIIT training, or other forms of harder exercise ... it typically will not impact your hunger in a negative manner.
This simply means you will not be wanting to consume a bunch of extra calories as a result of walking more.
Walking to lose weight shouldn’t be your only strategy, but it can help you create a more active lifestyle.
Incorporate walks into your daily routine to improve your overall fitness, contribute to your overall calorie deficit, and help you reach your fat loss goals.
Now go get those steps in!