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How Much Should I Walk To Lose Weight?

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 and does walking burn fat?

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?

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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.

What Are The Benefits Of Walking?

Walking is a simple yet effective form of exercise that offers a ton of health benefits.

If you’re reading this, you’ve been wondering: “How much should I walk to lose weight?” 

So let’s get the obvious over with: one of the biggest benefits of walking is the potential weight loss.

Walking can be an effective exercise for weight loss because it helps to burn calories, which can help you maintain a calorie deficit. 

The number of calories burned depends on various factors like walking speed, distance covered, terrain, and the individual's weight. 

Regular walking, especially at a brisk pace, can increase metabolism and fat burning, which also aids with weight management. 

Plus, walking is a sustainable form of exercise, meaning it's easier to maintain as a routine for long-term weight loss.

So, especially when it’s consistently and effectively implemented, weight loss is definitely a favorite benefit for people looking to get healthier.

But the perks don’t end there! Let’s dive into additional benefits that you’ll get with consistent walking.

Improved heart health. Regular walking can strengthen the heart, improving its ability to pump blood more efficiently. It can also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Reduced risk of heart disease. Walking helps lower the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing good cholesterol (HDL). It can also better manage blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of developing heart disease.
Low impact on joints. Walking is a low-impact exercise, which means it's easy on your joints compared to high-impact activities like running. This makes it a great option for people of all ages, including those with arthritis or osteoporosis.
Reduces stress and improves mood. Endorphins, anyone? Walking, especially outside or in a natural setting, can be a great stress reliever by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones. This can boost your mood and help reduce anxiety and depression.
Boosts energy. Aside from endorphins, walking increases oxygen flow and levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These are hormones that help elevate energy levels, so regular walks can help you feel more energetic and alert.

How Much Should I Walk To Lose Weight?

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 answering "how much should I walk to lose weight?" with 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.

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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.

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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!

How To Increase The Intensity Of Your Walk

A relaxing and even-paced walk is a sustainable way to boost your health and potentially lose weight, but you may find that you need something a bit more challenging to burn more calories.

To add more intensity to you walking and capitalizing on your time spent exercising, here’s what you can do:

Walking uphill. Walking on an incline significantly increases the intensity of your walk. It engages more muscles, especially in your legs and glutes, and requires more energy, thus burning more calories.
Use a weighted vest. Wearing a weighted vest adds extra resistance to your walk and makes your body work harder. This increased effort leads to more calories being burned. Don’t overdo it right upfront — it’s important to start with a lighter weight and gradually increase it to avoid strain.
Increase your pace. Walking faster naturally increases your heart rate and calorie burn. Try incorporating intervals of brisk walking into your regular pace, or aim to gradually increase your overall walking speed.
Listen to fast-paced music. Music can be a great motivator. Listening to fast-paced music can encourage you to walk faster and with more intensity, turning a regular walk into a more energetic workout.
Go hiking. Hiking, especially on varied terrain, can be more challenging than walking on flat ground. It often involves inclines and uneven surfaces that require more energy and engage different muscle groups, leading to higher calorie expenditure.

How Do I Begin To Start Walking More?

For a lot of us, the hardest part is getting started by building a strong routine.

If you want to start walking but need ways to get motivated and stay consistent, you’re not alone!

Try these practices to make the process a bit easier:

Get a fitness tracker. A fitness tracker or a smartphone app can be a great motivational tool. It helps you monitor your progress, set goals, and stay accountable. Seeing the number of steps you've taken or the distance covered can be very encouraging!
Start slowly. If you’re new to walking for exercise, begin with short, manageable walks. Even a 10-15 minute walk is a good start. This helps your body adapt without feeling overwhelmed. Then you can gradually increase the duration and intensity of your walks.
Create a schedule. Consistency is key in building a habit. Set specific days and times for your walks and treat them as important appointments. This helps in establishing a routine.
Find enjoyable routes. Explore different areas to keep your walks interesting. Parks, nature trails, or different neighborhoods can make your walks more enjoyable. A pleasant environment can greatly enhance your motivation.
Invest in comfortable shoes. Comfortable, well-fitting walking shoes are crucial. They provide the necessary support and cushioning, reduce the risk of injuries, and make your walks more enjoyable.
Find a walking buddy. Walking with a friend, family member, or a walking group can be inspiring and hold you more accountable. It adds a social element to your exercise, making it more enjoyable and helping you stick to your routine.

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!

The Bottom Line

Walking is one of the most popular ways people lose weight and improve their health because it’s such a sustainable and rewarding activity.

It’s easy on your body, but especially when you figure out your optimal duration and intensity, you can still see amazing results.

To stay consistent (which really is a key factor here), there are resources like the 1st Phorm app that can help you set goals and track your progress.

Plus, there are all kinds of other perks and tools you can use, like advisors, a supportive community, other workouts, and meal tracking capabilities.

Download the app today to get the support you need to start walking off that stubborn weight!

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