How To Lose Weight Walking (it’s that easy)
Running, spinning, and HIIT workouts often get the spotlight when it comes to losing weight, getting toned, and getting healthy. However, the humble and simple training of walking is not bad either.
While walking isn’t as popular, it sure does help you lose weight. Research suggests weekly walking distance is closely related to longevity, so walk a lot and live long.
Walking for an hour a day can lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure, stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, dementia, and even death. Walking can also have a positive effect on mental health and symptoms of depression can help you sleep better, and improves cognitive function.
Many other cardio activities have these health benefits, but the best thing about walking is that you already know how to do it, you hardly need any equipment (just shoes and clothes), you can do it at any age, it’s very easy on your joints and the body, and the risk of injury is incredibly low.
In fact, one study has suggested that walking is just as good as running for reducing the risk of health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. The thing is, don’t think of walking as running. But walking is amazing.
walking to lose weight
Walking used to be something we used to do to get from A to B. Lately the distance between A and B has become rather short. Here’s how to increase that distance again, and do it in a way that makes you lose weight, get stronger, fitter, and healthier.
Walking is a gentle, natural and safe exercise, but if you have been sedentary lately, are considerably overweight, have a disease, or are not sure about it, visit your doctor and get a check-up before starting to exercise.
The right team. Once you’ve been given the go-ahead, make sure your walking shoes are supportive, have good arch support, are cushioned, and are comfortable. Socks should be free of seams and holes, and the clothing you wear should be cool and comfortable.
Your walking routine. As with any exercise routine, remember:
- To warm. Start by walking slowly for 5-10 minutes. This will warm up your muscles and prepare your body for exercise.
- Cooling. Don’t stop exercising abruptly. At the end of the walk, slow down for 5-10 minutes. This will allow your muscles to cool down.
- Stretch. After cooling down, gently stretch your muscles.
It’s all too easy to get carried away and walk too far, too soon. This can leave you sore, tired, and disillusioned; none of which will help you develop a long-term walking habit. Instead, keep the walk short.
If all went well, add another minute or two to your next walk. Again, if you feel good, add a couple more minutes to your next walk. Continue adding a minute or two to your walks until you can walk comfortably for 30-60 minutes.
To walk comfortably, farther, and faster, walk with good posture. Poor walking techniques can slow you down, cause discomfort, or cause you to tire early. Walking upright is an easy way to correct various posture problems.
How fast to walk to lose weight?
To lose weight by walking, try doing 30-60 minutes at a brisk pace, or if you’re very fit, a brisk walking pace. Brisk walking isn’t just for weight loss. Walking at a pace of at least a brisk walk is necessary for significant health benefits.
Instead of taking one long walk, you can take several shorter walks throughout the day (for example, three 10-minute walks, two 30-minute walks). Research shows this is at least as effective for weight loss .
So, how fast is a walk, a brisk walk, and a brisk walk?
Walking speed / leisurely walk. This is a rate of about 3.2 km per hour (Kph). It is a rhythm and a low-intensity exercise. On the RPE scale, it is an intensity of approximately 4 out of 10.
Fast walking speed. A fast pace is 4 to 6.5 km per hour, depending on your level of fitness. Recent research further suggests that, on average, for a healthy person under the age of 60, a fast pace is about 3 miles per hour or 100 steps per minute. It’s a pace you might walk at when you’re going fast because you’re late for an appointment. On the RPE scale, this is an intensity of 5 to 6 on a scale of 10, which is moderate-intensity training. The target heart rate is 65-75% of your maximum heart rate. You can carry on a conversation, but you’ll have to catch your breath every few sentences.
Intense walking speed. Walking at a high intensity is equivalent to a pace of 7.2 to 8 km per hour. For a healthy person under the age of 60, this is approximately more than 130 steps per minute. At this level, many calories are burned. On the RPE scale, it’s about a 7 or 8 out of 10. This is a high-intensity exercise, where you can still talk, but only in short bursts of three or four words.
Below is a rough guide to how many calories you will burn walking at different speeds.
How long should you walk each day?
Try to walk continuously for 30-60 minutes most days of the week to lose weight by walking. If you walk at a brisk pace for 30 minutes, you will cover a distance of about 1.5 to 2.1 miles. Keep the distance in mind when planning your walking route.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), to lose more than 5% of your body weight and keep it off, you need to get at least 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week (or 150 minutes of high-intensity exercise). That’s about 40 minutes of brisk walking each day, or 60 minutes of brisk walking 5 days a week.
Try to include other activities, like strength training or pilates, especially on days you don’t walk. However, if you feel exhausted, take a day off to recover and resume your walking program the next day.
When you lose weight, your body burns fewer calories. This means that you need fewer calories per day (recalculate your daily caloric needs) and that you burn fewer calories when you exercise (refer to the table above, which shows how calories burned walking varies with bodyweight). So, to keep losing weight slowly, make your walks a little more challenging.
Once you’re able to walk 30 to 60 minutes, it’s time to make things more difficult. Unless you have unrestricted free time, there will be a limit to how much time you can spend walking each day. For most people, 60 minutes is probably a reasonable maximum. Instead of walking more and more, there are other things you can do to keep improving your fitness and help you lose weight.
Here are some ways to increase the intensity of your rides:
- Walk faster. Try to cut a minute or two off the time it normally takes you to complete your walk.
- Walk more often. If you normally walk three times a week, add one more walk to make it four. A few weeks later, add another walk to make it five. Try to get to seven walks a week. You can also walk more than once a day.
- Look for hills and rough terrain. Walking on flat, paved paths is fine, but going off the path or up a hill will make your workouts more demanding. And a more demanding workout means more calories are burned.
- Try Nordic walking. Walking uses approximately 50% of the muscles. However, Nordic walking works both the upper and lower body, using around 90% of all the muscles in the body. This form of walking also burns up to 67% more calories compared to normal walking.
- Set some goals. Whether you’re new to walking or an aspiring pro, goals can help you level up. If you currently walk 30 minutes a day, set a goal of walking an hour within six weeks. If the farthest you’ve ever walked is 6 kilometers, why not challenge yourself to walk 10 kilometers in three months? Goals can help keep you motivated.
Whether you walk to get fit or to lose fat, your diet should be in line with your exercise goals. You don’t have to follow a fad diet to lose weight and get in shape, just make sure you create a moderate caloric deficit and eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of old-school natural foods.
Eat plenty of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy oils, nuts, and some fruits, and try to consume these foods in their most natural state.
One of the best ways to start walking is to make it a habit. Habits can take time to develop and this challenge has worked for many people.
Simply walk for 30 minutes each day for 30 days in a row. For this ” 30 minutes for 30 days ” challenge, do not do any other exercise other than a little stretching to keep your muscles flexible.
You can walk all 30 minutes in one session, do three 10-minute walks spread throughout the day, or follow the interval walking workout below to get started.
Warm-up before this workout and cool down afterward by walking at an easy pace (RPE 3-4) for 5 minutes.
Interval walking training
Interval training is a type of training that alternates harder workouts (called interval work) with easier workouts that give you time to recover (called recovery intervals). This method allows you to exercise longer and is easier for beginners.
Simply alternate between 3 minutes of brisk walking and 2 minutes of walking at a slower pace. Repeat this cycle 6 times. This is summarized below:
Work: 3 min. fast walking (RPE 5-6).
Recovery: 2 min of easy walking (RPE 3-4)
Complete the cycle 6 times.
*If you are already regularly brisk walk, you can make this workout harder by power walking (RPE 7-8).
By walking every day, you’ll give your fitness and weight loss a big boost, and by the end of the month, you’ll have made daily walking a habit.
What should you do at the end of the month? Keep walking. Up the ante and do 40 days/40 minutes. Then why not 50 days/50 minutes? Whatever you do, keep going!