Walking is the best type of exercise available today because it is simple, low-impact, and accessible to everyone. Walking does not require any specific training, equipment, or athletic abilities, yet it can provide a wide range of health benefits.
If you’re thinking about walking and find yourself asking, “How far should I walk a day to lose weight?”, then this article has something for you.
Staying fit and shedding those extra pounds by walking has never been easier. Thanks to modern technology, you can now enjoy your favorite tunes, podcasts, or audiobooks while on the move. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself covering long distances and shedding weight effortlessly.
Fundamentals Of Weight Loss
Before you start, it’s a good idea to grasp what it takes to reduce weight in the first place. Fad diets and medicines are never successful since they are neither sustainable nor healthful.
It takes more effort to lay a solid foundation for weight loss, but it benefits your body and provides long-term weight loss1.
The fundamentals of weight loss involve adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and healthy habits that promote physical and mental well-being. By implementing these practices, you can achieve sustainable weight loss, improve your health and well-being, and reduce the risk of injuries and diseases.
Can You Lose Weight By Walking?
Weight loss is achieved by creating a calorie deficit. A 3500 calorie deficit is required to lose one pound of fat. You have the option of dieting or lacing up those sneakers and going for a walk.
In principle, food is more important than exercise for weight loss, but this is primarily because it is easy to reverse some of the benefits of walking by rewarding yourself with high-calorie goodies.
Every day, the majority of people consume more calories than they expend. If you want to lose weight by walking, you must still limit your calorie intake to create the deficit that you need2.
Health Benefits Of Walking For Weight Loss
- Pain relief for joints.
Walking protects your joints, particularly your hips, and knees, by lubricating the muscles that support these joints. It also aids in the relief of arthritis pain. In fact, even a weekly five- to six-mile walk can help avoid arthritis.
- Enhances immune function.
Walking might help keep you healthy during the cold and flu season. A study3 of over 1,000 men and women discovered that those who walked for at least 20 minutes per day, at least 5 days per week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter period of time with lesser symptoms.
- Muscle mass is increased.
Walking, particularly in hilly places, on stairwell routes, or on an incline treadmill, can assist to strengthen the muscles in your legs. You can increase your strength by including workouts like leg curls, lunges, and squats as well as cross-training sports like jogging and cycling.
- Elevates your mood.
A 30-minute brisk walk three days a week can assist to reduce anxiety, low mood, and depression, thereby helping your physical and mental health. It can also improve self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal or isolation.
How Far Should I Walk A Day To Lose Weight?
Walking is a simple, low-impact strategy that could keep weight off for good. If you want to lose weight healthily, one pound per week is a sensible target for most people for sustainable weight loss.
You will most likely lose weight when you begin a new walking regimen because a bigger body burns more calories. This means that weight loss may slow as you lose weight. A brisk pace is recommended for the type of walking required to reduce weight.
Walking for 30-90 minutes many times each week will aid in weight loss. Walking for 30 minutes at a brisk walking pace results in a distance of 1.5-2 kilometers or 3,000-4,500 steps. While you can walk more on certain days than others, your weekly total should be at least 150 minutes.
Be careful not to miss more than one day, as consistency aids in the burning of calories, the improvement of metabolism, and the development of healthy new habits. Include strength training workouts on non-walking days. If you are new to walking, begin with shorter durations of walking and gradually increase your walking time as your fitness improves4.
How Many Calories Can I Burn?
The number of calories you burn from walking varies from person to person and depends on many factors, such as your body weight, metabolism, and walking speed. A general estimate is that you can burn around 100-200 calories per mile walked.
To maximize the number of calories you burn from walking, try to maintain a brisk pace and incorporate hills or inclines into your route. Additionally, consider increasing your daily step count by taking the stairs, parking farther away from your destination, or taking short walking breaks throughout the day.
How To Burn More Calories While Walking?
1. Keep track of your heart rate.
Using a heart rate monitor while walking allows you to track your calorie burn. Use a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker for a few exercises to calculate your typical heart rate, then try to burn 5-10 beats above your baseline in each walking workout to burn more calories.
2. Interval training is recommended.
Interval training entails alternating between high and low-intensity activities to maximize calorie burn. Workouts at a higher level burn more calories than working out at a lower intensity for the same amount of time. This is due to the after-burn effect, which occurs when you keep burning calories after a workout.
A typical workout can consist of 30-60 seconds of fast walking followed by 60 seconds of normal walking pace.
3. Try to walk uphill.
The amount of weight you can lose while walking is also affected by where you walk. Walking on flat terrain burns fewer calories than walking uphill or on uneven terrain.
Walking on an incline or uneven surface can increase the intensity of your walk, which can help you burn more calories and increase your weight loss.
Additionally, walking outdoors in natural environments such as parks or hiking trails can have psychological benefits such as reducing stress and improving mood, which can also contribute to weight loss by reducing emotional eating and improving overall well-being.
4. Make use of a walking pole.
When walking on uneven terrain or crossing streams or rocky paths, walking poles can help increase your stability and balance. The poles can provide an additional point of contact with the ground, which can help prevent falls and injuries.
In addition to increasing stability, walking with a pole can also engage your upper body muscles. As you swing the poles forward and back, you’ll be using your arms, shoulders, and back muscles, which can help improve your overall fitness level.
5. Increase the level of resistance.
By adding resistance to your walking, you can burn more calories. Wearing a weighted vest, for example, can be an excellent alternative because it distributes the extra weight equally. You might also think about using light hand weights. Ankle weights, however, should be avoided because they alter your normal gait.
How To Start Walking More?
If you want to reap the weight loss benefits of walking but don’t know where to begin, consider the following suggestions:
- Make a walking strategy.
To begin seeing benefits, make a schedule for your weekly walks. Having a system in place and varying your workouts can help you stay on track. Then, when you begin to notice improvements in your muscles, energy, and endurance, you will be more driven to continue walking.
- Utilize fitness trackers.
These devices, which track your steps and distance traveled, can drive you to improve your physical activity. You can access your records using a smartphone app.
Walking devices might keep you active because you want to use them. Speed trackers, heart rate monitors, activity monitors, and even the health app on your smartphone can all make your walks more enjoyable and give you an incentive to take the steps.
It is recommended that you set a daily step goal of 6,000-10,000 and search for methods to include more steps into your daily walking routine outside of your regular walks.
- Make a walking journal.
You can keep a log of your walking steps, mileage, or minutes, whether on an app, computer, or on paper. Keep track of your progress and summarize it once a week. Setting a goal will quickly have you walking more in order to see those numbers pile up.
- Invest in workout clothes.
Purchasing new gym gear is a terrific motivator to work out more, and once you have them, you’ll want to wear them.
Get comfortable, layered apparel to keep you motivated even in colder conditions. You can even go for a walk on wet days if you have a waterproof jacket or umbrella. Buy breathable, lightweight, sweat-wicking clothing and a cap in hot weather.
Carrying clothes for all weather conditions guarantees that you don’t postpone your walk because the weather isn’t great.
- Set a walking schedule.
Plan your walks by selecting a regular time that works for you. Some individuals prefer early morning walks to avoid the distractions that undoubtedly arise during the day, while you may prefer to walk in the afternoon or at the end of the day. The bottom line is to pick a time that you can commit to.
Walking is an excellent way to lose weight and improve your general health. But the most important thing to remember when starting a new weight-loss journey is that long-term weight loss takes time.
Once you do get into walking as an exercise, you should strive to improve the frequency with which you walk, as well as the number of kilometers or steps you take each day. Try to push yourself further a couple of days a week with faster walks or steeper inclines.