When it comes to how far should you walk each day to lose weight, it is a tricky question. Several variables impact your physical well-being and, as a result, limit or enhance your walking capacity.
Walking is among the simplest and most affordable kinds of exercise you may perform. All you need is a pair of comfortable walking shoes or trainers. You benefit from increased activity just by routinely walking.
Numerous potential health advantages of regular walking include weight loss. Walking is a great start to begin your weight loss journey if you haven’t worked out or are overweight. As you get fitter, you can always give running a go, but it’s not required.
Walking for weight loss will quickly make you fit and healthy with a balanced diet.
According to a study, walking can help obese women lose weight and shrink their waistlines by increasing fat metabolism. For 12 weeks, the women walked between 50 and 70 minutes three times per week. After the trial, they discovered that the they had lost an average of 1.1 inches from their waists and 1.5% of their body fat1.
You can do a few things to boost how much fat you burn when walking. When planning your daily walk for weight loss, it’s important to take into account factors such as walking speed, current fitness level, and desired fitness outcomes.
Walking For Weight Loss Tips
1. Walking Pace
Weight loss is directly impacted by walking pace. Like running, swimming, and other aerobic exercises, your pace is essential.
Walking at a faster pace burns more calories and the amount increases with the speed. As you approach a jogging pace, the rate of calorie burn intensifies.
This was proven in a recent study, where you can burn more calories as you increase your pace to a run2.
This study also revealed that the runners were generally lighter than the walkers, indicating that exercise speed directly impacted caloric expenditure.
Even though the speed picks up, you are not required to run. Instead, a brisk walking pace will burn more calories to support weight loss.
Try to increase your walking speed each week as you work toward weight loss to burn as many calories as possible.
2. Walking Uphill
How much weight you can shed when walking depends on where you walk. It would be best if you regularly walked uphill to help increase calorie burn.
Two to three times per week, you should try to walk up hills, stairs, or inclines.
Other ways you can do it is to steepen a treadmill’s slope, or you might want to add more hills to your regular outdoor walking routine.
Hill walks are wonderful for your muscles in addition to raising your heart rate and workload. They increase calf, glute, and hamstring muscular activation without increasing the risk of injury compared to a flat walk.
3. Use a Weighted Vest
Being heavy causes you to burn more calories since it takes more energy for your body to carry out the same action than it would for a lighter person.
Wearing extra weight while walking forces your body to exert more effort.
According to one study, people who were wearing a weighted vest that weighed 15% of their body weight and were walking at 2.5 mph on a flat surface burnt 12% more calories than those who weren’t wearing the vest3.
Although wearing a weighted vest may increase calorie burn, it’s best to avoid donning ankle, wrist, or hand weights. Both exercises carry the risk of injury and muscular imbalance.
Consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness regimen, especially if you are planning to wear a weighted vest.
Use of a weighted vest is not advised if you suffer from neck or back issues.
4. Including Intervals of Resistance Training
You might try incorporating resistance training into your walk to help you burn more calories and promote the development of new muscles.
You may build muscle and raise your heart rate with quick exercise pulses.
Try incorporating burpees, squats, pushups, lunges, and tricep dips.
5. Taking Three Shorter Walks Each Day
Long walks are beneficial, but shorter, more frequent walks can also be advantageous.
According to a study on inactive persons over 60, walking for 15 minutes three times a day after meals can help maintain blood sugar levels more effectively than walking for 45 minutes once a day4.
6. Alternating Periods of Fast Walking
You may begin with 5 minutes of interval training every walk and gradually add longer power walking intervals.
It would be best to warm up by walking for around 5 to 10 minutes before attempting power walking in intervals. Then quicken your stride and walk for 10 to 15 seconds at a comfortable and maintainable rate before slowing down to your regular walking speed.
This can be done as long as you manage it.
The number of calories you burn when walking can be increased by power walking at intervals.
7. Concentrating on Posture and Form
It’s crucial to maintain proper form and posture when walking.
Concentrating on tightening your glutes and abdominal muscles when walking would be best. You can either do this continuously or intermittently while walking.
Health Benefits Of Walking
One approach to staying fit and healthy is to exercise regularly. Engaging in physical activity lowers your risk of acquiring lifestyle diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Exercise extends your life, makes you healthier, and helps you control your weight. Here are some health benefits of walking:
- Boost Heart Health
Your risk of developing coronary heart disease can be reduced by roughly 19% by walking for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week5.
- Burn Calories
If you walk for longer or farther each day, your risk may be reduced even further.
Walking is a low-impact form of physical activity that can help increase your heart rate and metabolism, leading to the burning of calories. The amount of calories burned during walking depends on various factors such as your weight, walking speed, and the duration of the walk. By incorporating regular walking into your daily routine, you can help increase your overall calorie burn, which can contribute to weight loss and improved physical health.
- Can Aid in Lowering Blood Sugar
According to research, walking for 15 minutes three times a day—right after breakfast, lunch, and dinner—improves blood sugar levels more than walking for 45 minutes at another time6.
After eating, go for a little stroll to help reduce your blood sugar. Think about incorporating a post-meal stroll into your daily routine. You may find it easier to fit exercise into your day this way.
- Increases Immunity
Your risk of contracting the flu or a cold may be reduced if you walk.
To enjoy these benefits, strive to go for a daily walk. Try walking on a treadmill or through an indoor shopping area if you live in a cold climate.
In a study of 1,000 adults throughout the flu season, 43% fewer sick days and fewer upper respiratory tract infections were seen by those who walked for 30 to 45 minutes each day at a moderate pace7.
- Boost your Mood
Aside from weight loss, your physical and mental health can benefit from walking.
According to studies, it can aid in lowering anxiety, depression, and a bad mood8.
Additionally, it can increase self-confidence and lessen social withdrawal symptoms.
Aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking or moderate-intensity exercises three days a week to reap these health benefits. You might also divide it into three walks of ten minutes each.
- Increase your Energy
Your body gets more oxygen when you walk. Additionally, it can raise cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine levels. These are the hormones that contribute to increased energy.
If you’re tired, walking could give you more energy than drinking a coffee9.
- Thinking Creatively
A research looked into individuals who tried to come up with new ideas while walking versus sitting.
Researchers discovered that participants performed better when they were walking, especially when walking outside.
The researchers concluded that walking facilitates the free flow of ideas and is an easy technique to boost creativity while also getting physical activity10.
Walking may help you think more clearly and creatively.
- Prolong your Life
You might live longer if you walk more quickly. A 20% lower risk of overall death was discovered when walking at an average pace compared to a slow pace11.
The study examined the relationship between brisk walking and several mortality causes, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and overall causes of death. Brisk or quick walking (at least 4 miles per hour) cut the risk by 24%.
- Relieves Joint Pain
Your knees and hips, among other joints, can be protected by walking. This is because it aids in lubricating and fortifying the muscles that support the joints.
By doing so, you maintain your body healthily and shield it from harm and discomfort.
- Sculpt your Legs
Leg muscles can be strengthened by walking. Walk up hills or on an inclined treadmill to increase your strength.
Additionally, include alternate walking with other cross-training exercises like cycling or jogging.
You can also carry out resistance workouts like squats, lunges, and leg curls to further tone and strengthen your leg muscles.
How Far Should You Walk Each Day To Lose Weight?
The World Health Organization warns that leading a sedentary lifestyle may be one of the top 10 global causes of mortality and disability13.
To achieve sustainable weight loss and overall well-being, you should aim to lose one pound every week if you want to walk to lose weight. This can be attainable since walking is easy and low-impact enough to maintain long-term weight loss.
A heavier body burns more calories, so you’ll probably lose more weight when you start a new walking routine.
You can reduce weight by walking for 30 to 90 minutes several days each week. The typical distance covered by walking for 30 minutes at a brisk pace is 1.5–2 miles or 3,000–4,500 steps.
According to a study, people interested in walking for weight loss should consistently take at least 10,000 steps per day. You may even take more steps than this12.
Set a sensible step target and work toward it, even if you cannot walk 10,000 steps daily.
You can increase the number of daily steps by adjusting your everyday movement patterns by:
- Walking to lunch, work, school, or other destinations whenever possible.
- Instead of sitting in a break room, take walks during work breaks.
- Use the stairs rather than the elevator.
- Park further from the entrance at the store, the office, or the school.
- While you are waiting, go for a brisk walk.
How To Increase Your Walking?
Check out the following advice if you want to start walking for weight loss but aren’t sure where to begin.
1. Plan a walking program.
Make a schedule for your weekly walks. You’ll be more likely to stay on track if you have a system in place and vary your workouts.
You will feel more driven to continue walking if you notice a difference in your muscles, energy, and stamina.
2. Maintain a walking diary.
Every week, keep track of your development and summarize it.
By establishing a target, you’ll soon discover that you walk more merely to watch the numbers rise.
3. Use fitness trackers.
You can use devices like speed counters, heart rate monitors, activity trackers, or even the health app on your smartphone to add some fun to your walks and motivate you to move more.
4. Set a schedule.
Choose a regular time that works for you to go for walks.
You can go for walks in the morning to avoid the distractions that undoubtedly arise during the day, but you may prefer to go for a stroll in the afternoon or at the end of the day.
The most important thing is to pick a time you can keep to.
Consistency is critical to burning calories, boosting metabolism, and forming new, healthy habits, so avoid missing more than one day.
Include strength training activities on days when you aren’t walking.
5. Get new exercise gear.
When you have new workout gear, you’ll want to wear them because it will motivate you to exercise more.
You won’t have to cancel your walk because of bad weather if you have clothes for several climates. These can be:
- Purchasing warm, layered apparel to maintain your motivation even in colder climates.
- You can continue walking on wet days by having a waterproof jacket or umbrella.
- Get a cap and breathable, lightweight, sweat-wicking clothing for hot weather.
Walking has several health benefits for people of all ages and fitness levels. Walking is the easiest exercise for weight loss and general health enhancement. It may lead to extending your life and aid in preventing certain illnesses.
The exact amount of walking needed for weight loss depends on factors such as your current weight, diet, and fitness level. Aiming to walk at least 10,000 steps per day is a good starting point for most people, but it may take more or less depending on your goals.
Start short and slow if you’ve never walked for exercise, then work your way up to longer or more strenuous strolls. To maximize the calorie-burning benefits of walking, try to walk at a brisk pace or incorporate intervals of faster walking into your routine.
The most crucial thing to remember while beginning any new weight-loss journey is that sustained weight loss requires time. And as with any exercise program, balance your walks with rest since too much exercise might result in injury, pain, or burnout.
It is also essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine, especially if you have any health concerns or medical conditions.
1 Hong HR, Jeong JO, Kong JY, Lee SH, Yang SH, Ha CD, Kang HS. Effect of walking exercise on abdominal fat, insulin resistance and serum cytokines in obese women. J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2014 Sep;18(3):277-85. doi: 10.5717/jenb.2014.18.3.277. Epub 2014 Sep 10. PMID: 25566464; PMCID: PMC4241903.
2 WILLIAMS, PAUL T.. Greater Weight Loss from Running than Walking during a 6.2-yr Prospective Follow-up. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 45(4):p 706-713, April 2013. | DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31827b0d0a
3 Kravitz, L. & McCormick, J. (2013). The metabolic cost of slow-graded treadmill walking with a weighted vest in untrained females. https://acewebcontent.azureedge.net/certifiednews/images/article/pdfs/ACE%20 Weighted%20Vest%20Study%20Complete%20Report.pdf
4 Loretta DiPietro, Andrei Gribok, Michelle S. Stevens, Larry F. Hamm, William Rumpler; Three 15-min Bouts of Moderate Postmeal Walking Significantly Improves 24-h Glycemic Control in Older People at Risk for Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Diabetes Care 1 October 2013; 36 (10): 3262–3268. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc13-0084
5 Zheng H, Orsini N, Amin J, Wolk A, Nguyen VT, Ehrlich F. Quantifying the dose-response of walking in reducing coronary heart disease risk: meta-analysis. Eur J Epidemiol. 2009;24(4):181-92. doi: 10.1007/s10654-009-9328-9. Epub 2009 Mar 22. PMID: 19306107.
6 Loretta DiPietro, Andrei Gribok, Michelle S. Stevens, Larry F. Hamm, William Rumpler; Three 15-min Bouts of Moderate Postmeal Walking Significantly Improves 24-h Glycemic Control in Older People at Risk for Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Diabetes Care 1 October 2013; 36 (10): 3262–3268. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc13-0084
9 Randolph DD, O’Connor PJ, Stair walking is more energizing than low dose caffeine in sleep deprived young women, Physiology & Behavior,Volume 174, 2017, Pages 128-135, ISSN 0031-9384, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.03.013.
10 Oppezzo, M., & Schwartz, D. L. (2014). Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 40(4), 1142–1152. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0036577
11 Stamatakis E, Kelly P, Strain T, et al Self-rated walking pace and all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 50 225 walkers from 11 population British cohorts, British Journal of Sports Medicine 2018;52:761-768.
12 Yuenyongchaiwat K. Effects of 10,000 steps a day on physical and mental health in overweight participants in a community setting: a preliminary study. Braz J Phys Ther. 2016 Jul-Aug;20(4):367-73. doi: 10.1590/bjpt-rbf.2014.0160. Epub 2016 Jun 16. PMID: 27556393; PMCID: PMC5015672.
13 “Physical Inactivity a Leading Cause of Disease and Disability, Warns WHO.” Physical Inactivity a Leading Cause of Disease and Disability, Warns WHO, 4 Apr. 2002, www.who.int/news/item/04-04-2002-physical-inactivity-a-leading-cause-of-disease-and-disability-warns-who#targetText=Sedentary%20lifestyles%20increase%20all%20causes,lipid%20 disorders%2C%20depression%20and%20anxiety.