Walking is a truly rewarding form of exercise. It’s free, it doesn’t require special skills or any special equipment, it doesn’t put the same amount of stress on your joints as running and it can be basically done by anyone and almost anywhere. Of course, the most important aspect is that going for a 30-minute stroll each day offers a series of long-term health benefits.
Among others, walking can help you prevent cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, strengthen your bones and muscles, boost your immunity, decrease the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good one (HDL), improve digestion, as well as reduce stress, combat depression and improve your mental wellbeing.
Indeed, just by taking a look at those physical and mental benefits it’s so easy to understand why going for a walk on a constant basis is great for you. But is there more to it? Can walking help you lose weight in an effective way? Keep on reading to see how efficient this activity actually is when it comes to weight loss.
How Many Calories Do You Burn Walking
In general, when they hear about walking as a form of exercise, people tend to be rather reluctant. Of course, in comparison to HIIT workouts or running at higher speeds, walking isn’t as effective and doesn’t generate results as fast. But not everybody needs a vigorous exercise routine. For some it’s enough to regularly engage in low and moderate-intensity activities in order to burn calories and stay in shape.
The amount of calories burned during a walk depends on a series of factors, such as your weight, age, sex, walking speed or type of terrain. According to
Harvard Health Publishing:
- a 125-pound (56 kg) person, walking for 30 minutes at a speed of 3.5 mph (5.6 km/h), will burn 120 calories
- a 155-pound (70 kg) person, walking for the same amount of time and at the same speed, will burn 149 calories
- a 185-pound (84 kg) person , walking for the same amount of time and at the same speed, will burn 178 calories
As you can see, heavier persons will be able to torch more calories in comparison to lighter ones, since more energy is required to move their body. Picking up the pace will also help you burn more calories:
- walking at a speed of 4 mph (6.4 km/h) for 30 minutes, a 125-pound (56 kg) person will burn 135 calories, a 155-pound (70 kg) person – 167 calories, while a 185-pound (84 kg) person will torch 200 calories
- walking at a speed of 4.5 mph (7.2 km/h) for 30 minutes, a 125-pound (56 kg) person will burn 150 calories, a 155-pound (70 kg) person – 186 calories, while a 185-pound (84 kg) person will torch 222 calories
Link Between Walking and Weight Loss
In case you’re wondering if walking can directly influence your weight loss, the answer is yes. Is there any scientific proof to that? The answer is again yes.
11 moderate-weight women took part in a 6-month weight loss program, that involved daily brisk walking. The findings of the study showed that the women managed to lose an average of 17 pounds (7.7 kg) just by going on daily brisk walks and without any dietary restrictions. The participants in the program increased gradually their walking time until they reached 60 minutes of physical activity.
A different study, published in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry, also concluded that you can lose weight by walking. During a 12-week program, obese women were divided in two groups: one group would engage in a walking exercise for 3 days per week and with a duration of 50 to 70 minutes, while the second group would maintain a sedentary lifestyle. After 12 weeks, the women in the first group were able to lose approximately 6 pounds (2.7 kg) in comparison to those who remained sedentary. The findings showed that walking can reduce abdominal fat and waist circumference.
How to Burn more Fat
There’s no question about it, you can burn fat by walking regularly. But you can go even further and increase your calorie burn while doing this form of exercise. In addition to picking up the pace, which we’ve already shown it’s productive, there are other things you can progressively incorporate in your walking routine to burn additional calories. For instance:
- Walking uphill. From time to time it’s advisable to incorporate hills into your walking workouts. This is a great way to intensify your walks and increase your calorie burn without changing the duration of your exercise or the distance covered. If you can’t go outside, try walking on the treadmill and adjusting the incline for better results.
- Add intervals. A faster way to get rid of that unwanted body fat is to incorporate interval walking. The process involves mixing short bursts of faster walking with periods of slower walking. This is guaranteed to torch more calories, as well as improve your overall fitness level.
- Longer sessions. One of the ways to torch that undesired fat quicker is to extend the duration of your workout session. Start with 30-minute sessions and then gradually increase the time until you reach one hour of walking. During the week it may be difficult, but you can try to increase the duration of your walks on the weekend.
- Add extra weight. As we’ve already seen, a heavier person will be able to burn more calories as a lighter one due to the higher effort required to the move the body. Therefore adding extra weight can be an effective solution to torch more calories. You can use a weighted vest or a weighted backpack for that purpose.
- Power walking. This is a useful technique to add more intensity to your walking sessions. This activity involves speeding up and more arm motion, which will lead to enhanced effort and a considerably higher calorie burn.
- Mix things up. Once you’ve become adjusted to various forms of walking, you can try to add new elements to your routine. For instance, you can integrate strength training during your walking session. This can include squats, pushups, mountain climbers, burpees or step-ups and tap-ups.
Keep Track of your Progress
In order to make the most of your walks it’s advisable to start tracking them. This way you’ll know exactly how much and for how long you’ve been walking instead of underestimating or overestimating your physical activity. At the same it’s a great way to hold yourself accountable, to find the motivation to stay on track until you reach your goal and, of course, to take joy in your fitness accomplishments.
In order to track your walking activity you don’t really need an additional gadget on your wrist. Just download a pedometer app like our own ActivityTracker and you’re all set. This way you’ll be able to see your step count, the distance walked, the number of calories burned, as well as the time you spent physically active. You’ll also get to set your own fitness goals and be permanently up-to-date with the progress made.
Walking for weight loss can be, without a doubt, an efficient strategy. If your aim is to drop pounds gradually and you aren’t that excited about going to the gym or engaging in high-intensity activities, walking will definitely help you lose weight. Just remember that consistency is key. If you expect great results, you can’t do this discontinuously. Create a plan, walk on a constant basis and try to add some intensity to your walks periodically.