What’s there not to love about walking? It has a tone of health benefits, it’s free, it’s easy. But can you lose weight from it?
On one hand, walking may help prevent weight gain over time. However, it may be tough to shed weight by walking alone.
Without changing eating habits, you [would] need to do a lot of exercises consistently for a number of weeks to see a shift in the scales, but is this sustainable and is it possible?
How to lose weight by walking
Your best bet for losing fat through walking is in time to focus on increasing the intensity, frequency or duration of your walks.
For example boosting your walking pace (intensity), is a simple way to burn more calories. To put things in numbers: A 155-pound/70-kilogram person who walks for 30 minutes at a pace of 3.5mph/5.6kph burns roughly 149 calories, according to estimates from Harvard Medical School. But, quicken that pace to 4mph/6.4kph and the total increases to 167 calories.
You can also increase the intensity of your walks by tackling hills. Inclines add variety to your walking and raise your heart rate leading to more calorie burn without over-exerting.
But, while more intense walking may burn more calories the amount is minimal. The key for fat loss is how much energy you expend with each exercise session, muscle tissue and how many calories you’re consuming via your food intake.
Consistency is also important for sustained fat loss, so try to add more walking into your lifestyle, whether planned periods or adding more steps into your day.
If you’re new to walking, start by getting 3 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity cardio (i.e., brisk walking) each week. Gradually increase the intensity, frequency and/ or duration so you keep seeing results.
To make walking a regular part of your routine, try to go first thing in the morning before you get busy with anything else. Make things easier by setting your clothes and shoes right next to the door.
For the best results, combine your consistent walking routine with a healthy diet.
Read more on 4 Ways to Keep on Track With Your Nutrition
A consistent walking routine promotes benefits that go beyond fat loss.
Additionally, research in people with Type 2 diabetes shows increasing physical activity levels improves blood pressure and cholesterol. Even modest increases in physical activity — like walking an extra 1.2 miles, 30 minutes or 2,400 steps a day — may help you achieve these health benefits according to research.
For best results, combine your walking routine with a balanced diet, A calorie calculator can help you figure out your daily caloric needs for fat loss.