How Does Walking Help To Lose Weight?

Medically reviewed by Sarah Spann, Adv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS Sarah Spann Sarah SpannAdv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Charushila Biswas MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Experience: 6 years
Last Updated on

Not a fan of rigorous workouts? Well, walking might be the perfect way for you to shed those extra pounds. You can lose up to seven to eight pounds a week if you know how to do it effectively. The best part about walking is that it is enjoyable and is not too harsh on your heart and joints.

Walking has become popular in the past few years as an excellent means for losing weight. It is for this reason that doctors and nutritionists highly recommend walking for all age groups as this activity can be seamlessly integrated into your everyday life.

In this article, we discuss in detail about how walking will help you achieve a slim body in a short period. Read on!

In This Article

Walking To Lose Weight

1. How To Prepare Yourself For The Walk?

What You Need
  • Walking shoes that fit you perfectly without hurting your feet
  • Sports T-shirt and shorts or track pants or capris
  • Sports watch
  • A fitness app
  • Sipper

2. How To Lose Weight By Walking?

You have to keep certain points in mind if you want to lose weight by walking.

(i) Count Your Calories

Image: Shutterstock

You can walk as much as you want, but you might not lose a single pound if you don’t keep tabs on how much you are eating per day. Counting your calories can help you a lot, and there are several apps that will help you do so. The lesser calories you intake, the faster you will lose weight. If you keep eating and walk for 30 minutes every day, you will not lose weight at all.

(ii) Gradually Increase The Pace Of Your Walk

Start by walking at a medium pace for 15-20 minutes for three days a week. When you are comfortable (after one or two weeks), start brisk walking or fast-paced walking for 30-40 minutes every day. You can increase the time to 60 minutes a day. Increasing the pace and time of your walk will give your body the time and strength to adapt to a new habit and lifestyle. You need your body’s support and vice versa.

(iii) Interval Walk

I vouch for this walking strategy as it helped me lose about five pounds in three weeks’ time. Interval walking means that you need to change the pace of your walk after every minute. Start by walking at a medium pace for about 45 seconds. Then, speed up and walk for one minute. Again, slow down and walk for one minute. Continue doing this for as long as you want.

I like interval walking as it gives my body the time to prepare for the fast-paced walk and also helps it relax after completing the fast-paced walk without stopping. This also kept my brain working, meaning I was not bored while walking. It kept me alert and smiling, and, in fact, I made a lot of friends who started following this walking strategy.

(iv) Foods You Should Eat

Include a lot of fruits and veggies in your diet. Eat at least two kinds of fruits per day. If possible, eat the fruit, don’t juice it. Veggies can be eaten raw, boiled, baked, or grilled. You can also make a smoothie and drink it right after your walk.

Your body needs a daily supply of proteins as well. You can eat fish, turkey, chicken breast, eggs, lentils, beans, sprouts, soy, and mushrooms. You can also opt for lean cuts of red meat, but make sure you do not overeat.

Milk is a good source of calcium, which will strengthen your bones. You may want to avoid cheese and flavored yogurt for now. There are many low-calorie, non-flavored yogurts available in the market. Remember, frozen yogurt is a good replacement for ice cream, but it is a treat, so don’t indulge in it too much.

Tea of any kind, which is prepared without adding sugar or milk, is highly beneficial for you. It need not necessarily be green tea. You can also opt for black tea, but make sure to buy good quality tea. Drink tea every morning and evening to flush out toxins. Fewer toxins in the body will give you strength and boost your immunity.

(v) Tone Your Body

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Do exercises that will help tone your muscles and maintain proper blood circulation. Toning your muscles is important since losing weight can make your skin saggy.

  • Move your hands, one at a time, in a circular motion, five times in the clockwise direction and five times in the anti-clockwise direction.
  • Stand with your arms wide open. Bring your hands together and join your palms. Now, go back to your old position of wide stretched arms. It would look like you are flapping hands. You can do it at a slow or fast pace. Breathe in when you open your arms, and breathe out when you bring them together.
  • The squat is an amazing exercise when it comes to toning your lower body. Move your legs apart about two feet. Slowly bend your knees and come to the sitting position. Hold the position for about 5-10 seconds. Slowly release the position and come back to your initial posture.
  • Air cycling is another good exercise for toning your thighs. Lie down on your back, lift your legs up, and move your legs as if you are riding a bicycle. Do it in both forward and backward directions for about a minute. Repeat this for five minutes.
  • Sit-ups will tone your belly.
  • You can also try Kapalbhati pranayama.
  • Go for strength training exercises. Kickboxing, weight lifting, crunches, etc. will strengthen your body muscles.

(vi) Sleep Well And Avoid Alcohol

You need to sleep for at least seven hours a day. Sleep will help you to reboot your body and mind. So, the next day, when you go for a walk, you will not feel extremely tired or sleepy.

You must avoid alcohol for few days. Alcohol is broken down into sugar, which ultimately gets stored as fat.

3. How Many Calories Can You Burn?

Depending on your current body weight, your walking pace, and time duration, you can lose up to 15-20 pounds over a period of 20 weeks. To achieve this, you should walk briskly for about 30-40 minutes every day. However, if you want to lose weight slowly, you can walk at a normal pace and burn 4-8 calories per minute, depending on your current body weight. If you weigh 120-140 lbs, you can burn 4-5 calories per minute; if you weigh 160-180 lbs, you can burn 6-7 calories per minute, and if you weigh 200 or more pounds, you can burn 8-9 calories per minute. Whether you want results sooner or later, you should do body toning exercises and free hand exercises.

To get a more specific idea, take a look at the tables below:

Sex: Female; Age: 35-40; Height: 5’5”; Weight: 157 pounds; Lifestyle: Sedentary

Walking Speed (mph)Calories Burned (Kcal)
 10 mins20 mins30 mins

Sex: Male; Age: 35-40; Height: 6′; Weight: 196 pounds; Lifestyle: Moderately active

Walking Speed (mph)Calories Burned (Kcal)
 10 mins20 mins30 mins

4. Sample Walking Schedule

How long should you walk to lose weight? Here is a sample walking schedule for guiding you. You can increase or decrease the time depending on your body’s response.

WeekDay 1Day 2Day 3Day 4Day 5Day 6Day 7
1Slow-paced walking for 10 minutesMedium-paced walking for 10 minutesMedium-paced walking for 20 minutesMedium-paced walking for 20 minutes + toningMedium-paced walking for 30 minutes + toningInterval walking for 20 minutes + toningRest
2Interval walking for 30 minutes + strength trainingBrisk walking for 5-10 minutes + toning + strength trainingBrisk walking for 10 minutes + toning + strength trainingMedium paced walking for 15 minutes + free hand exercise for 15 minutesInterval walking for 20 minutes + kapalbhati for 15 minutes (take rest in between) Interval walking for 30 minutes + strength trainingRest
3Interval walking for 40 minutes + kapalbhati for 15 minutes (take rest in between)Medium-paced walk for 15 minutes + toning and strength trainingInterval walking for 45 minutes + strength trainingBrisk walking for 15 minutes + toningInterval walking for 50 minutes + free hand exercise for 10 minutesBrisk walking for 20 minutes + toning + kapalbhatiRest
4Brisk walking for 20 minutes + strength trainingInterval walking for 60 minutesInterval walking for 60 minutes + toningInterval walking for 60 minutes + strength trainingInterval walking for 60 minutes + free hand exerciseInterval walking for 60 minutes + toning + kapalbhatiRest

5. How Many Miles Should You Walk In A Day?

The point here is not to count the miles but to count how many calories you are taking in, and how much you are able to burn per day. For example, if you eat uncontrollably and then go for a lazy walk for about four miles, it will surely burn some calories, but it won’t burn enough to show visible weight reduction. As mentioned above, increase the pace of walking, reduce the calorie intake, do strength training and body toning exercises, and get good sleep.

6. Benefits Of Walking For Weight Loss

Image: Shutterstock
  • Burns Calories

Walking is good for those who are just warming up to the idea of working out. An hour of walking every day, coupled with a healthy diet, is a good way to cut down the extra flab. The number of calories burned is directly proportional to the speed employed and the distance covered while walking. This makes walking for weight loss a very popular idea among the beginners.

  • Reduces The Risk Of Diseases

Walking increases the blood circulation within the body, which in turn keeps all heart-related diseases at bay. Walking regularly increases the bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related disorders. It is also said to significantly reduce the risk of developing diabetes, colon and breast cancers, and cardiovascular diseases (1), (2), (3).

  • Energizes The Body

Walking stimulates the circulation of blood in the body and simultaneously boosts all metabolic activities. A brisk walk elevates the mood, perks up the energy levels, and regulates blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

  • Best And Easy Workout

Walking is one of the easiest and most economical ways to stay physically active. This can be done almost anywhere and at any time. Although walking outdoors can be quite refreshing, it can also be done inside the house on a treadmill.

  • Stress Buster

Walking is directly linked to a reduction in stress levels. Its benefits can be equated to those of aerobic exercises that help to calm down the nerves. While walking, the body releases endorphins, which, in turn, stimulate relaxation.

  • Strengthens The Muscles

Walking keeps the bones, muscles and joints healthy. Regular walking strengthens the muscles of the legs, particularly the hamstrings and quadriceps. It can also be helpful for those who are recovering from brain stroke and leg injuries (4).

  • Improves Memory And Brain Function

Your happy hormones (serotonin and dopamine) are up, which ultimately boosts your confidence in yourself and makes you proactive. It also augments your memory and cognitive functions.

7. Safety Tips To Consider While Walking

  • It is always better to work out early in the morning so that the body is sufficiently energized and the circulation of blood increases. Moreover, a walk in the mornings is also favorable for the body to absorb vitamin D from the first rays of the sun.
  • A brisk walk is necessary to burn more calories if your target is to lose a few extra pounds. The faster you walk, the more calories you burn.
  • Do not walk after a meal. Some say that walking immediately after a meal might improve digestion. However, it is a false notion as walking or working out immediately after a meal affects the flow of digestive juices, thereby hindering the breakdown of food.
  • Fuelling the body with lots of water while walking briskly is not advisable as doing so might harm the respiratory system.
  • Hydrate your body with fluids before you embark on a walk or five minutes after the completion of the workout. Drinking natural energy juices like beetroot juice before walking can revitalize the metabolic processes, thereby helping the body to burn more calories.

Have you ever considered walking to lose weight? Most of the benefits that you would derive from walking with respect to weight loss would be lost if the level of activity is not kept up. So it’s time you put on your walking shoes and walk your way to a fitter life. Do let us know your experience or if you have any suggestions or tips by commenting in the comments box.

Cheers to good health!

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Sarah Spann
Sarah SpannAdv Dip (Nut Med), mATMS
Sarah Spann has 4 years of experience as a clinical nutritionist. She specializes in gut health and is based in Brisbane, Australia. She is dedicated to changing the paradigm of gut health and works with clients all over the world to help them get back the freedom, energy and confidence that their gut issues have taken away.

Read full bio of Sarah Spann
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