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Walking For Weight Loss: Distance, Nutrition and More

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Walking for weight loss is a very effective way to lose weight. Just a 30-minute brisk pace can burn up to 150 calories per day. Or just 1 mile can burn about 100 calories. Let’s not forget the added benefits of walking though. You’ll see a decreased risk of disease, improved mood, a personal sense of accomplishment, and so much more.

Can You Lose Weight by Walking?

If you are looking to lose bodyweight, walking is a great option. Although some people look down their noses at walking, they are assuming incorrectly if they think that a brisk walk is a waste of time for caloric burn.

According to Medical News Today, there are many reasons why walking for weight loss is a great choice.

Inactivity has been linked to many health problems such as heart disease, blood pressure and blood sugar issues, and can also lead to obesity.

Walking is a very underrated form of exercise in many circles.

The benefits of walking for weight loss include:

  1. Anyone can do it.
  2. Equipment: All you need are a decent pair of walking shoes.
  3. Accessibility: You can walk to or from anywhere you happen to be. No fancy gym membership is required.
  4. Outdoor Walking can provide you with fresh air and much-needed vitamin D.
  5. Keep Weight Off: Adding walking to your daily routine not only helps you to lose weight but can help to keep the unwanted pounds away.
  6. Other Health Benefits of walking include better mental health, stress release, cardiac health, improved circulation, reduce the risk of chronic disease, maintaining a healthy weight etc.

How Much Walking if You’re Just Starting Out

If you have been living a sedentary life, you should ease into any form of exercise. Starting out with high-intensity exercise is a mistake those new to working out often make. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Start small.

Get your sneakers out and go on a 30-minute walk. Do this anywhere from 3 – 5 times the first week. Did that go well? If it did, you can either add to the amount of time you are walking or the number of days per week you walk.

Ideally, you want to work your way up to walking for 45 minutes to an hour, multiple times each week. And know that it is okay to walk shorter on some days than others. It actually benefits your body to mix up your workouts over the course of the week.

If all you have time for one day is 20 minutes, head out for that 20 minutes. Make opportunities, not excuses.

How Much Walking to Lose Weight?

For general fitness, it is advisable to work out for 30 minutes a day. For those looking to walk to lose weight, it is more complicated than a one size fits all approach.

Weight loss is achieved through a calorie deficit. In other words, you need to burn more calories than you take in. While walking does burn calories it does not burn as many as people might assume. If you are looking for weight loss, get yourself a fitness tracker or pedometer.

Using a fitness tracker can help you figure out how long and far you are walking, along with how many estimated calories you burn in a workout. Some people also find food journaling helpful. There are apps such as My Fitness Pal that help you to track your caloric intake and calories burned.

Walking to Lose Weight Chart

There are a couple of things that determine the number of calories you will burn when you walk. Your weight is one of these things. The heavier you are, the more calories you burn when you walk or run.

Two more contributing factors are how far and how long you walk. In addition to that, the intensity/walking pace of your workout factors in. A leisurely stroll burns fewer calories than a brisk walk. Jogging burns more than walking, and running burns more than jogging.

Calorie Burn/Hour Chart

Weight2.0 mph (3.2 kpg)2.5 mph (4.0 kpg)3.0 mph (4.8 kpg)3.5 mph (5.6 kpg)4.0 mph (6.4 kpg)
120 pounds (55 kg)150155180220260
150 pounds (68 kg)160170200245285
180 pounds (82 kg)175185215265310
210 pounds (95 kg)190200235290335
240 pounds (109 kg)200220255310360
270 pounds (123 kg)220235270335390
300 pounds (136 kg)230250290360415

If you are wondering how much to walk according to your BMI, that is a complicated question. The first thing is that BMI is not always a measure of overall health or fitness level. There are many very fit, yet overweight, people.

On the one hand, you don’t want to overdo it if you are terribly overweight. However, you also should not assume that some things are unobtainable.

What Does Walking Every Day Do for My Body?

1. Walking 4 Miles a Day

Wherever you start out, walking 4 miles a day is a great weight loss goal. There are so many benefits to daily walking. Thinking of walking 4 miles a day? Here are some benefits:

  1. Improved Circulation
  2. Life Longevity
  3. Bone Strengthening
  4. Weight Loss
  5. Improved Quality of Sleep
  6. Supports Healthy Joints
  7. Strengthens Muscles
  8. Better Mental Clarity
  9. Mood Lifter

2. Walking 6 Miles a Day

Often, people assume more is better. And in some cases, that is certainly true. Walking more miles can help you burn more calories. In addition, you may find that the increase in exercise has other benefits such as lifting your mood and helping you sleep better.

You might find it helpful to split your long mileage day into two workouts. While walking 6 miles all at once may seem daunting, walking 3 before work, 1 on your lunch hour and 2 after work with your dog seems much more doable!

3. Walking An Hour a Day

For some of us, focusing on an amount of time to work is better than thinking of the exercise in terms of mileage. Dedicating your walking routine to an hour means you are just heading out for a predetermined amount of time. You will reap the same benefits as listed above.

An hour a day will leave you feeling accomplished and productive. If you are lucky, you can find a walking buddy so it doubles as a social endeavor.

Something to consider is when you walk by time instead of mileage, you can decide to walk at a different pace each day.

A couple walks can be slower, some can be very brisk, and for others, you can do interval training consisting of faster and slower paces.

How To Track Your Daily Walking Habits

There are many types of fitness trackers to help you keep track of your walking. These trackers are made to keep track of how far and fast you have moved, measured in kilometers or miles. Most of them can also track step count, so you know how much movement you have had throughout the day.

Many of the watches have settings so you can personalize them. For example, when I walk a mile it takes into consideration my size since I have programmed it into the device. This allows it to determine approximately how many calories you are burning when you exercise.

These watches can also have heart rate monitors, and you can keep apprised of that also.

Adding Nutritional Diet to Daily Walking Regiment

Deciding to go on a diet can be hard. Let’s face it, none of us wants to give up the things we really, really love to eat. However, we all know that in order to lose weight you need to take in fewer calories than you use in a day. A calorie deficit is how you drop pounds.

We also know that muscle weighs more than fat so as we increase our exercise, the weight might not melt off as we hope it will. This is important to note because you should take measurements when starting to work out, instead of focusing on the number on the scale.

If you can shift your mindset to think about food as fuel, you are likely to have more success. Sure, it is okay to eat things that simply taste great from time to time. Treating certain foods as if they are evil does not go well for most of us. Eating those things in moderation instead of denying yourself often works way better.

When you focus on food as fuel for your body, you are more likely to take in things that fuel your body well. In addition to tracking your walking and exercise, keeping tabs on your diet can also be helpful.

Also, consider taking notes on how you feel when you eat certain things. If you notice that the foods that are better fuel for your workouts also leave you feeling better overall, you might keep making better choices.

Check out Runnerclick’s Passionate Runner podcast episode on how to have a healthy relationship with food & running with Tricia DeNardis.

3 Month Walking Exercise Plan

If you are looking for a walking exercise plan, we have some suggestions for you. If you are creating your own plan, start with a number you can wrap your hands around.

For example:

  1. Week One: Walk 30 minutes, 3-4 days
  2. Week Two: Walk 30 minutes, 4-5 days
  3. Week Three: Walk 30 minutes, 4-5 days
  4. Week Four: Walk 4-5 days, 30-45 minutes each day
  5. Week Five: Walk 5 days (2 days walk 30-45 minutes, 2 days walk 20-30 minutes, 1 day walk 60 minutes)
  6. Week Six: Same as Week Five
  7. Week Seven: Walk 5 days (2 days walk 30 minutes, 2 days walk 30-45 minutes, 1 day walk 60 minutes)
  8. Week Eight: Walk 5 days. Challenge yourself. Walk at least as much as the week before.
  9. Week Nine: Walk 5-6 days. Walk at least as much as the week before.
  10. Continue on through week twelve.

Once you have gone this far, you have hopefully built a sustainable habit.

Getting Started

If you made it this far, you have hopefully decided that this is something you plan to commit to.

All you need is the desire to improve your personal fitness and a pair of walking shoes. Oh, and if you can find an accountability partner (read: walking buddy) that wouldn’t hurt either.

Good luck and happy walking!

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