Will walking help me lose weight?!?
In order to lose weight you need to do a lot of tough exercises, right?
Walking is simply too easy and not really exercising. It could never be efficient for losing weight…
When it comes to exercising for weight loss the trend has for many years been tough cardio like high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
People want to burn off a lot of calories in a short amount of time and get that incredible after-burn effect.
Actually, the “after-burn” effect has been shown to be much less significant than first thought.
HIIT is not a bad idea for weight loss, however walking to lose weight is just as great and viable option.
It is my favorite form of cardio and I would recommend anyone to include it in their weight loss efforts!
Watch This On Video
If you prefer you can watch me on video “walking” you through this article.
If not just continue scrolling down to the good stuff below.
Why You Should Walk To Lose Weight
First of all, walking is a great exercise.
And for the sake of weight loss, it can be a great addition when your diet and training is set up right.
Of course, walking will not alone help you lose weight. Weight loss depends on energy balance and walking can increase the deficit.
In my opinion, it can be much greater than HIIT, because walking is much less draining and less exhausting and if you are not eating too many calories it is great to do less intensive stuff.
Not that HIIT is necessary a bad thing, but in my opinion, it should be used in moderation especially if you want to lose weight.
Also, walking doesn’t interfere with weight training like HIIT can potentially do. Walking is actually shown to aid recovery from weight training.
E.g. if you have been squatting and then also do running, sprinting or jumping on the same day or the day after that it will definitely interfere with your recovery and potentially reduce your leg muscle gains.
The same goes for upper body exercises if you are doing high-intensity stuff that involves the same muscles. That is the case with many circuit workouts used in CrossFit.
From my personal experience walking refreshes me rather than exhaust me.
I especially like the clearness of mind associated with walking. More on this below.
Health Benefits Of Walking
“We weren’t meant to sit down all day”
I often feel a slight annoyance when people use the argument: ”we aren’t meant for [insert]”
There are a lot of things we are not meant for, but which still greatly enhances our output and enjoyment of life.
What we are meant for is just an expression of our evolutionary background and the fact that our lifestyles develop way too fast for any adaptions to occur.
However, in this case, there are strong merits for walking more.
Many of us plainly and simply move too little!
Our bodies become lethargic and weaker and a ton of health risks increase.
By walking more on a daily basis you reduce this and gain a lot of health benefits compared to if you were not walking.
Studies show that walking reduces inflammation, increases blood flow, decreases blood pressure, speed up recovery and can be anti-aging.
It also helps improve your posture, which by the way can become really bad from sitting down all day.
There is a specific stretching and strengthening routine to fix this that I recommend, you can check out the review here.
Walking Reduces Stress And Helps Us Think
There is a lot of research that suggests walking helps us function better cognitively.
From personal experience, I often get some great creative ideas when I walk. But I would say it is about the same as when I lift weights in the gym.
On the other hand, I have heard many talk about getting the best ideas and insights when they are walking around.
There is also some research that suggests walking is relaxing especially walking in nature.
I think there is something very powerful about having some ”downtime” with no real purpose, and I find that when I talk a walk without any purpose I can calm my mind easily.
There is, of course, the purpose of just increasing calorie expenditure of course.
From this perspective walking for relaxation share similarities with meditation.
How Long Should I Walk To Lose Weight?
If you are serious about burning off some fat, I suggest you aim for 4-6 hours of walking per week.
How many calories that burn depends on several factors, most importantly your own bodyweight, walking speed and elevation.
Walking briskly for about 5.5 km/hour (3.5 miles/hour) for a 60 kg person (130 pounds) will burn about 160 – 180 calories per hour.
For a 90 kg person (200 pounds) that would be around 240 calories per hour.
Running And Walking For Weight Loss
Running will burn more calories than walking.
Depending on how you compare the differences vary greatly.
Running a mile will only burn about 26 % more calories than walking. But running an hour will burn 2.3 times more calories than walking.
You can read more about this interesting comparison on runnersworld.com.
If you like to run, there is nothing holding you back to both run and walk.
Walking For Weight Loss Schedule
The best time to walk is the time that fits you best.
Get the habit of walking at a specific time and I think you will find it easier to do.
Personally, I like to walk in the morning or before my first meal which sometimes can be quite late.
Perhaps you wonder whether you should be walking outside or on a treadmill.
If you like to use a treadmill it is, of course, more efficient while you are at the gym and then I recommend walking after your workout.
A strong benefit of using a treadmill is the ability to fine-tune intensity and measure performance.
By increasing the speed and incline angle you easily make walking progressively challenging if that is what you want.
But on the other hand, you will be stuck inside.
If you want to do 4-6 hours of walking per week, there is plenty of room for both walking outside and on a treadmill.
This way you get more variety, and if you think it becomes incredibly boring to walk you could even watch a movie while on the treadmill.
If you are like me and just want to walk outside and avoid any complicated things, then I suggest you just walk.
But with the ease of adjusting speed and angle on the treadmill, you could easily program a progressively challenging routine which will both burn more calories and make you stronger and faster.
Walking in intervals with different speed can work really well.
Here is a beginner walking routine you could use.
Warm-up: 5 minutes walking at somewhat relaxed speed with no incline angle.
Interval: increase incline angle by 5 percent and walk for 3 minutes at a speed requiring moderate effort to keep up with (take notice that speed).
Rest: return the angle to 0 and walk for 1 minute at normal pace (also take notice of that speed)
Rinse and repeat for 5 rounds.
You should be able to make it a little but harder next workout or the one after that.
The walking time, your speed and the incline angle are all variables you can increase.
Each time you make any increases it could be with this:
– Walking interval increase by 20-30 seconds,
– speed increase by 0.3 Km/h (0.2 Mph)
– incline angle by 0.5 percent or less.
Only increase time and speed at the same time if you feel the last workout was easy.
I suggest you increase the incline once you have added 1-2 minutes to your intervals and made consideral speed increase like 1 km/h (0.6 Mph)
When you increase the incline angle expect to drop in speed and time and work your way back up with each workout.
You will probably be sore from the first workout. Don’t worry it is normal to feel sore when you use the muscles in a new way and it will be much less after each workout once you get used to it.
Listen To Audiobooks While Walking
Feel like you aren’t using your time very efficiently?
Well, then listen to cool audiobooks while you walk.
I can highly recommend you at least try it out and see if it is something for you.
I really enjoy listening to audiobooks!
You can learn so much interesting stuff anywhere and anytime. Much more flexible and takes up no space compared to having physical books.
To be honest, it is my favorite way to learn new things.
I listen to a whole variety of different audiobooks. Both fiction and non-fiction. It also makes me feel less guilty about not reading as often as I should.
I think I haven’t read a book for close to a year now (whoops).
Audiobooks.com is one of the biggest in the industry and they have an enormous selection of audiobooks.
They offer a free 30-day trial which includes a free audiobook of your choice!
Check out audiobooks.com and get your free audiobook!
You do have to input some credit/debit card information, but you can cancel at any time.
Just remember to cancel before the 30 days have passed if you want to avoid being charged.
If you don’t know what to listen to you can check out their audiobooks of New York Times Best Sellers.
Currently, I am listening to an epic fantasy tale called the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson.
His books are incredible. Makes me feel like I am 10 years old again.
Be Smarter About Walking
Get the habit of using walking as a means of transportation and it will be more time-efficient.
I do that myself often and even more when I want to burn off some fat.
Whenever I need to go somewhere I walk there. Unless it is very far away of course.
So let us say that I have to go somewhere 4 km away from home. Taking public transport or bike would take me somewhere between 15-20 minutes, and walking there would take 50 minutes.
You could then argue that walking only took me 30-35 minutes as that was the increased transport time.